Here’s what I think happens with Cliff Lee

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I don’t just sit and pontificate about free agent or trade destinations very often, but it’s a slow day, so here goes:

  • I predict that the Yankees are going to get Cliff Lee, with Lee selecting the seven-year deal off that “menu” of offers the Yankees are reported to have given him;
  • I predict that he will be the highest paid free agent pitcher of all time;
  • I predict that when it’s all said and done, word will leak that the Rangers offers — for all of the pomp and circumstance, visits to Arkansas and billionaires on parade — were decidedly light.
  • I predict that the inevitable conclusion of all of this will be that, in reality, Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker got Brian Cashman to bid against himself in a panicky fashion.
  • I predict that, for the first couple of years anyway, no one in Yankeeland will really care because Lee will do pretty well.
  • I predict that, in three or four years, Lee will regress or break down and become a good but by-no-means elite lefty starter.
  • I predict that, when that happens, people will look back at this winter and wonder why everyone was so hot for Cliff Lee.

None of that is based on any inside information. Just my suspicion of how it’s all going to play out based on a few minutes away from the computer, thinking big picture thoughts while flying home last night. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But I think I’m right.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.