Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Phillies Win the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

Well, on the morning that Cliff Lee decides to sign with his former team--no, not the Rangers, the Philadelphia Phillies--it snows in New York. How poetic.

That's right fanatics. If you're just hearing this, Cliff Lee's agent contacted Brian Cashman last night to inform him that the Yankees were out of the running. About an hour after midnight, it was announced that "The Assassin" agreed to a deal with the Phillies, who it had been said just yesterday morning, were not pursuing Lee. But that changed by last evening, as MLB Network reported that the Phillies were back in pursuit. Looks like the Phillies front office played the media and everyone else to go stealth on this one. When I heard that the Phillies were back in the mix, my gut said that Lee would go back; unfortunately, I was right.

What this pretty much means for the Yankees now, is they will have to do everything--and I do mean everything--they have to to convince Andy Pettitte to come back. If Cashman has to fly down to Texas every weekend to cook Sunday dinners for the Pettitte family and their in-laws, neighbors, church members, etc., he damn well better do it.

But Andy returning is just one hump for the Yankees to get over. Who will be the fifth man in their rotation? As it stands right now, that would be Ivan Nova, but I don't think the Yankees will just settle for their novice pitcher. With the money they were going to pay Lee now available, the Yankees can still make some moves.

I read a report this morning that they are still out on pursuing Zack Greinke, but I think that maybe now the Yankees should revisit that option. If Greinke truly is interested in playing in New York as it has been said he is, he's certainly more than worth considering; his history with anxiety disorder and depression make him seem unsuited for New York, so it will be interesting to see which way the Yankees may go here. Now that the Yankees are close to an agreement on a 1-year deal for catcher Russell Martin, a package for Greinke would almost certainly include Jesus Montero, and possibly Brett Gardner (I hope not!) along with other prospects from the farm system.

Mark Buerhle of the White Sox is another option that the Yankees could trade for. He's a solid lefty with a perfect game under his belt and a career ERA of 3.85 which is admirable. He's not a strike-out type pitcher and doesn't have any one masterful pitch, but he can go deep into games and that's a plus. He could also give the Yankees at least 14 wins. There are also other free agent pitchers available, but all-in-all, Greinke is really the Yankees' best option.

The Yankees have a lot of work to do now. While the Lee saga is disappointing, it is not at all a wrap for the Bombers.

So, the Lee sweepstakes is officially over. Now maybe fanatics, we can go back to our normal lives.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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