Yankees official says shot of landing Cliff Lee only “50-50”

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We aren’t the only ones searching for clues as to where free agent left-hander Cliff Lee might sign.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has also been doing a bit of digging and wrote Sunday at ESPN Insider that a Yankees executive has put New York’s chances at only “50-50.”

Perhaps that’s because there are two teams left in the running — the Yanks and Rangers — and simple math would give each club a 1-in-2 shot.  Or maybe this report Saturday from Jack Curry of the YES Network has some legs.  Curry wrote that Yankees officials have expressed a “bit of skepticism” about signing Lee, even after out-doing the Rangers with a seven-year contract offer.

This is all speculation at the moment.  Lee is not expected to make a decision until Monday, or even later in the week, and his agent has remained silent all weekend.

But it’s not unprecedented for a top tier free agent to turn down more guaranteed money from one club to stay in a place where he feels comfortable.  Lee only spent a couple of months this year in Texas, but maybe he really enjoyed himself.  It’s rare, but not unprecedented.

Rangers manager Ron Washington seems like a player’s coach and having Nolan Ryan as a boss would be a surreal experience for any pitcher.

Also, let’s not forget that Lee is from Arkansas — a bordering state of Texas — and still has a home there.

Yankees acquire A.J. Cole from the Nats

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The New York Yankees have acquired reliever A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.

Cole was supposed to be the Nats’ fifth starter this year but that didn’t work out too well. He pitched in four games for the Nats, starting two, to the tune of a 13.06 ERA, having given up six home runs in 10.1 innings. That’s . . . something.

Don’t get too used to Cole on the New York roster, as this seems like one of those “give us an arm” for a couple of days deals, after which Cole will be DFA’d and will either accept an assignment to Scranton or be cut loose. Such is life at the fringes for a guy who is out of minor league options.