Cliff Lee's agent: we didn't force a trade

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Early yesterday
it was reported that Cliff Lee was demanding $23 million a year. A few
hours later, Philly fans’ hopes of a 1-2 punch of Halladay and Lee were
shattered, Lee was on his way west, and Mariners fans were jumping for
absolute joy.  The conventional wisdom that has emerged: Lee’s
extension demands were way more than the Phillies wanted to pay him,
and rather than rent an increasingly brooding Cliff Lee for 2009, they
flipped him for prospects to cover for those that were sent north to
Toronto, turning what would have been an audacious move into a merely
good, albeit decidedly lateral move.

Not so, says Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker:

At no point did we make any sort of financial demands. The negotiations were in the very preliminary stages. As
recently as [Monday], both sides would have characterized the
discussions as encouraging. Unfortunately, something transpired that we
had no control over that dictated this move . . . Since the end of the postseason, his intent was to remain there beyond
next season. That’s been the goal. Unfortunately, some circumstances
transpired that we couldn’t control.”

Braunecker
says that they didn’t get very far down the road with Philly, so that
the reports that have Lee’s demands forcing the trade are inaccurate.

But “something transpired that we had no control over that dictated this
move”?  “[S]ome circumstances transpired that we couldn’t control”? 
All that sounds rather funny, doesn’t it?  It’s the sort of detached
language one uses to try and distance oneself from trouble without
putting too fine a point on specific blame.

Like, say, describing someone getting up and storming away from the
negotiating table without admitting that they got up because you were
being crazy with your demands.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.