The Yankees’ pursuit of Cliff Lee begins

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Arlington, Texas July 10, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

And so it begins.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors (one of the greatest websites known to man) is reporting that the Yankees are flying into Arkansas on Wednesday to meet with Cliff Lee. After dinner, a movie and some not-so-harmless flirting, the Bombers hope to be doing the horizontal polka with Lee within the month.

According to Rotoworld.com, Lee’s agent told the New York Daily News on Monday that he doesn’t anticipate his client signing quickly. Of course, he said this without seeing how many zeros will be attached to the Yankees’ offer, so things could change quickly.

The Rangers still have a great shot to retain Lee, but as I’ve written several times before: they better pony up. That’s not to say that they have to match the Yankees’ asking price (they won’t, and neither will any other team), but they still have to make it worth Lee’s while to stay. He’s going to have another shot at a World Series title whether he stays with Texas or goes to New York, so money will certainly be a factor.

Of course, the one thing the Yankees don’t have is the quiet lifestyle that Lee enjoys. He’s a great guy from the small town of Benton, Arkansas, so the big city lights of the Big Apple won’t to appeal to him like they would another free agent (or so one would think). Still, the opportunity to win a championship and become a gazillionaire may win out in the end.

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