Mike Lupica, Daily News:
In the end, this was like another game Cliff Lee was pitching against the Yankees, which means the Yankees kept swinging and missing with the guy. It happened last July, when the Yankees tried to make a trade for him. It happened in October, the one time they faced him in the American League Championship Series, in Game 3 at the new Yankee Stadium.Ian O'Connor, ESPNNewYork:
Now it happens in the crazy, free-agent winter of 2010, when Lee turns down what the Yankees offered him ... and takes less money and fewer years to go back to the Phillies.
They were so sure of opening the 2011 season with CC Sabathia in Game 1 and CC's dear friend, Cliff Lee, in Game 2, they figured the one hurdle to clear in contract talks would be whether to guarantee Lee a monument or a plaque. ...Joel Sherman, Post:
Girardi's rotation looks like it was hit by a nor'easter. The Yanks were hoping A.J. Burnett would be required to throw only celebratory pies next season; now he'll actually be needed to throw fastballs and curves. Andy Pettitte? Now Cashman will offer to build him his very own retirement community if he agrees to give it one more go. ...
[T]his one hurts. It hurts to the bone.
[T]he double-barrel rejection feels overwhelming. ...(And sure enough, a reader's comment: "No biggie...Lee had a what, 7.00 era, in the WS last year, he's declining already at 33 years old next season...We'll be fine and we don't have to listen to the whiners say we bought it..." And more than one fan says NYY should simply trade for Felix Hernandez -- who signed a contract extension less than 12 months ago that runs through 2014. Morons.)
The Yankees will say now they are relieved because, by leaving so many dollars on the table, Lee was signaling he really did not want New York. They will say they were uncomfortable going to age 39 with a pitcher who had back problems last year or that they have some of the best pitching prospects in the majors coming or they now have great financial flexibility to pounce on what they want during the year.
But that is all spin that could be heard a lot in the future of what has become The Not Cliff Lee Era for the Yankees.
Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
In the post-midnight hours, after news broke that Lee was going to the Phillies, Red Sox officials did not respond to e-mailed requests for reaction. Sleeping? Perhaps.
Or perhaps they decided that gloating in public is unbecoming.
New York Post:
It is believed Lee will take a five-year deal for $100 million from the Phillies, far below the Yankees' best offer, believed to be seven years in the $160 million range. The Rangers, Lee's final team this season, countered with a six-year pact with a vesting option for a seventh season.Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden, Daily News:
So now what? ...Danny Knobler, CBS Sports:
Shortly before midnight, the Yanks received a call from Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, informing them that Lee was headed to another team. ...
With the Yankees and Rangers seemingly going head-to-head to acquire the lefty, Lee approached the Phillies, telling them how much he enjoyed playing for them and asking them if there were any way for him to return ...
Players almost never turn down the Yankees when the Yankees are desperate to sign them ... Cliff Lee told the Yankees no. ...Brian Cashman, Monday afternoon:
The Yankees now need Andy Pettitte more than ever, which means they need to convince him not to retire. ...
I really don't think we've got a lot of holes. ... I really believe that A.J. Burnett is going to bounce back for us next year.
SoSHer 86spike: "Philly Contract: it's like a Baby NY Contract!"
SoSHer ThatsMyPeskyPole: "And Mrs Lee spits back."
(NYDN, October 27, 2010)
Greatest Offseason Ever!