Sunday, December 12, 2010


... Does anybody know what Cliff Lee and his agent are up to?  Anybody?  Homeboy just up and left the winter meetings early and now there's been no activity for days.  How fucking long does it take to figure out if you want $140 million or 160?

Did his agent's flight make it back OK?  And if he on a family vacation or something?  Did he lose power?  Or is he just on a really long hunting trip?  Somebody find this fucking guy and get him to sign on the dotted line already so I don't have to talk about Carl Crawford or fucking Russell Martin anymore.

Does The Russell Martin Contract Offer Mean Anything In Terms Of The Lee Offer?

For those that don't know, the Yankees reportedly made a one-year contract offer to Russell Martin.  There had been talks of a Martin-for-Cervelli trade a few weeks ago, but that quickly died down and it seemed like Martin was no longer on the radar.  But now the Yankees have made him an offer and could be on the verge of having 4 catchers on the 25-man if he decides to accept.

Which brings us back to the original question posted in the title?  Does this offer give a little insight into what the Yankees might be thinking about the Cliff Lee situation?  It's no secret that any Plan B they would follow if they didn't get Lee would include putting together a major prospect package to offer in a trade.  For the type of front-line starter they would be looking for, that major package would almost certainly have to include Jesus Montero.  Now they Yankees have already made it known that they plan on giving Montero an opportunity to win the starting job in Spring Training in 2011, and they have already walked away from potential trades in the past that included him as the main chip.  So why, all of a sudden, would they bring another catcher into the mix to compete for the job?

On the one hand, it could mean that they aren't as confident that Lee will end up signing with them as they once were and they might be getting a head start on putting that prospect package together.  We've already seen that Cervelli is not capable of being a productive everyday catcher, and Jorge's catching days are long behind him, so the Yankees need a more viable option if Jesus is going to be traded away for a Zack Greinke or Chris Carpenter-type pitcher.  Martin could be that option if he shows his health problems are behind him and he would give the Yankees better offensive and defensive production than Cervelli if he became the new starting catcher after Jesus' departure.  The argument can be made that if the Yankees still felt that they were the leaders in the Lee sweepstakes, there would be no need to bring in another catcher.

On the other hand, this could just be the Yankees looking to upgrade at a position that they will be a bit weak and uncertain at next year.  You have to assume that Jesus, even if he wins the job, is going to have some growing pains early in the year.  And maybe some early struggles would be a call to have him take a bit of a breather and not handle the bulk of the catching duties until he gets his feet under him.  If that happens, the Yankees will want somebody there who can handle the task and Martin would be a major upgrade over Cervelli in that department.  Now that might not seem like an appealing offer to Martin, and maybe that's why he won't take the Yankees' offer, but he doesn't exactly have other teams knocking his door down right now and playing on the Yankees where he has a chance to win a title is definitely a situational upgrade over rotting away on the dead stick that is the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Whatever the case may be, this situation puts the writing on the wall for Frankie that his days in pinstripes may be coming to an end.  Regardless of who the starter is, a catching tandem of Jesus and Martin is much more attractive than one of Jesus and Frankie.  That being said, I'm still a bit skeptical as to what the Yankees' real motives are in going after Martin.  They aren't use to having to wait this long to get their big target and the fact that there's nothing coming out of the Lee camp has to be making them a little bit uneasy.  I certainly hope they aren't already planning to move Jesus to add another pitcher prematurely.  Keeping Jesus and adding Lee makes the offense and defense better.  You can't say that same about having Lee and Martin.