No deal at the Winter Meetings: Cliff Lee’s agent has left the building

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Darek Braunecker represents Cliff Lee. He’s been very busy during these Winter Meetings. No, not busy negotiating a contract, but busy telling various reporters about all the offers he’s fielding.  Really, there some reporters who won’t be able to order a drink down in the lobby tonight because they don’t know how to talk without Braunecker making their mouths move.

But that’s over now, because the buzz around here is that Braunecker has left the Dolphin Resort.  Which means that there is likely no chance of Lee signing between now and the end of the meetings tomorrow.

I’ve never negotiated anything bigger than a moderately-sized lawsuit settlement — and I tended to lose those negotiations — but I don’t get why this is so damn complicated. There are a finite number of teams in the bidding. There are no guys above Lee who need to set the market first. Everyone has cell phones. If Sotheby’s can auction off 15 Picassos in an afternoon, you’d think Braunecker could auction off Lee here.

Guess not.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.