MLB Rumors: Are the New York Yankees Making Cliff Lee an Immediate Offer?

Adam LazarusSenior Analyst INovember 10, 2010

MLB Rumors: Are the New York Yankees Making Cliff Lee an Immediate Offer?

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    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
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Are the New York Yankees making Cliff Lee an immediate offer?

    According to the New York Post, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is on a plane headed for Arkansas. Maybe he's going to check out Walmart's international head quarters. Or maybe he is considering bringing Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino back to the world of professional sports.

    But most likely he's going to meet with free agent stud Cliff Lee, who is from and lives in "The Natural State."

    Cashman has plenty of obstacles to overcome in signing Lee, but most prominent is his wife's apparent disdain for the Big Apple, after she was harassed during the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.

    But negotiating a deal appeasing to both sides is also an issue. Lee is 32 years old. He is going to want a long contract, something similar to what the club gave his former teammate CC Sabathia just two years ago. But was three years younger when they signed him in 2009.

    Several teams will be looking to sign Lee but the Yankees might be the only ones with the money, although the Rangers could get the "hometown" discount.

    Here are 10 more rumors floating around the world of Major League Baseball.

Jayson Werth To The Red Sox?

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:  Jayson Werth #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the San Francisco Giants in Game Six of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Do
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Well, he's got a familiar "idiot" look that would fit into the Red Sox outfield.

    Boston is heavily considering Werth and will likely offer him the $15 million per season that he is seeking. (His agent is the famous negotiator Scott Boras).

    Werth's October production (11 postseason homers in the past three years) has probably enhanced his stock more than it is worth: he has yet to drive in 100 runs in a single season, and he'll be 32 next May.

    Still, the Red Sox know that in Fenway, the Green Monster is just begging for him to hit 50 doubles next season, and that could be the run-producing difference Boston needs to get back in the AL East race.

    But they aren't the only team interested. With Werth, the Angels could move Torii Hunter back to center field and have one of the best outfields in baseball.

Aubrey Huff Resigning With The Giants A Lock?

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 03:  Aubrey Huff of the San Francisco Giants bites his red rally thong during the San Francisco Giants victory parade on November 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Given what he did this postseason and the star power he's added with the "Rally Thong," first baseman Aubrey Huff will most likely be back with the Giants next year to defend their World Series title.

    Huff told the Associated Press that he "absolutely" wanted to re-sign with San Francisco. But that never means it's a given.

    His production has declined a bit in the past two seasons, not by much though. And he's still a great glove, which is becoming harder to find at first base.

    The Angels, Cubs and Mets can all afford to overpay for a soon to be 34-year-old. Let's see if they do.

50-Homer Power Hitters On The Move?

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    TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 23:   Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during the game against the Seattle Mariners on September 23, 2010 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Mariners 1-0. (Photo by Brad White/Getty
    Brad White/Getty Images

    Last season's home run champion, Toronto's Jose Bautista, is up for arbitration in 2011 and is probably going to be a free agent in 2012.

    At this point, it doesn't seem likely that the Blue Jays can leap frog three AL East teams (New York, Boston, Tampa Bay) to spring into contention for a division title. The club may consider moving Bautista before he becomes a free agent, and since his stock will not get any higher than it currently is, a preseason deal might fetch more than a deadline deal. 

    For a club more interested in a left-handed power bat, Prince Fielder is also potentially available, and under the same circumstances. He is arbitration eligible in 2011, and will be a free agent in 2012.

    If Tampa wants to keep pace in the East, they might consider a move for Bautista, depending on if they lose Carl Crawford. And if the Rangers lose out on Cliff Lee, Fielder might be a good addition, at least for one season. 

    Both the Brewers and Jays would have to consider those deals, if good pitching prospects can be sent in return.

Carl Crawford To The Champion Giants?

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    ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 27:  Carl Crawford #13 of the Tampa Bay Rays fouls off a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on September 27, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The best position player available on the free-agent market is Carl Crawford.

    Sure, Jayson Werth is a great add for any club, but Crawford might be the most complete outfielder in baseball. Obviously he's fast collecting dozens of stolen bases each year, and leading baseball in triples four of the last seven seasons.

    And Tuesday he won his first Gold Glove award. And for a two-hitter, he has great power numbers: he'll hit 15-20 home runs next year.

    That means anyone with the money will covet him this winter. And even though they just won a World Series without him, the Giants are going to consider adding Crawford.

