Last night Nolan Ryan talked about the Rangers wanting agent Darek Braunecker to “tell them what it would take to sign” Cliff Lee.
This afternoon Braunecker responded by speaking to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com about Ryan’s request and basically pointed out that negotiations where one side is fielding offers from multiple bidders don’t really work that way.
Here’s more from Braunecker:
We have no interest in participating in the unconventional negotiating style the club has requested. For the player to submit an offer to the club … that’s not the way the process works.
In other words, why should Braunecker “tell them what it would take to sign” Lee when not telling them could lead to the Rangers bidding more than “it would take.”
At this point it appears as though Braunecker has done everything right and manipulated the situation perfectly, so it’s no surprise that he balked at Ryan’s request. Rangers officials are reportedly traveling to Arkansas today to meet with Lee and Braunecker, but Ryan hinted yesterday that the Yankees adding a seventh year to their offer “makes it more challenging for us.”
Yesterday the Yankees reportedly offered Cliff Lee a six-year, $140 million contract, but now both Jon Heyman of SI.com and Buster Olney of ESPN.com report that they’ve bumped the offer up to seven years.
Previous speculation had the Yankees refusing to add a seventh year to the deal, but that was before Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth each inked monster seven-year pacts and before the Red Sox reportedly offered Lee a seven-year deal of their own (perhaps with the sole intention of messing with the Yankees).
New York has always been viewed as the favorite to land Lee, so if the Yankees have indeed offered him a seven-year deal that’s likely in the same neighborhood as CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract it’s tough to see the Rangers or anyone else topping it.
Earlier this week San Diego signed Aaron Harang to a one-year, $4 million deal and the Padres have added another potential starter in Dustin Moseley, who’ll get $900,000 in 2011.
Moseley has bounced around between the majors and Triple-A for the past five seasons, posting a 5.28 ERA in 233 total innings for the Angels and Yankees.
Moving from the AL to the NL and calling Petco Park home should help him significantly, but that’s true of all pitchers and Moseley’s track record just doesn’t suggest he’s capable of being more than a serviceable long reliever or fifth starter.
CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees contains a clause that allows him to opt out after three seasons, which means he could become a free agent next offseason.
Doing so would involve passing on the four years and $97 million remaining on the deal after 2011, but given the reports of Cliff Lee fielding six- and perhaps even seven-year offers it seems likely that Sabathia could secure more than $100 million for more than four years.
However, yesterday Sabathia told George King of the New York Post that he will not opt out of the contract and explained that Lee’s current situation “has no effect on me at all.”
I believe Sabathia, but it’ll be interesting to see if his stance changes once next offseason rolls around and his agent tells him it would be pretty easy to top the $97 million remaining on his contract. After all, why negotiate the opt-out clause into the contract in the first place if using it was never in the plans? Lee is 32 years old and sounds likely to sign for at least $125 million and perhaps significantly more. Next winter Sabathia will be 31 years old and by that point $97 million over four years may look like a bargain.
Earlier this week I wrote about how Javier Vazquez’s significant drop in velocity this season makes him far from a sure thing to bounce back in 2011 simply because he was leaving New York and returning to the National League.
Vazquez apparently feels the same way, because Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that “he’s not sure why his fastball velocity was down” and “is working with a physical therapist” in an attempt to find the lost miles per hour.
Here’s what Vazquez had to say about his average fastball declining from 91.1 mph in 2009 to 88.7 mph this season:
It’s a fact that I had a really tough year last year. I guess I can say that I don’t know what happened to my velocity. I guess I’m at a point in my career now, I’m 34, with a lot of innings in my arm. I want to start working with a physical therapist to do exercises and stretching. I’m going to start doing that as part of my off-season and in-season [program].
Capozzi notes that Vazquez has thrown the second-most innings of any pitcher since 2000 and he certainly wouldn’t be the first pitcher to lose significant velocity in his mid-30s, so while a pre-signing MRI exam reportedly revealed no major issues the Marlins are definitely taking a risk with his one-year, $7 million deal.
On the other hand Vazquez is one season removed from a Cy Young-caliber year with the Braves and smartly noted that the Marlins’ ballpark should play to his strengths, saying: “I’m a fly-ball pitcher and [Atlanta’s] ballpark helped me a lot. Hopefully it’s going to be the same in Miami.”