Here it comes.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, free agent left-hander Cliff Lee will decide on a club by the end of this weekend.
Lee has a formal offer in hand from the Yankees that is thought to be worth around $140 million over six years. He will probably get a matching offer or something better within the next 24 hours from the Rangers and maybe something similar from a few other teams.
But, by this weekend, he is going to have a decision. The biggest free agent on this winter’s market will be wrapped up with a bow before December 13.
Lee, 32, registered a stellar 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts in 2010 with 185 strikeouts against 18 walks. We’ve heard rumors about him disliking the Texas heat and there was that thing about Yankees fans spitting on his wife. But he’s going to chase the money. That’s what free agents do.
So, who’s ready to pay up?
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.