If you search for "#clifflee" on Twitter, you will find an ongoing slew of tweets as folks await his long overdue decision about where he'll play in 2011. While Ranger fans are certainly interested and hopeful, some Yankee fans seem despondent at the thought of the left-hander not coming to the Bronx.
Here are five reasons the Yankee faithful should just—as my daughter would say—"chillax!"
No player is ever as good as his best season or as bad as his worst. 2010 was Burnett’s worst. He posted a 5.26 ERA (his worst since 2001). His career ERA is still a respectable 3.99, and he started 33 games for New York, only one shy of his career high. There’s no guarantee, but the smart money will be on Burnett having a resurgent year in 2011.
Lee’s 2.13 ERA for his postseason dominance jumps to a still respectable but less god-like 3.18. His 2010 record was a “not-too-shabby” 12-9, and he dealt with back troubles while working with Texas. While most teams would take those numbers, is that really what the Yankees want to spend $23 million-plus a year for?
Derek Jeter (.348 OBP), Nick Swisher (.348 OBD), Mark Teixeira (33 HR), Alex Rodriguez (.506 SLG), Robinson Cano (.319 BA), Posada, Granderson, Cervelli and Gardner (47 SB). Total value: $111.4 Million (That’s double most franchises, and we’re not even talking about a single pitcher). Regardless of whom the Red Sox signed this offseason, a 2011 Yankee lineup will still be one of the premier orders in all of baseball.
If Sabathia had put up a season in any other year like he did in 2010, he’d have run away with the Cy Young for the American League. The statistical anomaly that was Felix Hernandez (Seattle) was a good choice for the award, but his 2.27 ERA, 232 Ks and 13-12 record were a fluke sort of season. Sabathia was the premier hurler of 2010 (21-7. 3.18 ERA, 197 Ks).
The Yankees' projected payroll (without Lee) for 2011 is around $213 million. They will be tops (duh) in the majors, a full $51 million ahead of Boston. That is also a full $178 million ahead of the lowly Pirates. Look at it this way: If you were the Pirates owner and you were told that you could have $178 million added, per year, for the next decade, would you believe that another $23 million was an absolute necessity?