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.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.