Rangers, Yankees face hard questions on Lee
Teams must weigh present-day value to long-term commitment
In the heat of the moment, in the pulse of the postseason, when his Rangers were in the midst of a run to the World Series and riding Cliff Lee all the way, managing partner Chuck Greenberg was asked what Lee, the premier pending free agent, was worth."Cliff Lee," Greenberg answered, "is worth everything that he's going to get." In the wake of a Series loss, in the cold, hard calculations that come with winter, Greenberg will have to ask himself just how accurate that statement was. With the Yankees expected to be involved in the bidding, the question it could all come down to is this: Is Lee worth something approaching the seven-year, $161 million commitment New York made to CC Sabathia two years ago? Lee and his agent, Darek Braunecker, will obviously argue in the affirmative. The numbers are in their favor, if you look at them in the right light. Take a three-year look at what Lee has done in the regular season, and it's certainly comparable to Sabathia's performance. Over the past three years, Lee was 48-25 with a 2.98 ERA, 17 complete games in 93 starts, five shutouts, 667 1/3 innings pitched, a 1.122 WHIP, a 142 ERA+, 8.8 hits per nine innings, 0.6 home runs per nine, 1.3 walks per nine and 7.2 strikeouts per nine.
Lee vs. CC, 2008-10