Bidding for Cliff Lee likely to start at $120 million

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More from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.

The Yankees and Rangers are locked in a battle for left-hander Cliff Lee, this offseason’s top free agent.  And it sounds like the Yanks may strike first with an offer.

Cafardo reports that Brian Cashman and Co. are preparing a proposal worth around $115 million-$120 million over five years.  The Rangers plan to match that and the numbers will go up from there.  Cafardo says that the Nationals are also in the hunt and have been “aggressive” thus far, but this feels like a two-team race.

Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts for the AL Champion Rangers this year, fanning 185 batters while walking only 18.  There was a report in mid-November that Lee dislikes the Texas heat.  And then there was that issue with Yankees fans harassing Lee’s wife during the ALCS.  Believe what you want, but we’re thinking he’s simply going to chase the most lucrative deal.

For reference, CC Sabathia landed a seven-year, $161 million deal from the Yanks two offseasons ago.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.