Brian Cashman may be preparing to jump off a building this weekend, but the New York Yankees are not about to leap into panic mode over a report that the Texas Rangers are about to offer Cliff Lee a contract.
A baseball source with inside knowledge of the Lee situation shot down a report in Wednesday's edition of the New York Post that the Rangers are readying an offer for Lee and aren't afraid to go to five years to compete with the Yankees. Lee pitched Texas into the World Series but lost the two games he started against the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants.
"Nothing's happening there yet," said the source, who insisted on anonymity because of his active involvement in the Lee chase. "It sounds like a lot of BS being put out by the agent."
Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, did not immediately respond to a text message Wednesday morning. But in a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon, he refused to provide any information regarding which teams already had made offers for the 32-year-old left-hander, who won the 2008 Cy Young Award and compiled a 12-9 record in 2010 pitching for the Rangers and Seattle Mariners.
"The Yankees haven't made an offer yet," the source said. "[Braunecker] really doesn't want any offers until next week. He wants to be the ringmaster at the winter meetings. I don't expect anything to get done until after that."
Baseball executives involved in the pursuit of Lee told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney on Monday that they believed a decision on Lee likely would come at the winter meetings, which start Monday in Orlando.
The Yankees' interest in Lee, who beat them twice in the 2009 World Series when he was with Philadelphia, is well-known. The Rangers have been tight-lipped about their plans, but the team has indicated it remains committed to competing hard for Lee's services.
Cashman, though, has expressed reservations about offering a long-term contract to a pitcher. Already, he is entangled in an albatross with another of Braunecker's clients, A.J. Burnett, who is owed $49.5 million on the remaining three years of his contract.
"Absolutely, there's a risk in signing a pitcher to a long-term deal," Cashman said in a recent interview. "It's a big risk no matter what. But how you counter it is, you get an insurance policy. That's not easy and that's not cheap, but that's one of the things that can help you sleep better at night."
Asked if a team could insure a pitcher against poor performance, Cashman -- who intends to rappel down a 22-story building in an elf costume Sunday as part of a holiday celebration in Stamford, Conn. -- said, "No, but my replacement would have to deal with that."