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The Courtship Of Cliff Lee


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#1 Wingack


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Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:55 AM

A little news today, to start of this thread:

http://online.wsj.co...2947026052.html

The Yankees' courtship of free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee is under way. General manager Brian Cashman traveled to Arkansas to meet with Mr. Lee and his agent, Darek Braunecker, on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the talks. Mr. Lee, who lives in Benton, Ark., is widely considered the best free agent on the market. To the surprise of no one, he is the top offseason target of the Yankees, who almost surely can outbid any other team. Still, Wednesday's meeting was only preliminary. Mr. Lee isn't expected to sign with a team until December.



#2 SemperFidelisSox


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Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:03 AM

Lee's agent was the one who invited Cashman. Is this the first of many meetings with other general mangers in Arkansas, or is Lee only interested in negotiating with New York right now?

#3 Wingack


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 01:21 AM

http://rangersblog.d...r-to-cliff.html

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Yankees are offering free-agent Cliff Lee a deal in the $115 million-$120 million range for five years.

That would equate to $23 million or $24 million per season.

Cafardo reports that the Texas Rangers are determined to match whatever it gets up to. The Washington Nationals are another team aggressive in the hunt.

That offer could make the left-handed Lee, 32, the second- or third-highest paid player in the majors behind Alex Rodriguez, based upon last year's salaries.

CC Sabathia earns an average of $23 million per year after signing a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees before the 2009 season -- the largest contract ever given to a pitcher.


Some years and money finally. Yankees want this guy badly.

#4 rembrat


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:22 AM

There is no way that giving out the two largest pitching contracts ever could backfire. None.

#5 jon abbey


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:36 AM

Those who live in Lackey/Beckett houses should not throw stones. :)

#6 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:50 AM

Yeah, but you've got the Burnett addition to worry about too.

#7 jon abbey


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:11 AM

Obviously there's quite a bit of risk, but there's more risk for NY in not signing Lee in their current situation.

#8 Doctor G

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:21 AM

There is risk in paying Lee a higher AAV than CC who has an opt-out which he negotiated in his contract. I know he said he wouldn't exercise it. But will he change his mind if he significantly outperforms Lee next season. Lee did not have a CY Young caliber year last summer, CC did.

#9 jon abbey


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 10:28 AM

If CC is getting $23M per year and Lee is getting $24M per year, possibly NY would even preemptively offer to up CC to $24M per year for the last four years of his deal before his opt-out decision came up. But it's not going to be a huge difference, most likely.

#10 Ho Chi Minh

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:05 AM

Why is this line being overlooked?

"Cafardo reports that the Texas Rangers are determined to match whatever it gets up to"

Because it's bs?

#11 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:07 AM

Because no one really believes the Rangers have the capacity to match the Yankees dollar for dollar.

#12 BucketOBalls


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:37 AM

Lee's agent was the one who invited Cashman. Is this the first of many meetings with other general mangers in Arkansas, or is Lee only interested in negotiating with New York right now?


Makes sense to talk to the people who can offer you the most money first. Then the Yankee's can't get away with just beating what everyone else offers. (And his agent can act insulted if the Yankee's obviously low-ball to start).


Not to mention that the Rangers can't go handing out mega contracts right after getting out of financial problems. The only real question is how good Lee's agent is at negotiating.

#13 Sea Dog

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:04 PM

Heavy rumors in KC that if Lee goes to the Yankees, the next domino could be a trade for Greinke. But obviously, that's something to keep an eye on down the line, and I guess for now, too. Rangers might ultimately decide that two years of Greinke at $13.5 million per to be a better option.

#14 yecul


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:06 PM

Courtship of Lee? Thanks for the thread, I just remembered I have to send my hooker some flowers. You know, to court her. Otherwise I might not win her favors anymore.

You Yankee fans sure are funny.

#15 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:12 PM

If CC is getting $23M per year and Lee is getting $24M per year, possibly NY would even preemptively offer to up CC to $24M per year for the last four years of his deal before his opt-out decision came up. But it's not going to be a huge difference, most likely.


Why would CC accept that? He'd be best suited to opt out and have the Yankees up his salary to $25M-$30M. It worked for ARod, and he didn't even have any other suitors on the market.

#16 jon abbey


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:23 PM

Why would CC accept that? He'd be best suited to opt out and have the Yankees up his salary to $25M-$30M. It worked for ARod, and he didn't even have any other suitors on the market.


CC has already said he's not opting out, it would just be a nice thing for NY to do if indeed that was true.

