Just 24 hours ago, the Yankees made their first official offer to free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, a six-year deal worth about $140 million.

The Yankees have now come back the next day with a seven-year offer for Lee, according to Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.

This offer is coming about 12 hours after the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year deal worth $142 million.

Many felt the Yankees would try to sign Crawford and Lee this winter, or try to sign Crawford if the Yankees lost out on Crawford.

With Boston locking up the Yankees’ “Plan B,” the Yankees’ “Plan A” becomes more like the only plan they have.

Last week, Sports Illustrated and WFAN’s Jon Heyman had said the Yankees wouldn’t go for a seventh year and would stick to six years.

For Lee’s old team, the Texas Rangers, they wanted to stick to a five-year deal worth about $125 million, but president Nolan Ryan was considering offering Lee a sixth season.

The fact that Texas was willing to offer a sixth year, plus Boston signing Crawford, may have been enough for the Yankees to throw in the seventh year in the deal for Lee.

You can also throw in the fact that Andy Pettitte has been leaning towards retirement this offseason, which may make the Yankees more desperate for Lee’s services now than ever before.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, representatives from the Rangers are flying down to Arkansas today to meet with Lee and his agent Darek Braunecker.

One can only wonder what will take place at that meeting with Lee, Braunecker and the Rangers, as this is a developing story in progress.

Personally, I never thought the Yankees would stick to just six years because of the now desperate need for Lee.

If Pettitte does in fact retire, that leaves a huge gap in the pitching staff, especially with how inconsistent A.J. Burnett has been over the last two seasons.

Plus now, as of last night, the Red Sox are looking to be a strong favorite in the A.L. East with Crawford and now Adrian Gonzalez in the lineup with the likes of Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

The only thing the Yankees can do to counter such an act would be to get Lee for whatever dollar amount or contract year it takes.

The Yankees offering Lee seven years shows that they don’t have any other backup plans if they lose out on Lee, because he is the only pitcher on the market that they want, so now it becomes desperation time for them to get Lee.

The Yankees are hoping to have a deal done by the end of the week, and with a seven-year offer now on the table for Lee, it might get harder for him to say no to the Yankees.

From the beginning, I have predicted Lee to go to the Yankees all along since this past July, and I still feel when this is all set and done, he will be wearing pinstripes in 2011.

Stay tuned.

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