Originally, I thought it was a no-doubter: Cliff Lee would be a Yankee in 2011. He was so close at one point, and the Yankees were obviously able to show him the money. But when he didn't sign right away, I began to worry, yet I didn't want to accept it. Then I heard the Phillies were in the mix, and I knew it was over for my Yanks, but I just couldn't admit it. Tuesday morning when I heard the news of his signing I almost loss consciousness. My day was ruined, I was afraid my whole summer would be ruined because the Yankees would be screwed.

Many Yankees fans are going through the same thing I went through. There are many who are in a serious state of mental agitation, maybe some like me who were on the verge of suicide. Just kidding. Maybe it's really not THAT big of a deal.

It's obvious now, and I wish I realized it earlier: CLIFF LEE DID NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH NEW YORK OR THE YANKEES. It's as simple as that. He would have done anything possible to avoid New York. I don't want to hear any sob story about his son either: the extra millions would have provided fine care for his child. I think he was afraid to pitch for the Yankees in front of the Yankee Stadium-Yankee fan filled crowds. He liked Philadelphia, and he is going to have great success there. He obviously doesn't like New York, so why should I have wanted him? He wouldn't be successful if he wasn't happy. So whatever.

I just want other Yankees fans to get what I'm saying, especially because I was in the same boat. I was crushed when Lee didn't sign. But there's nothing we can do about it. The Yankees, and their fans, have got to move on. But the question is, what are the Yankees going to do?

For starters, I hope they rebuild the team of last season. Now that they don't have to shell out millions for Lee, they can disperse that money elsewhere on guys like Kerry Wood and Andy Pettitte.

I'm going to be honest here: 2011, as it appears right now, is going to be a tough year for the Yankees. The free agent market for pitching isn't so good now that Lee isn't available. The Yankees are going to have to trade. They desperately need pitching help, but if they appear desperate and make rash decisions, they will actually hurt themselves more. If the Yankees can just stay in the mix of things until the trade deadline in 2011, I think they will be okay. That's when they can make significant changes.

When trading, so many more players are available. One pitcher the Yankees might want to acquire is Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners haven't shown signs of interest in dealing Hernandez this offseason, so it will probably take a boatload of high-quality prospects to get them to change their minds. But at the trade deadline, once they see how they are performing that year, they may be willing to deal King Felix. But acquiring this Cy Young winner will take a LOT.

The fact that the Yankees have now signed catcher Russell Martin worries me. He and Jesus Montero will be the main guys competing for the starting catcher's job. I don't understand that: I thought they were just going to let Montero have the job and get his feet wet in the Bigs (it worked for Buster Posey). But now that Martin is in pinstripes, I worry that Montero won't be. If Montero proves himself in 2011, will the Yankees look to trade him for an ace-quality pitcher, like Felix Hernandez, and then just go with the veteran Martin behind the plate?

I want the pitcher, but I don't want to give up the potential superstar talent. If the Yankees aren't going to add a big-name starter this offseason, they probably won't be as successful in 2011. So is it really worth it to trade away a guy like Montero, who might be the next big thing, for a pitcher who might be able to bring the Yanks to the top?

I don't know...I just don't know. I don't want the Yankees to "settle" and sign a free agent pitcher who won't help much, just so they can say they did something. And I don't want them to lose a guy who might be the future of the franchise in a trade either. But I want to win. What's more important?

I may not sound like a Yankees fan when I say this, but I'd rather not win in 2011 if it means keeping prospects like Jesus Montero. And hey, if we keep Montero for 2011 and manage to win it all, that'd be the best of both worlds.

I don't know what Brian Cashman has planned, and I actually am happy about that. I knew about Cliff Lee, and that plan failed. I'm sure he has something planned, and I guess I'll find out sooner or later.

by Virginia Califano

pinstripepartisan@fanvsfan.com