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Cliff Lee Says Yankees Were His Third Choice, Getting Too Old

When the 2010 offseason got underway in October, the Yankees had a clear-cut priority: sign Cliff Lee.  New York’s rotation is rock solid at the top with C.C. Sabathia, but they could have used another ace as insurance for the erratic A.J. Burnett.  Yankees fans had grown so accustomed to Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners getting their guy that they were stunned when Lee signed with the Phillies.  As it turns out, New York finished third in the race for the biggest prize on the free agent market.

Lee told WIP in Philly, via Hardball Talk, that if he didn’t sign with Philadelphia he probably would have returned to Texas.  The reason?  The Yankees are getting old.

“Texas probably finished second to be honest with you,” Lee said.  “Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they’re a better team. That’s just my opinion. The Yankees can do anything at any moment to improve and they’re not afraid to go do things. That was part of the decision making process too, but I felt like with what the Red Sox had done and it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older, but I liked the Rangers.”

The major flaw in Lee’s reasoning would have to be that the Phillies are the oldest team in baseball, based on average age on their roster.  The Yankees are ninth in that category, but Lee’s logic is somewhat valid.  The Yankees’ cornerstones — Derek Jeter (36) and Alex Rodriguez (35) — are entering the back ends of their careers while the Phillies’ — Ryan Howard (31), Jimmy Rollins (32) and Chase Utley (32) — are still in their primes.  Of course, New York has youth on its side with guys like Sabathia (30) and Robinson Cano (28), but in reality Lee probably just wanted to join a team that could have the best pitching rotation of all-time.

Whatever the case, Lee’s decision and his comments explaining it are a friendly reminder that not everyone wants to play for the New York Yankees.


Around The Web

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Surprised you left out the part about Lee saying what the Red Sox did is a big reason he avoided the Yanks too.

  • Anonymous

    It’s in the quote. We need no introduction this season. The world knows we mean business

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Even Cashman knows the Red Sox are the favorites

  • http://twitter.com/lehighYankee Phil Privitera

    Go ahead be over confident. Redsox should have made a play for him because after Bucholz and Lester its a crap shoot. Lee will be begging for the Yankee offense come this season.

  • Anonymous

    I think he’s overrated,
    john p mcniff
    philadelphia

  • Anonymous

    I think he’s overrated,
    john p mcniff
    philadelphia

  • Anonymous

    The only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his one chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.

  • Anonymous

    The only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his only chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.