A couple of updates here on Cliff Lee and his big free agent decision.
We know that the Yankees have offered the left-hander a seven-year deal worth around $161 million. And we know that the Rangers have offered six guaranteed years with some kind of option for a seventh. Now we’re just waiting for Lee to pick one.
Sadly, it may be another 24 hours or so before that pick is made.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Rangers president Nolan Ryan is under the impression that Lee is going to spend the entire weekend in thought and won’t announce which team he is signing with until Monday.
“I’ve run all my traps and don’t know anything,” Ryan said, “so we’ll just wait and see.”
Lee, 32, turned in a sparkling 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts in 2010, racking up 185 strikeouts and only 18 walks along the way. The average velocity on his fastball has risen steadily over the last five seasons. In 2006 and 2007, he clocked in at 89.0 MPH. In 2008, that saw a slight bump to 90.5 MPH. Then in 2009 he averaged 91.1 MPH, and this past year he was at 91.3 MPH.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.