Phillies exercise Lee's option for 2010; extension talks next?

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In perhaps the biggest no-brainer decision of the offseason, the Phillies have exercised their $9 million option on Cliff Lee for 2010.
While speculation about Roy Halladay dominated the headlines leading up to the July 31 trading deadline the Phillies sent prospects Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Jason Donald, and Lou Marson to the Indians for Lee and watched as he went 11-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 starts between the regular season and playoffs following the deal.
Prior to the trade Lee had a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts for the Indians and was the reigning AL Cy Young winner after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 2008, so there should be little doubt that the 31-year-old left-hander is among the truly elite starting pitchers in all of baseball.
Expect the Phillies to pursue long-term contract talks this offseason and expect Lee to begin negotiations with a proposal well north of $100 million.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.