The Yankees have said they are done making offers to Cliff Lee. The Rangers have offered up a menu of multiple offers. All of them are believed to not exceed 7-years in duration.
Now, the waiting game begins.
For Lee, the best bids are now all but in. The Yankees original offer was for 6-years, $144 million, or an AAV of $24 million. But on Thursday they added a seventh year to the deal, which would give Lee more protection under guaranteed money over time, but lower the AAV to $23 million annually.
According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the options given to Lee center on more money but less average annual value (AAV), as follows:
- 5-years, $125 million (AAV - $25 million)
- 6-years, $144 million (AAV - $24 million)
- 7-years, $161 million (AAV - $23 million)
The Rangers jumped into the fray by increasing their offer late Thurs. night, although exactly how much and how many years are in the package are unclear. Rangers managing partner Chuck Greenberg mentioned the Carl Crawford deal with the Red Sox that is at 7-years as one of the reasons they increased their offer to Lee. It is unclear if Greenberg was eluding to the 7-year contract life in the Crawford deal, which also ties in with the years in the deal offered by the Yankees to Lee, or not.
If Lee were to accept any of the offers by the Yankees, he would, at the very least, match CC Sabathia's $23 million AAV in his deal reached in 2009. The highest AAV all-time, and for pitchers is for the 2007 1-year deal that the Yankees gave him for $28,000,022. The nearest AAV for an active pitcher to Sabathia's is Roy Halladay at $20 million.
The expectation is that Lee could make a decision on the offers by the Yankees and Rangers as early as Monday.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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