TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — After meeting with Cliff Lee’s agent at the winter meetings, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is awaiting a go-ahead from Darek Braunecker to make a contract offer.
“If they’re ready to take one, I’m willing to get serious,” Cashman said. “We’re just waiting for them to get to that position. I know what we’re willing to do and how far we’re willing to go. We’d to love to add Cliff Lee to the Yankee rotation, there’s no doubt about that. He knows that.”
Speaking after Tuesday’s news conference to announce Derek Jeter’s $51 million, three-year contract, Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner sounded upbeat about signing the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner.
“I’m still optimistic, but you never know,” Steinbrenner said.
Texas acquired Lee from Seattle in July after the Yankees thought they had a deal to get him in a trade from the Mariners. Lee led the Rangers to their first World Series appearance, and Texas wants to re-sign him.
Washington also said it would like to acquire Lee. The Nationals agreed to a $126 million, seven-year contract with outfielder Jayson Werth last weekend, and there was speculation Tuesday that Washington will offer Lee a seven-year deal.
“I don’t believe rumors, anyway,” Steinbrenner said. “If somebody offered him seven years, 10 years, 15 years, I don’t go by any of that, anyway. We’ll offer him what we think is, obviously, very fair and we’ll go from there.”
Cashman met with Lee last month at the 32-year-old left-hander’s home in Arkansas.
“He’s going to weigh the opportunities presented to him, the locales presented to him, whatever they are, and measure against whatever we’re willing to do, and he’ll make a call,” Cashman said. “He’ll make a decision here at some point, but we’ve just got to respect the process, respect the player and his family and their interest and try to educate them as much as we can about what we have to offer.”
Speaking with Washington-area reporters, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo downplayed his team’s chances of signing Lee.
“I still think we’re a real long shot to acquire the player,” he said.
New York is more gung-ho.
“We’re involved,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “We’ve got some money to spend. If we’ve got money coming off we always put most or all of it back in. That’s what the fans expect. They expect us to field a good team every year and we’re going to do that. We’ll see where we end up.”
Without offering any names, Cashman said he has met personally with one other player and plans to see more soon.
“I’ve been engaging a lot of people,” Cashman said. “And you know what? If we don’t put through anything, then we’ll wait for spring training or the season to get what we need. I’m in a rush to get something done right. I’m not in a rush to get it wrong.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.