Let's start our morning with some analysis and some questions for you.
There are a couple of reports, first by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, and now by others, saying Cliff Lee has a a seven year offer on the table. All along, I have felt it wouldn't be just the Yankees and Rangers. The Nationals very well may be the team that will offer Lee seven years.
Think about it: As far back as regular season, a source told ESPNNY.com that the Nationals think they are right on the cusp of competing. The source said that the Nationals will be players in the Lee Sweepstakes. The initial thought the other day was that Nationals just signed Jason Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract so they are done.
But that probably was the exact wrong way to look at it. Do you sign Werth and hope to just get better or do you have a plan to really compete? The Lerners have tons of money so these millions don't matter for them. They want to try and compete.
(Story Update: The Washington Post said the Nationals are not going to seven years. Still, there may be a team out there willing to go seven. Could it be the Angels? Just speculating.)
So if the Lerners are willing to go seven years at $20-25 million, will the Yankees match. The Yankees are leaking the information that they won't go seven years. We shall see.
If Lee is only interested in going for the most money, then the Nats or the mystery team really will have a chance. At the end of the day, will the Yankees really let their Lee obsession go over one year?
But here is the rub, and this was first brought up by Rosenthal, if the Yankees were to sign Lee for seven years at 32, what would that mean for CC Sabathia.
Sabathia has publicly said he will not opt out next season. After the third season of his seven-year deal, he has the right, too. Maybe CC keeps to his word, but he doesn't have to. Telling reporters he won't opt-out is different than telling the team. If Lee gets seven, CC might say, "Add a year or two to my deal." The opt-out give hims leverage.
So here is the question, do you want the Yankees to go to a seventh year for Lee?