No idea whether this is accurate or not at this point, but Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports is reporting via Twitter that prized free-agent Cliff Lee is telling teammates he would return to Texas if the Rangers would sweeten their offer to six seasons.
Well, of course Lee would do that. Or at least say he would do that. It’s been pretty well established that the New York Yankees, the other primary suitor for Lee, do not want to give a six-year deal to a guy who will turn 32 next season. In fact, why would anyone want to do that.
Reality is, I’m not sure anyone really wants to give him five years — but the Yankees and Rangers are probably both willing to do that in order to try and turn the tide in the American League arms race for the next two to three seasons.
There are so many examples of bad long-term contracts given to pitchers that you have to be squeamish about even giving Lee five years, which would take him to age 37. Yes, he is a control pitcher and not a power pitcher, but it is still a huge risk.
As for the sixth year, it is something I cannot imagine the Rangers being able — or willing — to do. Even though Tom Hicks no longer owns the club you would think they learned something about being tied to bad long-term deals from the whole Alex Rodriguez mess.
But, hey, Lee can ask. Maybe someone will be foolish enough to give him that sixth year.