Yankees Offer Lee 7th Year, ESPN Says; Rangers Meet With Pitcher

Pitcher Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Nov. 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Photographer: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee met with Texas Rangers executives and received a new offer from the New York Yankees.

Rangers Managing Partner Chuck Greenberg was among team officials who yesterday tired to convince left-hander Lee to re-sign with the club he led to the World Series in October.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to fielding a championship-caliber team and conveyed a menu of multiple offers which represented a substantial additional commitment for both years and dollars in an attempt to land his services,” Greenberg said about the meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Yankees added a seventh year to their proposal to the pitcher and may increase the average salary per year, ESPN reported, citing people familiar with the team who wished to remain anonymous.

The Yankees originally offered the 32-year-old Lee a six-year, $140 million contract, according to ESPN. The new offer is a seven-year deal with an average salary per year less than the $23.3 million of the six-year offer, ESPN said.

That deal would bring Lee close to the seven-year, $161 million contract that CC Sabathia signed with the Yankees in 2008. The Yankees may be willing to go to $25 million per year to land two-time All-Star Lee, a baseball official told ESPN.

The Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals also have talked with Lee and agent Darek Braunecker.

Lee led the American League in complete games (seven), fewest walks per nine innings (0.76) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.28-to-1) last season, the final year of a five-year, $23 million contract.

Beat Yankees

Lee was a combined 12-9 with a 3.18 earned run average for two teams in 2010 -- he was traded from the Seattle Mariners on July 9 -- and 3-0 in his first three playoff starts, including eight shutout innings against the Yankees on Oct. 18. In 10 career postseason starts, Lee is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA.

Lee began his major league career with the Cleveland Indians in 2002. In 2008, he went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA for the Indians and won the Cy Young Award, given to each league’s best pitcher. Lee pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 and was traded to the Mariners before the start of last season.

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