“Dude, I got no idea,” Brian Cashman said that morning. “In terms of when are they going to make a decision, when they do, the whole world will know.”
The whole world knew much later that night — just a few minutes before midnight, actually — when news began to break that Lee was on the verge of a deal with the Phillies. The Yankees and Rangers had been heavy favorites, but Lee’s affection for Philadelphia was a game-changer.
“Plan B is patience,” Cashman said the next day. “The one thing The Boss has taught me personally is the fact that you have to get in the arena and fight. Sometimes you win the fight and sometimes you lose the fight… We’re not down and out at all.”
In the end, Cashman was right. The Yankees settled for a series of smaller names and smaller contracts to fill their rotation, and that decision — in some ways — led to the emergence of Ivan Nova and the discovery of Freddy Garcia. Losing out on Lee was a blow, and certainly the Yankees would feel better about their rotation going forward if they had him under contract, but the Phillies got no closer to the World Series than the Yankees did.
One year ago, December 13 was certainly not a good day for the Yankees, but it wasn’t the crushing blow many expected at the time.
Associated Press photo