UPDATE: Lee tried to soften the situation in a chat with reporters after Saturday’s game:
“Basically during the season I want to focus on pitching and not worry about that stuff. That’s more spring training and offseason type of stuff,” Lee said. “During the season I want to worry about pitching and focus on getting opposing hitters out rather than contract status and that stuff.”
3:22pm: Cliff Lee made his Mariners debut last night by shutting out the Rangers for seven brilliant innings, so naturally this afternoon his agent told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that he “wouldn’t anticipate” the impending free agent remaining in Seattle beyond this season. Here’s more from agent Darek Braunecker:
We’re five months away from free agency, so I think that’s the most likely scenario at this point. We’ve not really had any significant discussions with Seattle. The way I look at it, there will be in excess of 15-plus clubs seeking a top-end of the rotation type of guy that will have the resources.
All of which is probably true, but quotes like that are why so many people dislike agents. What exactly is the point of saying that kind of thing to a prominent reporter literally hours after your client debuts for his new team? What, does Braunecker think he really needs to prime the pump for Lee’s free agency in six months?
Instead of perpetuating agent stereotypes and upsetting the fans he’ll be pitching in front of for at least the next few months, why not go with a “no comment” and just let Lee’s excellent debut be the story for a while?