As the biggest spender going after the biggest free agents, the Yankees’ plan was simple. Get Cliff Lee, then watch the other pieces fall into place.Or, on the off chance that playing in Texas, closer to his Arkansas home, proved too tempting for Lee, grab Carl Crawford and trade your surplus outfielders for another pitcher.
Then the rival Red Sox gave a new contract to Adrian Gonzalez. Then they snagged Carl Crawford. And the Nationals already backed up the truck to Jayson Werth’s house. All three got huge, monster deals, while Lee and the Yankees deliberated.
Now the Yankees have to get Lee. Because if they don’t, there is no Plan B.
If they don’t get Lee, their offseason falls apart. They may even be forced to up their six-year, $140 million offer, because the chance that anyone could offer him a seventh year and steal him away is too big a risk.
Andy Petite wants to retire, not be the No. 2 starter on a team that’s breaking down.
They could trade for Zack Greinke, but with what? They need all those outfielders now.
Yes, they held on to Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, but paid more then they wanted to for both. This team is getting older, but not wiser.
By making the Yankees wait, Lee cost them all their other options. And made himself their only option. But that may not stop him from sticking with the Rangers anyway (who wants to face that Red Sox lineup every month?) and leaving the Bombers holding the bag.
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