I Want Cliff Lee

And not just because he and the Mariners beat the Yankees tonight. Well, he beat the Yankees minus Nick Swisher, who beat him with two homers.
And not because Phil Huuuuughes had an off night. It’s not even because Lee has now thrown three complete games in a row. (OK, yes, that’s part of it. I love pitchers who hang in there.) It’s because I still haven’t forgotten the pop up during the World Series. Remember? There he was, pitching a gem for the Phillies, when the ball was hit in the air and – without blinking – he stuck out his glove in the most nonchalant way and caught it.
The guy doesn’t get rattled, is as cool as they come, is completely comfortable on the big stage. I had the Mariners TV feed tonight, and after the game they interviewed Lee.
“I enjoy pitching with the big crowds in New York,” he said. “They know baseball here. They don’t need a teleprompter to tell them when to cheer.”
I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of what he said. He likes New York. He’s not afraid to pitch at the Stadium. He’s proven it over and over. Is he perfect? Of course not. Do we already have enough pitching? Depends on whether A.J. pulls out of his funk, not to mention if Andy stays healthy down the road. Would we have to give up lots of prospects? Not if he’s signed as a free agent. What I’m saying is that if there’s a Cliff Lee Sweepstakes coming up, I want the Yankees to be in it.
I mean, just picture it. Instead of that guy shaking his hand, it would be Cashman. Sweet.


  1. raysfanboy

    I do remember that catch. I remember laughing my butt off because I couldn’t believe a guy in such a big game would be so casual about a pop up! It was a pretty cool moment. I am sure you know, though, that you and everybody else covets this guy.


  2. raysrenegade

    You are not allowed to have my namesake.
    We have talked and he is set on maybe heading to another locale without pinstripes this year….But you were in the running until the end.
    Seriously, it might be easier and cheaper if you waited for Cliff Lee after the season when he is a FRee Agent and will not cost your farm system another body, or two, or possibily three.
    But I do understand the drama tonight. Lee went 9 innings and out some great pressure on the Yankees.
    Whoever gets Lee will pay a high priceif they do not ewait for him after the 2010 season….But then again, the Yankees can sometimes afford those luxuries.

    Rays Renegade


  3. Jane Heller

    I do know it, raysfanboy. The same was true about Halladay when his name was on everybody’s list. It’s not hard to see why so many teams covet Lee – he’s really good and he’s a quintessential big game pitcher.

  4. hammerf

    I wouldn’t want to sacrifice too many top young prospects to get Lee. Especially since the Yankees would be able to sign him in the off season without having to give up anything. Obviously CC will be fine and I think AJ will be as well. Also, Petite and Vasquez are both capable of pitching in the postseason. Plus, if Hughes’ innings are managed properly he may be able to throw a few starts in the postseason as well. I would rather the Yankees look for help in middle relief and maybe a back end rotation starter around the trade deadline and show confidence in their current rotation. It would probably not hurt to potentially acquire another bench player or two that can be used in pinch hitting or running situations.

  5. Jane Heller

    Hammerf, you are definitely the voice of reason. I agree with everything you said, particularly a bat for the bench. The kids have been great, but I’d like to see the Yanks pick up a veteran hitter. Middle relief should improve when Aceves comes back. But we could use another arm. All that said, I can’t help drooling over Lee.

  6. Jane Heller

    Yes, as a free agent, Renegade. That’s what I wrote in the post. No prospects. But, as you say, he would be costly. And the Yankees are more fiscally conservative these days (for them). I guess it’ll all depend on how the rotation fares the rest of the way.

  7. seindsfeld@aol.com

    They’re gonna ruin Hughes just like they did to Joba. Wonder what went through their heads…. you don’t mess with a guy with a 10-1 record!!!! I wouldn’t mind having Lee, but it’s nice having good pitchers on other teams sometimes. Plus the Mets want him too (they live in NY as well, doubt he’ll go there however. Johan and K-Rod have both been pretty bad since joining) but if he does go there, could there be another Subway Series??? I wouldn’t mind trading a few people….. so long AJ ;D (just kidding, sort of, half kidding, well more a quarter kidding) I was depressed at the beginning of the season though. Wang and Matsui are both shirts I have. I got rid of the Wang one, and Matsui is gone, so I’m very happy Swisher and Cano (the other shirts) are having such great seasons. XD

  8. ooaooa

    O high priestess of Yankee Fandon, I will pass on your wishes when I stop by the Yankee offices Sunday when I’m at the 4th of July game. Oh, by the way there are a few starlets out in your area that I want. Can you do anything?

  9. Jane Heller

    Seindsfeld, nobody’s ruining Hughes. Chill! Fifth starters have their turns skipped all the time. Hughes has been getting great run support in his past starts, and admits he hasn’t been as sharp lately – period. He’ll be fine. I know Lee will be in great demand, but that doesn’t diminish my appreciation of him. And I love that his old friends CC and AJ are trying to recruit him.

    Guilty as charged, zkonedog. We Yankee fans are spoiled. But there are lots of great players around the league and I covet all of them. Doesn’t mean they’ll become Yankees.

    Name the starlets, John, and I’ll make them yours! LOL. I don’t have any leverage with the Twilight crew though, so you’re on your own there. Can’t wait to hear about your trip to the Bronx on July 4th. You always have great stories. (No pressure or anything. 🙂

    Yeah, Swisher seems to have his number for some reason, Jeff. Too bad he didn’t pass along his secret to the rest of the team, since they looked stymied.

