Day 4 of “Operation Cliff Lee Countdown”

Michael and I were on our way to dinner with friends when I said in the car, “The winter meetings have been a big tease this year.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “Aside from the Werth deal before they started the meetings, things have been pretty quiet.”
“Apparently, Cashman can’t even get Cliff Lee’s agent to respond to an offer,” I said. “And now the agent has left Orlando and gone to Arkansas to talk to Lee. Which means more waiting and wondering.”
“This agent seems to have everybody waiting and wondering,” said Michael. “Who is he anyway?”
“His name is Darek Braunecker,” I said. “Sounds like a German coffee machine.”
We got to the restaurant, a cute Italian place here in Santa Barbara called Trattoria Victoria, and sat down with our friends. During dinner we all talked about the updates in the murder investigation of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, about the recent ruling in the McCourts’ divorce case and what it might mean for the Dodgers, about the bones I found in my otherwise delicious piece of sea bass. And then we went home. I went straight to the computer to see if there was Cliff Lee news. Nope. Only the fact that Carl Crawford will be a Red Sock for the next 7 years. My condolences to the Angels, whose offer wasn’t enough to hold off those busy shoppers in Boston. But what about Lee? Is he planning to make a decision about his future soon or not? I’m tired of this guy Braunecker acting like his client is an undercover agent with the CIA. I’m tired of all the secrecy. I’m tired of waiting. Just tell us straight up: Does Lee want to pitch for the Yankees or doesn’t he? Even Andy Pettitte is waiting for an answer.
Tonight’s Operation Cliff Lee Countdown video is actually audio. Even if you listen closely, you still can’t figure out what Braunecker is really saying. He’s a master of double talk, which explains all this waiting and wondering. I’m glad he’s not my agent, that’s for sure.


  1. raysrenegade

    Practicing a lot of “Wooo Saaaah” right now like Martin Lawerence in “Bad Boys 2”. Trying to find some sort of zen or Feng shui vibe to get me through the weekend.
    Now that number 2 and 3 are off the trade board, maybe it is time for Mr Lee to make an appearance, even to local television crews and bring this saga to an end before someone strains a braincell.
    But then again, I plan on being sedated heavily throughout the 2011 season, I think I will need it.

    Rays Renegade

  2. blithescribe

    Yeah that was not the news I was looking for this evening. It does seem like, with the Angels, the deal everyone’s talking about is not the deal that happens or even necessarily the one the front office was pursuing…though obviously in this case they were pursuing Crawford. We’re still a long way from Spring Training and I am intrigued to see what they come up with between now and then…though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t say a few more choice words on the subject earlier. Better luck with Lee!


    i am having a hard time waiting to know cliff lee’s answer and now to see the front page of the boston globe today i feel worried. the red sox just got really really good. i was enjoying driving home last night listening to ny sports radio and hearing yankee reporters talking about the winter meetings and came home to girardi on the mlb network but now i’m worried. everyone said it looks like andy is retiring. if we don’t get cliff lee. who is going to pitch?

  4. abby1306

    The Red Sox signing Crawford means at least we’re neither losing Swish, Granderson or Gardner. What makes me happy. 😉
    But you’re right Jane, it’s time Cliff Lee makes a decision. I also hate waiting…I think I mentioned it before, I’m not a patient person…

    A German Coffee Machine? Lol, I really had to laugh. But you’re right, it is a German name. There are also so many players in the Big League who are carrying a German name. The one I’ll always remember is Clay Buchholz. Lol.
    But let’s hope Braunecker gets his client to sign with the Yankees. And that asap please.


    Enough of this already! It is time to break out the big guns. Jane, you need to get Amber Sabathia into the cafeteria to talk to Mrs. Lee. No more soft sell – have her show the highlights from Hope Week and let her watch video from the Yankee visits to Sloan Kettering and other area hospitals. Show her the info about Yankees Universe.
    And Jane Lang is a real Yankees fan. Since Mrs. Lee wants her kids to have a dog, but not have a dog (according to that Seattle video), I’m sure Jane would let the Lee kids pet Clipper when he if “off duty” during the game.

    His son is 9 – the perfect age to see the new Spiderman musical on Broadway! His daughter would love Mary Poppins, and both would love the Lion King. There’s the Big Apple Circus, Cirque de Soleil, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade!!

    They could live on an estate in Westchester, where Cliffy could hunt if he wanted. Good schools there too.


  6. Jane Heller

    Heavy sedation is probably a good idea, Renegade. This could be a very strange season for the Rays, having shed mainstays Crawford and Pena and who knows which players are next? I feel for you, although you do have plenty of great young guys ready to take over. Yeah, it’s time for the Lee thing to be over and done with already. Hasn’t he been thinking about where he wants to play, like for a year?

    Sorry about Crawford, blithescribe. I know how hard Torii Hunter was lobbying for him to come there. I guess the Angels’ money fell a little short (the amount just boggles the mind, but we expected that). I keep reminding myself that “this is a business.”