#17 BucketOBalls


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:26 PM

Those who live in Lackey/Beckett houses should not throw stones. :)


Actually, this gives us a better idea of stupid when we see it.

#18 jon abbey


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:24 PM

Hehe, fair enough.

But is anyone seriously arguing that NY shouldn't be going all out to sign Lee? This has been their plan since at least last offseason, they passed on Lackey and Haren because they were pretty confident they could get Lee, just like they eventually decided not to trade for Santana because they thought they could get CC the following offseason. Of course any long (or short) pitching deal could backfire, but if someone genuinely thinks it's a mistake for NY to give him a huge deal, I'd like to hear what their alternate plan is.

#19 SemperFidelisSox


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:38 PM

At the time, I thought they should have made the Haren trade. Wasn't their unwillingness to give up Joba the main sticking point? Seems pretty silly now.

#20 crawjo

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:41 PM

Hehe, fair enough.

But is anyone seriously arguing that NY shouldn't be going all out to sign Lee? This has been their plan since at least last offseason, they passed on Lackey and Haren because they were pretty confident they could get Lee, just like they eventually decided not to trade for Santana because they thought they could get CC the following offseason. Of course any long (or short) pitching deal could backfire, but if someone genuinely thinks it's a mistake for NY to give him a huge deal, I'd like to hear what their alternate plan is.


I think it would be a mistake for just about any team other than the Yankees. Lee is already 32 years old and is not likely to improve (and is somewhat likely to decline) fairly early on in the contract. Given his age he's not as valuable as CC was when he was on the open market. But the good news for the Yankees of course is that they can stomach the lost money if Lee proves to be hurt or ineffective. However, for just about any other team (including the Rangers) I think signing Lee would be putting too many chips in one basket.

All things being equal (which they aren't in this case), I'd probably rather have Greinke given his advantages in age and salary. He could very well be comparable to Lee in performance over the next few years, and at a fraction of the cost (at least for the next couple of years). But Greinke's anxiety issues make him a bad fit for NY, so I agree that Lee is the best route for them to take. But like I said, I would urge any other team to stay away, given what the price will be in years and dollars. Too much risk.

#21 crawjo

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:42 PM

At the time, I thought they should have made the Haren trade. Wasn't their unwillingness to give up Joba the main sticking point? Seems pretty silly now.


Yeah, I agree with this. Getting Haren would not have precluded the Yankees from signing Lee, would it?

#22 kieckeredinthehead

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 04:57 PM

Because no one really believes the Rangers have the capacity to match the Yankees dollar for dollar.


They don't quite have to. New York state income tax is not insignificant, and if they want to live in the city, there's a substantial city income tax, as well. Texas has no state income tax. In real dollars, that means a $25m offer from NY is the equivalent to a $23m offer from Texas; or, if they plan on living in the city, it's equivalent to a $22m offer from Texas. Conversely, if Texas offered $25m, the Yankees would have to offer $27-28m, depending on their planned residence. Incidentally, income tax on the top bracket in NJ is about 8%, so if they plan on living across the river, it's about equivalent to living in NYC.

#23 crawjo

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:10 PM

Aside from beating the Yankees to their prized target, do people think this would be the best way for the Rangers to spend their money? It seems like it would hurt their payroll flexibility going forward and as I have argued above they run a real risk of overpaying for something they can get more cheaply in other ways. I mean, it's nice for a new ownership group to show its commitment to the on-field product, but more than $20 million per year for a 32-year-old pitcher?

#24 jon abbey


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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:13 PM

Yeah, I agree with this. Getting Haren would not have precluded the Yankees from signing Lee, would it?


Yes, assuming Pettitte comes back. CC/Burnett/Hughes are all locks, add Pettitte and there's only one spot left.

#25 crawjo

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 09:40 PM

Yes, assuming Pettitte comes back. CC/Burnett/Hughes are all locks, add Pettitte and there's only one spot left.


I wonder if in that situation they could have moved Burnett and eaten a large share of his contract. Not sure if anyone would take it, though.

#26 E5 Yaz


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Posted 23 November 2010 - 02:53 AM

n industry source said Monday the Yankees have offered Cliff Lee nearly $140 million over six years, but Lee continues to hold out for a seventh year.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=Ai23OcFB7sXIzcNeObuqsyoRvLYF?slug=ti-washburnhotstove112210

#27 Wingack


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Posted 23 November 2010 - 03:07 AM

If that is true, the Yankees are screwing around.

#28 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 23 November 2010 - 03:10 AM

If that is true, the Yankees are screwing around.

