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Nationals contact Cliff Lee's agent and begin discussions

By Cindy Boren

Updated at 2:05 p.m.

The full text of Nats General Manager Mike Rizzo's comments, via MLB Trade Rumors:

"Well, Jim, I'd be a fool if I didn't like Cliff Lee or want Cliff Lee on our club. He's the prize pitching guy in this year's free-agent market. But again, I'm certainly not going to delude myself to the fact that we have a great chance of landing Cliff Lee. He's going to have enough takers and enough competition for us to pick and choose whatever ballclub he wants to go to. Suffice it to say that I love Cliff Lee, I'd love to have him on our club. He is a No. 1 starter in the major leagues.

"We have contacted his agent and begun discussions with him, but I'm certainly not going to put all my eggs in the Cliff Lee basket because I think the chances of Cliff wanting to come to the Washington Nationals at this time in our franchise is small."

Filed at 12:53 p.m.

The Yankees have some company, albeit it distant company, from the Nationals in the bidding for the services of free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee.

"We have contacted his agent and begun discussions with him," Nats General Manager Mike Rizzo said on the MLB Radio Network. "I'm certainly not going to put all my eggs in the Cliff Lee basket ... The chances of Cliff wanting to come to the Nats ... is small."

By Cindy Boren  | November 10, 2010; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  MLB, Nationals  
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You know, there's something kind of sweet about this. Sad, but sweet.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Bid up the prices for the Yankees' signings then wisely sign someone else.

Posted by: captclamdigger | November 10, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the Nationals got Mark Teixeira another $10-20M from the Yankeees. Why shouldn't Lee's agent want to talk to Washington?

Lee will dance with Washington long enough for New York to come up panting to cut in and finish the song with a $140M deal.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | November 10, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Force the Yankees to outspend their means just like the US Congress and watch te whole thing implode! Cliff Lee wanting to join the Nationals is about as funny as it gets - sort of a sick joke for us fans.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | November 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with NY paying Sabbathia mega dollars but when average players like AJ Burnett garner big dollars it just hurts everyone else in the sport in terms of competition as salaries for mediocrities rise everywhere.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | November 10, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

So at what point does Cliff Lee's agent stop laughing and politely say "No Thanks".

Posted by: generalike | November 10, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I see the Nats offering a three year deal for $50 or a four year deal for $65 mil. It will take at least $80 and four years to sign him. The Yanks will pay him $90.

Posted by: bsdman | November 10, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The more the Nats can haggle with Lee in order to drive the Yankee payroll higher, the more the Nats will get when the luxury tax money is split....this is the Lerners ploy all along as they know they have no chance to sign Lee, so why not fill there pockets a little more.

Posted by: cokedispatch | November 10, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

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