Winter meetings buzz: Yankees up ante for Lee
The Royals are trying to involve the Yankees in trade talks for pitcher Zack Greinke but the Yankees are hesitant to risk having him in New York City, where confidantes of his believe he would not accept a trade. Among the teams heavily in the mix for the 2009 AL Cy Young winner are the Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Dodgers and Blue Jays.
A Rangers contingent is on its way to Little Rock, Ark. to meet with Cliff Lee and his agent, Darek Baraunecker, as first reported by ESPN.com, to enhance the teams' offer to Lee. They had been at five years but they seem to be willing to go more than that now. The Yankees bumped their original offer of six years up to seven years within the last 24 hours, which could have been in reaction to Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, along with Lee the other top prizes of the free-agent class, both agreeing to seven-year deals. There is talk from Rangers president Nolan Ryan suggesting they might be "softening" on going to six years. There had been two seven-year offers before the Yankees raised theirs to 7. One of those is now known to have been from the Red Sox, as foxsports.com first reported. But they are seen as extremely unlikely to get Lee now, after signing Crawford and acquiring Adrian Gonzalez last weekend.
The Phillies are in talks to bring reliever Chad Durbin back to Philadelphia.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels on his team's chances of signing Cliff Lee: "You guys can draw your own conclusions." Meanwhile, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said of the Red Sox' Carl Crawford signing, "It was going to go one way or the other [the Red Sox or the Angels]. Great move by Boston."
The Yankees have increased their offer to Cliff Lee to seven years. It isn't known yet if the dollar amount is changing. It makes sense for the Yankees to offer seven years, given that the other top two players on the market, Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford, both got seven-year contracts.
For the record, Carl Pavano had a face-to-face meeting with Milwaukee Brewers honchos on Tuesday but they did not dine together on Wednesday. Pavano is a free-agent coming off a strong 17-11 season with a 3.75 ERA for the Twins.