No deal at the Winter Meetings: Cliff Lee’s agent has left the building

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Darek Braunecker represents Cliff Lee. He’s been very busy during these Winter Meetings. No, not busy negotiating a contract, but busy telling various reporters about all the offers he’s fielding.  Really, there some reporters who won’t be able to order a drink down in the lobby tonight because they don’t know how to talk without Braunecker making their mouths move.

But that’s over now, because the buzz around here is that Braunecker has left the Dolphin Resort.  Which means that there is likely no chance of Lee signing between now and the end of the meetings tomorrow.

I’ve never negotiated anything bigger than a moderately-sized lawsuit settlement — and I tended to lose those negotiations — but I don’t get why this is so damn complicated. There are a finite number of teams in the bidding. There are no guys above Lee who need to set the market first. Everyone has cell phones. If Sotheby’s can auction off 15 Picassos in an afternoon, you’d think Braunecker could auction off Lee here.

Guess not.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.