Amazing that $23 million a year for six years to a pitcher on the wrong side of 30 constitutes "screwing around" for the Yankees.

If this offer is true, Texas has no chance. Lee will hold out for his seventh year and probably get it, but no other team can match even that baseline offer.

#29 Ho Chi Minh

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:33 AM

Amazing that $23 million a year for six years to a pitcher on the wrong side of 30 constitutes "screwing around" for the Yankees.

If this offer is true, Texas has no chance. Lee will hold out for his seventh year and probably get it, but no other team can match even that baseline offer.


Cliff Lee isn't a power pitcher whose arm will fall off anytime soon nor is he fragile. He will probably do very well into his mid 30s. Similarly to Maddux and Glavine who remained very effective up until their 36 years of age. This could possibly mean that the Yankees will have 5 very effective years of Lee. Not bad for a 6 year contract and if it's 7 then so be it.

#30 Brianish

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 08:32 AM

Cliff Lee isn't a power pitcher whose arm will fall off anytime soon nor is he fragile. He will probably do very well into his mid 30s. Similarly to Maddux and Glavine who remained very effective up until their 36 years of age. This could possibly mean that the Yankees will have 5 very effective years of Lee. Not bad for a 6 year contract and if it's 7 then so be it.


Maddux and Glavine are Maddux and Glavine. On the whole, power pitchers age better, because they can afford to lose a few mph and make up the difference with control and smarts. Lee's got control and smarts now; if he starts losing velocity, he's got nowhere to go.

#31 rembrat


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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:39 AM

So just a few notches above the CC contract. That is fucking ridiculous.

#32 jon abbey


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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:55 AM

So just a few notches above the CC contract. That is fucking ridiculous.


Actually it looks like he wants the same as the CC deal (7/161), despite being four years older at the time of signing. That would quite probably be ugly at some point, but I think NY has no choice. I wonder what Texas' actual limit is, or is NY bidding against themselves a bit again?

#33 NHbeau


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 02:24 PM

Maddux and Glavine are Maddux and Glavine. On the whole, power pitchers age better, because they can afford to lose a few mph and make up the difference with control and smarts. Lee's got control and smarts now; if he starts losing velocity, he's got nowhere to go.



What are you trying to say with this? Maddux was never a power pitcher. Control and smarts were his weapons, not saying Lee is Maddux but he is the same type of pitcher. I don't agree that Lee is in that upper echelon of all time greats but he's shown zero signs of breaking down thus far and his mechanics look almost text book. Add in he's not a fat bastard, and hasn't been ridden like a government mule during his career and I don't see the issue. I wouldn't give him 7 years, but I am sure NY will. Your argument of power pitchers aging better is amusing. I'd love to see some data that proves it. Fact is good pitchers age well, be they Maddux or Pedro. The good ones adapt when they lose velocity, and the ones who never had much to begin with tend to stick around anyhow. See Moyer, Jaime.

#34 Brianish

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 02:43 PM

My point was Maddux and Glavine were Maddux and Glavine, far from the average pitcher, and thus strawmen with regards to the argument being posited.

Which is pretty much the point you just made. So thanks.

#35 SMU_Sox


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:05 PM

Maddux and Glavine are Maddux and Glavine. On the whole, power pitchers age better, because they can afford to lose a few mph and make up the difference with control and smarts. Lee's got control and smarts now; if he starts losing velocity, he's got nowhere to go.



My point was Maddux and Glavine were Maddux and Glavine, far from the average pitcher, and thus strawmen with regards to the argument being posited.

Which is pretty much the point you just made. So thanks.



I think you have this mixed up.
Your point is that power pitchers age better on the whole but there are some notable exceptions like Maddox and Glavine. Can you prove your claim? Or is this just based on the 20-30 pitchers you could think of off the top of your head? NHB might agree with you that Maddox and Glavine are both control pitchers who aged well but he does not agree with your overall point that power pitchers on the whole age better. His point was that good pitchers generally age well no matter what type of pitcher they are. It wasn't "pretty much" the point you just made even if he is agreeing with you about Glavine and Maddox. In fact he's arguing a different hypothesis.

Edited by johnlimberakis, 26 November 2010 - 05:07 PM.


#36 SumnerH


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:52 PM

I think you have this mixed up.
Your point is that power pitchers age better on the whole but there are some notable exceptions like Maddox and Glavine. Can you prove your claim? Or is this just based on the 20-30 pitchers you could think of off the top of your head?


