A number of Yankees Hot Stove stories out there this morning:
1) The Yankees have apparently upped their offer to 7 years, although Joel Sherman reports that the deal is actually more complicated than that:
The Yankees’ offers work on a scale in which the shorter the term, the higher the annual average value. It is believed the bids work something like this: five years for $125 million; six years for $144 million; seven years for $161 million; or $25 million a year, $24 million a year and $23 million a year, respectively.
This is an interesting plan, although I cannot see a pitcher of Lee’s age doing anything but taking the largest offer. I have said all along that I thought a 7 year deal was way too long, and I stand by that position. That said, it may be time to reluctantly conclude that this is an inflated market, and that these sort of deals may be where baseball is headed. As EJ noted yesterday, MLB may be due for some contract inflation due to soaring revenues.
2) Sherman with some encouraging news on Derek Jeter:
Jeter is renowned around the Yankees for having a set routine and hating to deviate from it. Yet in response to his poorest campaign, Jeter is going to break with his habitual offseason plan and do one-on-one sessions with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, The Post has learned. Jeter may travel to Arizona, but Long more probably will go to Tampa, likely in January.
The two had begun to implement some changes late in the year that showed some positive results. Essentially, as a way to shorten a too-long swing, Long wants to continue to get Jeter to better control the direction and the length of his stride.
Derek worked on his conditioning and flexibility prior to the 2009 season, and he later credited that work for helping him to one of the best seasons of his career. It is good to see that Derek is willing to change his routine to hone his craft, particularly now that he is signed to another expensive contract. A bounce-back season from Jeter would go a long way towards helping the club remain the best offense in the AL East.
3) The Yankees apparently called the Twins about Francisco Liriano, but were told that he is not available. I would imagine that the call was part of Brian Cashman’s Plan B, and I am curious to find out what his other targets might be should the Yankees whiff on Cliff Lee.
4) According to multiple reports, the Yankees and Red Sox are both working hard to sign Russell Martin. With the Yankees declaring Jorge Posada to be the DH and considering the uncertainty that surrounds Jesus Montero, a Martin signing would help remove a lot of the risk from the Yankees catching situation. The Red Sox may need Martin even more, so it should be interesting to follow this as it develops.
5) Old friend Melky Cabrera signed with the Royals, who also signed Jeff Francoeur. Neither player is good at all, and I often wonder whether it might be better for teams like KC to play minor league free agents and perceived AAAA-types in the hopes of discovering a decent asset.