Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg irked the Yankees for a second time, and New York president Randy Levine quickly raised the volume in a war of words between the franchises.
Less than three months after Greenberg called Yankees fans “awful” and an “embarrassment” during the ALCS, Greenberg implied that the Rangers prevented the Yankees from signing prized free agent Cliff Lee, who spurned both teams and went to the Phillies.
“I think if we wouldn’t have gone to Arkansas (to visit Lee) that last time, I think he was going to sign with the Yankees,” Greenberg was quoted at a fan festival in Arlington, Texas. “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.
“While we would have preferred that he would have chosen to go with us, we’re real pleased that he’s going to the other league.”
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Levine, in a published report, responded, “If (Greenberg) really wants to impress us then he can get the Rangers off of welfare and show how they can be revenue-sharing payors, rather than recipients for three years in row, without financing from Major League Baseball. That would really be something . . .
“I think Chuck is delusional. He’s been in the game a few minutes but it seems to be that he thinks he knows what everybody else is thinking. He should really let Cliff Lee speak for himself.”
The Tampa Bay Rays signed veteran free-agent first baseman Casey Kotchman to a minor league contract. Kotchman played last year for the Seattle Mariners, hitting .217 with nine homers and 51 RBI. Under pressure because of a lawsuit from the trustee trying to reclaim money for the victims of the Bernard Madoff swindle, the New York Mets’ owners said they are exploring a partial sale of the team that would raise several hundred million dollars.