See Bill James' 1982 Abstract, pp. 201-203 "Power pitchers vs Finesse Pitchers and aging". The 1987 Abstract and the New Historical Abstract (2001) had ongoing support for the original study. Keith Woolner used to have a good article online at http://www.stathead....lner/kratep.htm that further confirmed the findings in more recent years, but it's down at the moment (dunno if it'll be back or not).

It's a well-studied enough phenomenon that IIRC ZiPs and other projections factor it in to their aging models.

#37 SMU_Sox


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 06:33 PM

See Bill James' 1982 Abstract, pp. 201-203 "Power pitchers vs Finesse Pitchers and aging". The 1987 Abstract and the New Historical Abstract (2001) had ongoing support for the original study. Keith Woolner used to have a good article online at http://www.stathead....lner/kratep.htm that further confirmed the findings in more recent years, but it's down at the moment (dunno if it'll be back or not).

It's a well-studied enough phenomenon that IIRC ZiPs and other projections factor it in to their aging models.


Thanks for passing this along. I'll spend some time on it.

#38 NHbeau


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 09:41 PM

I think you have this mixed up.
Your point is that power pitchers age better on the whole but there are some notable exceptions like Maddox and Glavine. Can you prove your claim? Or is this just based on the 20-30 pitchers you could think of off the top of your head? NHB might agree with you that Maddox and Glavine are both control pitchers who aged well but he does not agree with your overall point that power pitchers on the whole age better. His point was that good pitchers generally age well no matter what type of pitcher they are. It wasn't "pretty much" the point you just made even if he is agreeing with you about Glavine and Maddox. In fact he's arguing a different hypothesis.


Very well stated, obviously better than I did.

#39 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 01 December 2010 - 08:07 PM

Looks like the Rangers have made the trek to Benton.

General manager Jon Daniels confirmed Wednesday that he, along with team president Nolan Ryan, visited Arkansas to discuss terms of a possible new contract with Lee. The 32-year-old left-handed free agent is a target of both the Rangers and New York Yankees. Daniels said nothing new really came of the meeting.



#40 Ho Chi Minh

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:25 PM

I'm a bit curious about these kinds of negotiations. It's often implied that dollars and years aren't discussed initially. So what the heck do they discuss? Lee knows what Texas has to offer his family. One would think it would be uncomfortable for the player and agent if contract numbers weren't mentioned.

Or perhaps they are offered but the meetings are so tight (agent/player + gm/prez) that nothing is leaked until word spreads to other F.O employees.

The Yankees stated that they haven't made an offer, and Lee's agent allegedly said he is not interested in hearing numbers until the winter meetings (which doesn't make sense).

They should make a documentary out of such negotiations staring Boras.

edit:spelling

Edited by Ho Chi Minh, 01 December 2010 - 10:27 PM.


#41 SoxSport

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 09:12 AM

If the Rangers really want Lee, they'll have to match the Yankees' offer--unless Lee has decided he wants to stay close to Arkansas. Then maybe he'll take a discount.He probably has all this sorted out, and maybe the Rangers know what they have to do. I can see Texas matching or exceeding NY's offer, if they think Lee is important enough for them.

Obviously, Lee is much more important to the Yankees, as is any major LHd starter in Yankee stadium. Their ticket to the World Series is three stud LHd starters. If they had three Sabathias, they would be hard to beat. Hard enough as it is.

Edited by SoxSport, 02 December 2010 - 09:14 AM.


#42 Plantiers Wart

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:00 AM

If the Rangers really want Lee, they'll have to match the Yankees' offer--unless Lee has decided he wants to stay close to Arkansas. Then maybe he'll take a discount.He probably has all this sorted out, and maybe the Rangers know what they have to do. I can see Texas matching or exceeding NY's offer, if they think Lee is important enough for them.

Obviously, Lee is much more important to the Yankees, as is any major LHd starter in Yankee stadium. Their ticket to the World Series is three stud LHd starters. If they had three Sabathias, they would be hard to beat. Hard enough as it is.


With the respective tax structures of the two states, does Texas really have to match or exceed the NY offer to keep Lee? From a take-home pay standpoint, they can offer him less, which would actually be more....Or is it driven by the agent and/or the union to get the biggest total contract value?

#43 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:09 AM

Or is it driven by the agent and/or the union to get the biggest total contract value?


This is going to be part of it. The union is pretty adamant about players taking the biggest contract in most cases. That said, if Texas can offer something comparable on paper, they can leverage that offer with the tax differences and might be able to snag Lee away from the Yankees.

