Cliff Lee Contract Offer From Rangers May Include Seventh Year Option

The Cliff Lee negotiations are thought to be winding down, as the Yankees have made Lee a seven-year offer, while on Thursday the Rangers made Lee a "menu" of offers. The decision now rests in Lee's hands, as it's believed that both New York and Texas have gone as high as they're willing to go.

That the Yankees went to seven years - at a high price - seems to put them well in the lead. And indeed, that's the consensus opinion around baseball. However, in a report from Jon Heyman, word's out that one of the Rangers' offers to Lee could be a guaranteed six-year contract with a seventh-year option, which would at least put them in the same neighborhood as New York. While the Yankees have offered Lee one more guaranteed year with more guaranteed money, the difference between the two is not so great that it's impossible to see Lee returning to Texas.

As has been the case all along, the Rangers hope that their proximity to Lee's home in Arkansas could sway him towards accepting a lower offer. Such a decision would historically be rare for a free agent, but everybody is different, and we don't have any insight into Lee's thought processes.

Interestingly, towards the end of his article Heyman notes that a third team is believed to be in the mix, and it might be the Angels, who missed out on top priority Carl Crawford earlier in the week. The third team, though, isn't thought to be a strong contender.

It's unclear who the Yankees' Plan B would be in the event that Lee signs with Texas.

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