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Biggest Surprise In Off-Season

Drew Hallowell, Getty Images

The baseball season is here – finally – as pitchers and catchers reported for duty down in Florida and out in Arizona today.

After an off-season that saw Boston acquire two All-Stars, Manny go to Tampa and my Orioles add 5 impact players – the biggest off-season move in Major League Baseball was a move that didn’t even happen.

The biggest off-season surprise was the Yankees NOT getting Cliff Lee.  This seemed like a lock a few months ago.

During the ALCS last year, every Yankee fan was saying that it didn’t matter they lost the series to Cliff Lee and Texas – he was going to be in Pinstripes next year.

Cliff Lee was going to be a Yankee – it was only a matter of time.  The quicker Texas lost in the World Series, the quicker Lee could start looking for a house in New York’s suburbs.  If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Lee was friends with CC Sabathia – they both pitched together in Cleveland.  Their wives were friends – Lee loved New York.  Lee was reportedly devastated he didn’t get go there last year during the trade deadline.  He was “crushed” he ended up in Texas instead.  I would have been a rich man had I taken everyone’s bet that thought he was going to become a Yankee in 2011.

Instead, Lee signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies – a 5 year, $120 million deal, plus a vesting option for a sixth year.  The Yankees had offered Lee six years at $22 million each, plus an option year for $16 million, for a total of $148 million over seven years.  Finally, we saw a player turn down the Yankees and instead, go to a team with a better chance of winning now.

That’s what was so surprising.  It’s becoming very clear to other players that the Yankees are an aging team that might not be a lock to make the playoffs or win it all.

Ask yourself this Yankee fans – do you really think your club is an attractive option to free agents anymore?

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