#44 Shelterdog


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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:20 AM

With the respective tax structures of the two states, does Texas really have to match or exceed the NY offer to keep Lee? From a take-home pay standpoint, they can offer him less, which would actually be more....Or is it driven by the agent and/or the union to get the biggest total contract value?


I've repeatedly heard it said a few times that since athletes get paid a check for each game, they pay the state/city taxes of whichever state the games are played rather than pay taxes exclusively for their home state (e.g. a Red Sox player ends up paying Mass taxes on only 81 games and pays New York taxes on the 18 or 19 games they play the Yankees). Not sure if this is true though.

#45 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:38 AM

Even if that's true, having half of your 120 million taxed in Texas is a big deal. Never mind any playoff shares.

#46 Shelterdog


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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:44 AM

Even if that's true, having half of your 120 million taxed in Texas is a big deal. Never mind any playoff shares.


It is but the cost of living is an even bigger deal. A two million dollar house in Texas is a lot different from a two million dollar appartment in some midtown highrise.

#47 jschip1

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:07 PM

Do players take into account that they could be traded at virtually any time? Taking a smaller deal from Texas than NY because of taxes seems great at first, but what about when you are traded to some high tax state after a year or two? If it were me, the tax issue would be down the list of most important things few spots.

#48 genivive

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:45 PM

Do players take into account that they could be traded at virtually any time? Taking a smaller deal from Texas than NY because of taxes seems great at first, but what about when you are traded to some high tax state after a year or two? If it were me, the tax issue would be down the list of most important things few spots.

I don't think Lee is worried about being traded once he gets that pay off contract but consider how many players live in no state income tax states like Texas and Florida. There is a reason. BTW wasn't this an issue with LeBron James going to Fla?

#49 TheGazelle

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:51 PM

I've repeatedly heard it said a few times that since athletes get paid a check for each game, they pay the state/city taxes of whichever state the games are played rather than pay taxes exclusively for their home state (e.g. a Red Sox player ends up paying Mass taxes on only 81 games and pays New York taxes on the 18 or 19 games they play the Yankees). Not sure if this is true though.


Here's an article (the accuracy of which I cannot confirm, as most of the sourcing links are dead) that lays out how this works. From what I can tell, it looks like the traditional rule is that athletes file returns in their state of residency and the state where they play their home (not away) games. However, states have been changing their rules in order to get extra money, which now results in some athletes having to file returns in up to 38 (!) states. This is obviously a total disaster, and can lead to hilarious results when you get denied a residency credit discussed below. For example, Sammy Sosa was somehow forced to pay state income tax on more than 100% of his income after the Illinois Tax Board screwed him on a credit issue. Here are the quotes - if my analysis seems wrong, let me know.

Typically, a resident individual is subject to state income tax on his or her worldwide income; a nonresident individual is subject to state income tax on his or her income derived from or connected with sources within the taxing state. In addition, a resident taxpayer is generally allowed a resident tax credit, subject to certain limits, for taxes paid to the nonresident jurisdiction. If the taxpayer's resident state does not impose an income tax (e.g., Florida and Texas), no resident credit is available.

Historically, sports-team athletes would file income tax returns in two jurisdictions: (1) their resident state and (2) the state where home games were played. They did not file income tax returns in states where away games were played.


Although many states follow traditional rules, others have revised their laws, regulations, guidance and policy to tax athletes and entertainers under alternative methods. Such methods may be a trap and result in unanticipated tax liability and compliance.

Allocation methods: The two most common allocation methods for athletes of professional teams are the (1) "duty days" method and (2) "games played" method. The duty days method allocates income based on a ratio, the numerator of which is the number of duty days the taxpayer is present in the state and the denominator of which is the total number of duty days. "Duty days" are all days the athlete is required to perform services (i.e., from pre-season and training camp through postseason playoffs, including instructional leagues, promotions, appearances, etc.).

In comparison, the games played method allocates income based on a ratio of games played in the taxing state to total games played. Certainly, the athlete's taxation can differ significantly, depending on the state's method of taxation, as well as a particular athlete's residence, sport and location of activities.


http://goliath.ecnex...l-athletes.html

#50 Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 01:01 PM

It is but the cost of living is an even bigger deal. A two million dollar house in Texas is a lot different from a two million dollar appartment in some midtown highrise.

Contract comparable to CC's, young children involved, family is close with the Sabathia's: he's looking here.

Figure Lee's allotting $2M+/year for housing if he comes to the Bronx long term (CC paid $15M for his place, Damon was renting around the corner for $20K/month).