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Lee gets new Yanks' offer, meeting with Rangers

The New York Yankees went where they all along insisted they would not. And it was their rival who pushed them.

The New York Yankees went where they all along insisted they would not.

And it was their rival who pushed them.

Shortly after the Red Sox stunned baseball with their signing of outfielder Carl Crawford - for 7 years and $142 million - late Wednesday night, the Yankees raised their initial offer to lefthander Cliff Lee's agent, adding a seventh year, an industry source confirmed to Newsday yesterday.

General manager Brian Cashman wouldn't confirm or deny the Yankees sweetening their offer, which in total could be in excess of the 7-year, $161-million deal CC Sabathia received 2 years ago.

"I wouldn't say," Cashman said. first reported the new offer, which came after the Yankees offered 6 years for around $140 million Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers made what they called a "substantial" offer to Lee during a face-to-face meeting with him in the Arkansas office of his agent.

Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg said after the meeting that Lee was given a "menu of options" in an attempt to persuade him to stay with Texas.

"We made an offer with substantial additional commitments in years and dollars," Greenberg said. "It was a very constructive conversation."

Before yesterday, the Rangers had asked Lee to tell them what it would take to for him to stay in Texas.

Greenberg said the trip to Arkansas was prompted by Boston's agreement with Crawford, which changed market dynamics.

Lee helped lead Texas to its first World Series appearance after being obtained in a trade from Seattle.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan said the length of a 7-year deal could be a concern.

"We have to be concerned about that because 7 years for any contract is really stretching it out," Ryan said on "Mike and Mike in the Morning." "And I don't know how you predict how anyone is performing 6 or 7 years from now. Everything has a ceiling that they have to understand what it is. And it doesn't make economic sense after a certain threshold."


* The Baltimore Orioles acquired former All-Star shortstop J.J. Hardy from the Minnesota Twins.

The Orioles also got infielder Brendan Harris and $500,000 in the trade that sent minor league righthanders Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson to the AL Central champion Twins.

The 28-year-old Hardy hit .268 with six home runs and 38 RBI last season. He was an All-Star in 2007 with Milwaukee when he hit .277 with 26 homers and 80 RBI.

"We're looking for a little more offense to our regular shortstop position, and we're confident he can provide that," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

Cesar Izturis was Baltimore's starting shortstop last season. He hit .230 with one homer and 28 RBI and has since become a free agent.

* The New York Mets finalized a $2.5 million, 2-year contract with righthander D.J. Carrasco and a $1.3 million, 1-year deal with catcher Ronny Paulino.

The 33-year-old Carrasco went a combined 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 63 games last season for Pittsburgh and Arizona. He has a 23-17 major league record for six seasons that include stints with Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox.

Paulino will miss the first eight games while completing a 50-game suspension for a positive steroids test. The 29-year-old hit .259 with four homers and 37 RBI for Florida last season.

* Free-agent righthander Vicente Padilla finalized a $2 million, 1-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

General manager Ned Colletti said Padilla's flexibility and willingness to fill whatever role the team needs him in was an important part of sealing the deal.

Padilla had a 6-5 record with a 4.07 ERA in 16 starts during an injury-shortened 2010 season.

In another matter, the Los Angeles Times reported that former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey said he has put together an investment group interested in buying the team.

* The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired righthanded starter Cesar Valdez from the Arizona Diamondbacks as the player to be named in the Zach Duke trade.

The Pirates dealt the lefthanded Duke to Arizona on Nov. 24 after removing him from the 40-man roster and designating him for assignment. He later agreed to a $4.25 million, 1-year contract with Arizona.

* The Boston Red Sox have made an offer to free-agent Russell Martin, according to the catcher's agent, Matt Colleran.

* Catcher Miguel Olivo has reached preliminary agreement on a 1-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, reported. Last season, he hit .269 with 14 homers and 58 RBI for Colorado.