    Poor you, Barbara, having to read all that stuff about Crawford when we’re sitting here waiting for an answer from Lee. I agree the Red Sox got really good – on paper. Will Crawford break down after all those years on the turf? Will they trade Ellsbury? Will Beckett and Lester have big years? I don’t know. We’ve got our own problems, including Mr. Lee and his agent, the same guy who sold us a guy named A.J. Burnett. Andy seems to be sending signals about retirement – unless we get Lee. I think that would sway him to come back for another year.

    It does mean that our outfield stays intact, Nadine, and – assuming Gardner’s surgery took care of his problem – we should be fine in that department. But who knows what trades Cashman might have up his sleeve if we don’t get Lee? If he goes after another pitcher in a trade, we could be parting with some players we didn’t expect to.

    You would think the next deal would be for Lee, Jeff. The other two top free agents have been crossed off the list. I really hope they don’t keep us waiting until next week….or Christmas.


    “So tired…tired of waiting…
    Tired of waiting for you-oo-oo…
    We are some lonely souls
    We’ve signed NOBODY…can we sign you?
    But you…keepin’ us waitin’…
    All of the time…what can we do?…
    It’s your life…and you can do what you want…
    Do what you like…
    But please don’t keep us waitin’…”
    Let’s PLEEZ work out the kinks, so to speak, on this contract, and come out with at least a Pitching Staff! Otherwise, I fear that we’ll be in the same State of Sedation that Rays Renegade is planning for 2011…but if his sedatives are named Jack, Johnny, Jim, or a certain Captain Morgan, well then, Tampa…here I come!!!
    (P.S. on a negative-positive note, I can tell my Dear Spouse Who Sorta Likes Boston Teams Because Tom Brady Is So Cute that we ain’t the only Big Big Spenders on the block these daze…!)

  8. Jane Heller

    No, ambiguity is not what makes a good agent, Paul. Buyers like to know where they stand. There comes a point when if they’re frustrated enough, they move on to someone else.

    Melissa, I’m beginning to think that none of this is about New York. It’s about the money and the number of years. Period. Look at how all these other deals have gone; the player chooses the highest bidder. Now that the Yankees have upped their offer and presumably blown away the competition, I would think the deal will happen quickly. But I’ve been wrong before.

  9. Jane Heller

    Yes, Dave. Please do break it to your wife that the Red Sox aren’t exactly paupers when it comes to payroll. Excellent song. The Kinks were always one of my favorite groups. And fear not – we WILL have a killer pitching staff – somehow!

  10. raysrenegade

    We do have a Captain Morgan Party Deck at Tropicana Field. Maybe I should look into a season ticket out in the boondocks up there?
    Might become addicted to the Rays blue-colored Lime Bites in 2011…..Or at least find a nurse for a LIme Bite IV.

    Rays Renegade

  11. antonella

    I know I’ve been absent from the blog lately BUT this Texas weather is crazy & I’m down for the count with this terrible cold/flu/or whatever this is… [ANOTHER reason for Cliff to go to NY]

    Anyways, I’m SO sick of these Cliff Lee talks.. Is this how those LeBron fans felt when he wouldn’t say where he was going? UGH. I told myself today that I was just going to assume he wasn’t going to NY & that Nova was going to be a starter next year [I actually like SuperNova btw (even though he can’t pitch past the 6th inning)]

    I actually said today that Cliff Lee was a Diva.. This whole situation is making me go crazy.. ESPECIALLY, when where you turn.. the freaking Red Socks are making headlines.. Where did this money come from? Are they selling drugs? Did they rob a bank? Anyways, I’ll end this now so I can go take some meds 🙂

  12. antonella

    Thanks Jane. Luckily, I took some meds prior to this CONFERENCE CALL that the Rangers were involved in.. I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack.. [maybe I’ll fake one & blame Lee.. He’ll forsure feel sorry for me cuz I’m an NYY fan & sign with the Yanks]

    I really hope that all this is worth it at the end. I read that Sabathia said that Lee will text him & ask questions & they’ll talk.. but other than that he hasn’t been pressuring him. I’m glad I don’t have his number.. He would have blocked my number by now.

    *fingers & toes crossed*

  13. Jane Heller

    Really sorry you’re sick, Antonella! Poor baby. Hope you’re taking something that at least knocks you out so you can sleep. Don’t assume Lee isn’t coming to NY. Remember how frustrated we were when CC didn’t jump at our interest? Everyone assumed he wanted to stay in California, but he came. And Lee will come. Yes, the Red Sox must have robbed a bank. LOL.

  14. Jane Heller

    Glad CC has been in touch with Lee, Antonella, although I can’t imagine what’s left to say. Lee probably knows more about the Yankees than most players. Good thing you don’t have his number though.:)

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