Initially last night the Cliff Lee storyline was that he left as much as $50 million on the table because he loved Philadelphia and simply wanted to pitch for the Phillies instead of the Yankees or Rangers.
However, now that the various contract details are trickling in it turns out he probably left at most $13 million on the table and may actually end up with more money (once deferred payments and other factors are taken into account) from the Phillies than he was offered elsewhere.
And this afternoon Rangers chief executive officer Chuck Greenberg revealed that Lee “was willing to remain a Ranger” and in fact offered to re-sign if Texas would guarantee him a seven-year deal:
In this instance, it was simply a matter of us saying, “yes.” But it would have been a matter of us saying “yes” on terms that we weren’t comfortable with. This was not a matter of Cliff making a decision not to come to Texas. He was willing to remain a Ranger, but it was on terms that we felt went beyond the aggressive parameters within which we were already operation. Had we been willing to go beyond the parameters that we were willing to go, he would be here. But we didn’t think that was in the long-term best interest of the franchise.
Greenberg and company turned down Lee’s seven-year proposal and their final offer was $138 million over six years with a seventh-year vesting option worth $23 million. Lee ended up signing a deal with the Phillies that guarantees him $120 million for five years and includes a sixth-year option for 2016 that vests based on his innings count.
So yes, Lee may have turned down slightly less money in choosing the Phillies, but according to Greenberg that’s only because the Rangers turned down his offer to re-sign for seven guaranteed years.