    For one, they cannot count on Cody Ross being nearly as productive for 162 games as he was in the postseason. In fact, the 2010 Giants had probably one of the worst hitting outfields ever to win a World Series.

    They cannot offer him Mets or Yankees money, but San Fran will likely make a good offer (perhaps near $100 million/seven years) for the 29-year-old. If he wants to win a World Series, the Giants are just as good a place as any...unless the Yankees inconceivably enter the race.

    (But they don't have enough money for Cliff Lee, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Crawford...do they?)

Rockies Trying To Surround Their Potential Cy Young Ace

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Starter Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Rockies 1-0 in 11 innings.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Get
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Arguably the biggest individual surprise of the 2010 season was Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The 26-year-old went 19-8 (he came so close to 20 wins in his final start, allowing no runs in eight innings) with a 2.88 ERA, four complete games, two shutouts and 214 strikeouts.

    Doing that with 15 starts in Coors Field is quite an accomplishment.

    The Rockies' bats are very good with potential MVP winners Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, as well as Todd Helton and a few other good pieces.

    So Colorado needs to worry about how to fortify the rest of the staff. Jorge De La Rose might not re-sign, which will leave a hole in the rotation.

    According to MLBTradeRumors.com, the club is looking into a few options. Perhaps they'll sign free agent Javier Vazquez, but Jon Garland and Jake Westbrook are also contenders for the team's interest.

Marlins' Dan Uggla Crafting An Exit Strategy

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 29:  Dan Uggla #6 of the Florida Marlins bats against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB game at AT&T Park on July 29, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla is one of the top power-hitting second baseman in the game, and he wants to paid like one.

    FoxSports Ken Rosenthal reported that yesterday, Uggla turned down Florida's four-year, $48 million arbitration offer.

    $12 million per season is underselling Uggla's worth, but he also probably wanted a longer deal. He had the best season of his young career in 2010, finally getting his batting average up to a very respectable number, .287.

    He doesn't become a free agent until 2012, but the Marlins should consider getting what they can for him now.

Paul Konerko And The Arizona Diamondbacks

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 29: Paul Konerko #14 of the Chicago White Sox hits the ball against the New York Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field on August 29, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    White Sox slugger Paul Konerko is the best power-hitting right-handed bat on the free-agent market. Last season, the 34-year-old hit 39 homers, drove in 111 runs and even hit .312, leading the club in all three categories.

    Losing him would be a tremendous problem for Chicago, as they look to improve upon last season's success.

    Although some reports say that Konerko is not likely to sign with the Diamondbacks, he would be a good fit in Arizona. Adam LaRoche probably wants too much money and therefore wouldn't be a good fit to come back in 2011: he's three years younger than Konerko.

    They'll need to replace him somehow.

Adrian Gonzalez's Future in San Diego

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 03:  Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the San Diego Padres bats against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Padres' best position player, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, doesn't seem to want to stay in San Diego very much longer.

    He said on a local radio show this week that he isn't interested in taking a "hometown discount" when he becomes a free agent prior to the 2012 season.

    For a club like San Diego, who don't have the same money available, that doesn't sound promising.

Kevin Youkilis Switching To Third Base?

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    SEATTLE - JULY 23: Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox fields a ground ball by Milton Bradley of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 23, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis missed virtually the last two months of the 2010 season because of a thumb injury.

    And last weekend he told a reporter that he is readying himself should the club want him to switch to the other side of the diamond.

    Some people think that the Red Sox are very likely to go after a first baseman this offseason, which would mean Youkilis has to move over. The club is not likely to re-sign Adrian Beltre.

    Youkilis has played the position before, starting 88 games at the hot corner from 2008-2009.

Mets Shortstop Jose Reyes Won't Committ Long Term

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 18:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets in action against the Atlanta Braves during their game on September 18, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Given all the uncertainty and failure that has plagued the New York Mets over the past few seasons, their fans shouldn't be surprised to hear that the team's cornerstone, shortstop Jose Reyes, isn't guaranteeing that he'll be with the club after his contract expires next winter.

    According to the New York Post, Reyes said as much after the Mets exercized his $11 million option for the 2011 season.

    An injured calf and his hyperactive thyroid scare limited the the 27-year-old's productivity over the past two seasons. He only played in half of the team's games from 2009-2010.

    But when healthy he is probably the best leadoff hitter in the National League.

    Might the Yankees be looking across town for a replacement for "Captain Jeter?"