Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg could not convince Cliff Lee to re-sign with his team, but he thinks the organization ultimately kept the lefty ace from signing with the Yankees.
Greenberg, who slammed Yankees fans during the World Series, said at a Fan Fest event over the weekend that the Rangers’ final meeting put Lee’s decision on hold and gave the Phillies a chance to make a move on the former Cy Young winner.
"We had three different meetings with Cliff and his wife and his agent in Little Rock," Greenberg said, in comments reported by Philly.com Wednesday.
"Even though Philadelphia was probably not in, they were always in the back of our mind. I think if we wouldn’t have gone to Arkansas that last time, I think he was going to sign with the Yankees. We pried the door open a little bit to give ourselves another opportunity. And ultimately the Phillies were able to take advantage of that opportunity that we created."
Throughout the free-agency process, the Yankees were considered the favorite to sign Lee with the Rangers a close second. The Yankees had offered the most money, but the Rangers were hoping the Arkansas native’s experience leading Texas to the World Series, after being acquired in July, would be the deciding factor.
Lee decided on a different reunion, noting the enjoyable experience he had with the Phillies when he pitched them to the 2009 World Series, which they lost to the Yankees. Lee took considerably less money to sign with the Phillies instead of the Yankees.
This is not the first time Greenberg has tried to tweak the Yankees. Following the ALCS, in which Texas defeated the Yankees in six games, Greenberg called Yankee fans "an embarrassment."
“They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good. So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason," he said in October.