Winter Meetings 2010: Indians Not Lee's Mystery Suitor

ORLANDO, FL—Darek Braunecker, Cliff Lee's agent, called a press conference this morning in the lobby of Walt Disney's Swan and Dolphin Resort to reveal more information about the top free agent pitcher's mystery suitors. The pursuit of Lee by his most ardent admirers, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, has been confused by Branuecker's earlier announcement that up to two unnamed teams were prepared to offer Lee massive, 7-year deals—a contract length that neither the Rangers or Yankees wanted to proffer. 

"With all of the excitement about Cliff over the last few days, and with the Brewers yesterday revealing that they were not a mystery team, I wanted to offer a few more clues as to who the mystery team is, so that, you know, this could be more fun and stuff. I'm going to read from a list here—if you hear your team's name on this list, then you are NOT the mystery team. Got that? There are NOT the mystery teams:

  • The Texas Rangers (They are an UNMYSTERIOUS team involved in negotiations for Cliff Lee's services)
  • The New York Yankees (They are the other UNMYSTERIOUS team involved in negotiations for Cliff Lee's services)
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates (Cliff hates Pittsburgh)
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins (Cliff hates penguins)
  • WPVI Philadelphia's Channel Six News Action Team (Cliff has an eventual interest in broadcasting but not at this point or in that format)
  • TEAMS, or The East African Marine System, a fiber optic cable system initiative (I asked Cliff about this and he thought it was interesting but, ultimately, he decided he wanted to continue living in the United States)
  • A Team of Horses (Horses do not have enough money to sign Cliff Lee)
  • The New Orleans Hornets (Cliff is concerned about their financial solvency)
  • The Foot Locker Customer Service Team in the Westfield Mall in Orland Park, IL (At this point, Cliff Lee wants to continue his career as a major league baseball player)
  • The Cleveland Indians
Again, you heard your name read aloud, you are NOT the mystery team. Otherwise, you could still be the mystery team." 

After reading the list, Mr. Braunecker asked if there were any questions. Immediately, Chris Antonetti, General Manager of the Cleveland Indians, asked, "Are you sure the Indians are not the mystery team?" 

Mr. Braunecker responded, "Yes, I'm positive," shaking his head vigorously.

A confused Antonetti protested, stating that the Indians had a "successful meeting with Lee", until Braunecker, still shaking his head vigorously, clarified that Antonetti's meeting with Lee was "purely social" and "was not meant to communicate any interest in the Cleveland Indians." Further, Braunecker said, there were plenty of reasons Cliff Lee did not want to sign with the Cleveland Indians but Braunecker did not share them publicly, "so as not to embarrass the franchise, city, or front office publicly."

Antonetti made a few more sounds of protest until an agitated Charlie Manuel told the young Indians GM to, "pipe down" because he was "ruining the carnival for e'rrybody else!"

With the crestfallen Antonetti now silent, Braunecker concluded his press conference by revealing that he had received two phone calls from previously uninvolved teams, whom Braunecker referred to as the "murder mystery teams."

"These teams are not willing to make a 7-year commitment to Cliff, but they are willing to take the life of another human being as part of a compensation package. I doubt this will interest Cliff much, as he's a benevolent athletic genius, but I wanted to let everyone know that these 'murder mystery teams' had gotten involved so that all interested parties realized how serious the market for Mr. Lee's services are." 

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