The Chicago Cubs would love to add starting pitcher Cliff Lee this off-season, when he becomes a free agent, five days after the World Series concludes. However, as much as the Chicago Cubs would like to add Cliff Lee, it just isn’t a realistic scenario for the Chicago Cubs. Despite a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, suggesting that the Chicago Cubs could join the Rangers and Yankees as the top bidders for Cliff Lee this winter.
Sherman speculates that since new Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has had a year to watch the Chicago Cubs from a baseball standpoint, he may be ready to make a splash and use his money to try and sign Cliff Lee. According to Sherman, Lee is the perfect addition for the Chicago Cubs, considering he embodies Postseason Success.
One thing Sherman failed to realize, is that Tom Ricketts has already admitted that the Major League payroll will be decreasing next season. So, I fail to see how the Chicago Cubs would be able to fit Cliff Lee into their budget for next year. It is widely believed that Cliff Lee could get a 6 year/$150MM deal from either the Yankees or the Rangers. That right there eliminates any chance that the Chicago Cubs have of signing Lee.
However, if Tom Ricketts did have his sights on Cliff Lee, there is a way the Chicago Cubs would be able to afford him. Such a scenario would be where the Chicago Cubs are able to clear salary by trading away some costly veterans. Specifically, the Chicago Cubs would have to trade Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome, and possibly Aramis Ramirez as well to be able to afford Cliff Lee. But even that scenario is nearly impossible, considering that the Chicago Cubs would be forced to absorb a good majority of each of those contracts, if they were to trade any of them.
So, Cubs Fans, enjoy watching Cliff Lee with the Texas Rangers during the postseason. Because, come next year the only time you will see him is on sportscenter, or with the Yankees when they come to Wrigley Field next year. This is not a video game, and it is just not a realistic idea that the Chicago Cubs would be able to sign Cliff Lee this winter.