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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Yankees GM Cashman optimistic about Lee

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Cliff Lee is somewhere in the woods, hunting for deer, while his agent stalks the suites at the Dolphin and Swan hotel, searching for a knockout deal.

“”He’s probably having a lot more fun,”” agent Darek Braunecker said Monday.

Braunecker met with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and his team of executives on Day One of the winter meetings.

“”While we’re in the same area I’m going to meet with him as much as I can,”” Cashman said.

Club president Randy Levine took part in some of Cashman’s meetings with agents Monday, but figures weren’t exchanged for Lee, according to

“”I know what and where we’re willing to go,”” Cashman said.

Based on outfielder Jayson Werth’s new seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals, Lee might well command six years and $140 million or more to remain as the Texas Rangers’ ace, or to pair with CC Sabathia as a lethal combo atop the Yanks’ rotation.

The Rangers and Yanks have been the most “”vocal”” suitors, Braunecker said, though he categorized it as more than just a two-team race.

“”There’s a significant number of clubs that are interested at varying levels,”” Braunecker said in the bustling hotel lobby. “”To me, you’re talking about the best player on the market.””

Braunecker said that Lee’s one and only meeting with Cashman, who visited with the lefty and his wife in Arkansas last month, was “”very favorable.””

Rangers officials have met twice with Lee. Plus, “”In person we’ve visited with significantly more clubs than the two that have been reported,”” Braunecker said, adding that it was “”too early to say”” if any deal could be reached this week.

Cashman, though, sounded as if he’d like to accelerate the process.

“”The atmosphere’s right to push through some things,”” Cashman said. “”So we’ll see if there’s anything to push through.””

The Yankees have cast a wide net at these meetings, seeking for relief pitching and outfield depth while exploring options to add a catcher such as Russell Martin, who was non-tendered last week by the Dodgers.

Whether it’s via potential trade or free agent signing, the Yanks have discussed “”a number or different players, (including) some you wouldn’t think wouldn’t think would be on our radar,”” Cashman said.

Yet, so much of the Yanks’ winter strategy is tied to Lee.


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