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.