The Cliff Lee impact

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
12:45
PM ET
Here is a point I have thought about since last year, but was reminded by one of my tweeps, @Desroches23, on Twitter:

If Cliff Lee had signed with the Yankees, then the Yankees would let CC Sabathia walk..
Well, I won't go that far, but I will say this. If Lee had signed with the Yankees, then I think there is a real good chance that the Yankees would be playing harder ball with Sabathia right now.

At this point, no one knows what exactly the Yankees have offered Sabathia, but if it is just five years they are not giving him what he likely wants.

Sabathia can reason that he must opt-out because it is business. If he wants to justify it, he can try to imagine if Lee had come to New York.

Yes, the Yankees would still want to keep Sabathia, but would they likely being playing harder ball with him. I think they probably would have.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .286
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 61
OPSB. Gardner .780
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135