    I agree, Dave. Can’t let Lee go to one of our division rivals as that would be alarming! Congrats to the U of South Carolina. Must be nice to have their first championship. Great tale about Lee and the subway. He’s one cool customer.

  10. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Oh, yeah. My sentiments EXACTLY. What we wouldn’t give for Mr. Lee…and that’s the point too…we really don’t dare mortgage the future…but PLEEZ don’t let him get away to Bahston or Tampa or Minny or Dee-troit either, not even as a half-season hired gun…this one is tough…
    A few other Dave-like inanities. First — (sorry, UCLA) — CONGRATS to the U. of South Carolina — their very FIRST national championship in ANY sport, and it comes in beisbol, last nite — it’s also special, ’cause guess who used to be their head coach (and took ’em to their first College WS?) — none other than Bobby Richardson…!!
    Second — just one more reason we need Cliff Lee someday — a story in espn.com today relates how Lee took the NY subway (yet again — not the first time for him) to Yankee Stadium to pitch, but somehow the train missed/skipped the stop(?!?). No problemo for Mr. Cool — he just jumped on the next train heading back in the other direction, and there he was, right on time. Now that’s the kind of laid-back customer you CRAVE in October…!

  11. Jane Heller

    Oh, cheshirecat. I LOVED that article when I read it this morning! I was riveted. For anybody who hasn’t seen it, click on cheshirecat’s link and enjoy. I may print it out and frame it!

  12. Jane Heller

    I know a lot of Phillies fans feel the way you do, Jenn. Imagine if you had both Halladay and Lee. Scary. But you still have maybe the best pitcher in the NL.

    I’m ready, Paul! Bring it!

  13. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    Have been insanely busy since the weekend, Jane. I missed all of you so much. I know how good Lee is but I don’t want to give up anything good to get him. We can sign him after the season is over if that’s what we want but I don’t want to give up any of our young talent to get him for a couple of months.

    Hughes was a little disappointing – maybe the rest worked against him. And once again, the records don’t predict the outcome. We should have won that game 15 – 2. Oh well, just one “L”. I’m sure we’ll take the next 2 and then is onward and upward for sure.


  14. Jane Heller

    We missed you too, Diane! Wish you’d been able to come out to LA when the Yanks were on this coast. I don’t want to give up a lot of young talent to get Lee, but we seem to have a surplus of minor league catchers so that might be palatable. I think Hughes just had a mediocre night, rest or no rest, but who knows. Looking forward to tonight’s game.

  15. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    I was just going to sign in and send you the link to the Times article about Mo. I see Cheshirecat has beaten me to it!

    I have to say spending the last nineteen days watching all or part of 54 World Cup soccer matches (two got deleted on our DVR and we have one to watch tonight) has given me a very different perspective on the long baseball season and a loss here and there!

    The Yankees keep winning series and that is what matters. They are doing fine. I read that AJ’s grandfather just died. I wonder if he was ill and that was on AJ’s mind. He’ll get it back together and all will be well in Yankeeland. Hughes hasn’t been as sharp, but he’ll be back in fine form as well.


  16. Jane Heller

    Melissa! Welcome back to baseball. Yes, A.J.’s grandfather died but A.J. went back in Arkansas earlier, before the Dodgers series, when he learned that his grandfather was very ill. So I’m sure all that was weighing on him.

  17. seindsfeld@aol.com

    Your optimism always outweighs my pessimism Jane. I still think he’s ruined, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of his life. Just look at Joba: going to therapy three times a week, screaming “just let me pitch” in his sleep. AJ 0-5 20 ERA, he pitches. Guy is up for the Cy Young they skip him? Makes sense to me 😀 I missed you too Diane, I think XD

  18. Jane Heller

    You crack me up, seindsfeld. Read Melissa’s comment. She’s the eternal optimist. Hughes is not ruined, so stay calm. lol

  19. scofid

    Haha! We are definitely locked into the same thought. I am also hoping that Lee finds his way to the Bronx and not in an away uniform! After watching Javier Vazquez melt down again tonight, I just don’t want to pin the hopes of the season on him. Plus, I think the innings-restriction on Hughes could prove problematic later in the season. I want a “gamer” like David Cone following CC Sabathia, and Lee would be that guy. Brian Cashman will definitely prove his mettle if he can pull that one off…

  20. Jane Heller

    I want a gamer like Coney too, Scott. Oh how beautifully Lee would slide into our rotation. I hope Cashman can find a way to make it happen.

  21. crzblue2

    Lots of teams want a Cliff Lee. Dodgers could use him too. Did not know AJ’s grandpa passed away. Rafael Furcal missed the Red Sox series because his dad passed away. He was ill after getting kicked by a horse.
    Dodgers swept the Giants!

  22. Jane Heller

    I read about Furcal’s father, Emma. Such an awful accident! Congrats on the sweep of the “Gints.”

  23. Jane Heller

    You wanted to name your son Clifton Utley, kaiser! LOL. Sorry your wife wouldn’t cooperate. What did you end up naming him? Sorry about being a traitor. Sorry about the sweep too!

  24. kaiserthegreat

    How he even got traded I’ll never know. He was the Phillies star in that Series. Him and Ultley, that is. At the time I wanted to name my soon-to-arrive son Clifton Utley, but the wife didn’t go for it for some reason.

  25. Jane Heller

    So sweet, kaiser. I especially love the one with the bat and glove. You need to take that dude to a game!

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