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Yanks Said to Offer Cliff Lee 7-Year Deal

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, Dec 9, 2010  |  Updated 11:30 AM CDT
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Is It Time to Let Cliff Lee Go?

Getty Images

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01: Losing pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers looks on from the dugout against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Cliff Lee

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The New York Yankees have reportedly upped their offer to 7 years and nearly $170 million for ace lefty Cliff Lee.

It is at this point that the Texas Rangers need to bow out of this negotiation. Truthfully, the six-year deal offered on Wednesday for $140 million was actually when the Rangers should have given up. 

Whether it be six years or seven, either are too long of a contract for a pitcher in his early 30s with a history of back problems. The Yankees can afford to pay out a long-term contract should Lee be unable to continue to play -- the Rangers don't have that luxury.

And that being said, Rangers fans shouldn't begrudge Lee for taking the best offer on the table. If someone is willing to offer that contract, it's hard to blame the guy for taking it -- no matter how close Arkansas is to Texas.

Team president Nolan Ryan still remains optimistic, though he didn't say if a 7-year offer would be coming from the Rangers.  This from Ryan on ESPN.com:

 

"We have to be concerned about that because seven years for any contract is really stretching it out," he said. "And I don't know how you predict how anyone is performing six or seven years from now."

 

Ryan didn't say that seven years exceeded the Rangers' limit, but he did say: "Everything has a ceiling that they have to understand what it is. And it doesn't make economic sense after a certain threshold."

 

With no other pitchers near Lee's talent in the free agent or trade market, New York isn't the only team apparently willing to throw money Lee's way to see if they can snare the lefty.  Rumors abound that Boston and Washington have also sent the pitcher 7-year deals.

"He's got all the information he needs from us. I assume he's got the same from anybody else who's got an oar in the water here," said Brian Cashman, the director of spending/general manager of the Yankees. "They've gone through Cleveland and they've gone through Philly and they've gone through Seattle and they've gone through Texas for the right to free agency. They're here. So they want to make the right decision."

Lee has not said when he will be making a decision.

Should the Rangers come back and match or exceed the Yankees offer?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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