Cliff Lee is expected to choose between offers from the Rangers and Yankees on Monday.
While the free agent southpaw is off weighing pros and cons, we’re left wondering what he might do and trying to gather any clues.
So far the clue-finding has not been a fruitful venture. The guess here is that Lee will chase the most lucrative contract he can find — just like any free agent would — and all indications have the Yankees offering more guaranteed money.
Don’t tell that to Rangers manager Ron Washington, who was giving out optimistic quotes on the matter Saturday evening while being inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame:
“[My gut says] that he’ll be here,” opined Washington. “I think everything that needs to be done has been done. … We just have to wait.”
Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts this past year. He struck out 7.84 batters per nine innings and turned in a league-leading 0.76 BB/9 (walks per nine innings). For reference, National League Cy Yong Award winner Roy Halladay came in second with a 1.08 BB/9.
The Yankees have apparently offered a seven-year contract worth around $161 million. The Rangers have only been willing to go as high as six years, but new reports allege that a proposal with a seventh year option may be on the table.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.