Carl Crawford To Boston Red Sox Deal Guarantees Cliff Lee a 7-Year Contract

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIDecember 9, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As the Yankees continue their efforts to court free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, their fallback guy was Carl Crawford.

Well, the Yankees can forget about that as Crawford has agreed to a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees need Lee even more than they did just a few short hours ago, and while their initial offer of six years and $140-150 million was incredible, they might have to up it just a little bit.

There have been rumors floating around that there are at least two teams willing to offer Lee a seven-year deal.

The Yankees have been firm in their stance they won't go past six years with Lee. Well, they're going to have to now, as will any other team interested in signing Lee.

Last season, Lee went 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. Lee is one of the most dominant postseason pitchers of his era, with a career 7-2 record and a 2.13 ERA in 10 career postseason starts.

The Crawford signing might be the best thing that ever happened to Cliff Lee, as he can now expect every legitimate offer to go up in both years and dollars.

The Yankees HAVE to sign Lee now just to keep up with the Red Sox, who also traded for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez earlier in the week. They no longer have a Plan B—or even a Plan C for that matter.