What's next for Yanks in light of Lee's rejection?


What's next for Yanks in light of Lee's rejection?

By Art Martone

Cliff Lee's completely unexpected decision to leave money on the table -- from both New York and Texas -- and join the Phillies leaves the Yankees in the unfamiliar position of bridesmaid.

And where they go from here is anybody's guess.

Not since Greg Maddux in the 1992-93 offseason have the Yanks lost out on their prime free-agent target, and now the question is: What's Plan B? Carl Crawford was a potential option, but he, of course, is gone. There's been talk of them trading for the Royals' Zack Greinke; however, in the trade market the Yankees lose the overwhelming edge -- their checkbook -- they have in the free-agent part of talent acquisition. They'd have to satisfy Kansas City with minor-league prospects, and there's no guarantee the Royals won't receive a better offer elsewhere.

(Plus, there's also the not-so-inconsequential matter of Greinke's social anxiety disorder, which may make him unwillingnot suited to play in New York. That unwillingness cost them Lee's services, apparently; sources indicate the left-hander preferred not to deal with the white-hot Yankee spotlight. "He didn't want to pitch in New York," one Yankee official told the New York Daily News.)

But first the Yanks will have to recover from the psychic blow of being rejected, something they're not used to. In fact, their bedrock belief -- that anyone who's anyone should lust to be a Yankee -- was articulated by owner Hank Steinbrenner last week to the Associated Press:

"For somebody of that stature, it would certainly behoove him to be a Yankee."

How much blame will fall on the head of general manager Brian Cashman is anyone's guess. But, in discussing the Yankees' situation last week, he doesn't sound like he's inclined to make desperate, reactionary moves to make up for the loss of Lee.

"We have a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in CC Sabathia, an 18-game winner in Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett will rebound," Cashman said. "We also have some of the best young pitchers in baseball and a top 10 minor-league system. We got a really good team and will make it better regardless of what transpires.

"I am not panicked by it."

But how about everybody else in New York?

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.


A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

This isn’t your average young and hungry player on the brink of the big leagues.

Yoan Moncada, the ex-Red Sox prospect who was one of the principal pieces in the trade for Chris Sale, ate 85 Twinkies in a week, his agent told ESPN The Magazine

David Hastings, Moncada's agent, clarified to CSNNE that this was a one-time thing when Moncada first arrived in the U.S. Moncada had never had Twinkies before, Hastings said, so he was like "a kid in a candy store."

He's still in great shape. Moncada had a huge spring training with the White Sox after a disappointing major-league debut with Boston in September. 

The 21-year-old third baseman has been optioned out of big-league camp, so he’s slated to start the year in Triple-A. But he hit .317 with a .391 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage and 3 home runs in 41 at-bats — some of the best numbers anywhere.

Moncada took a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox, money that the Sox turned into Sale. Moncada, meanwhile, didn’t exactly invest every cent.

Twinkies weren’t his only indulgence. 

More from the story: 

Moncada had money to spend on drones, video games, toys and clothes. He sometimes spent $1,500 or more during nights out, David says. After he purchased the second $200,000 car, Josefa [Hastings, David’s wife] tried to talk some sense into him.

David Hastings reinforced to CSNNE that the message to Moncada was to invest in things that appreciate in value.