UPDATE: NBC 10 in Philadelphia provides the photo evidence that Cliff Lee has arrived. And boy, do his eyes look mighty tired. Must be from staring at multiple offers of $100-plus million over the past week. Poor guy.
9:13 PM: You probably thought we were done talking about Cliff Lee, huh? Nope, not yet.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Lee will be in Philadelphia for a physical tomorrow and his deal with the Phillies could be officially announced later in the day.
Just to bring you up to speed, Lee and the Phillies have reportedly agreed to terms on a five-year, $120 million contract. The deal includes a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016 which could bring the total value of the contract to $135 million over six years.
According to the Associated Press, Lee will make $11 million next season, $21.5 million in 2012 and $25 million from 2013-2015. There’s a $12.5 million buyout on his vesting option for 2016.
In order for the option to vest, Lee must either log 200 innings in 2015 or 400 total innings between 2014 and 2015. He also must not finish the 2015 season on the disabled list because of a left shoulder or elbow injury.
And so, while Lee turned down more guaranteed money from the Rangers and Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that the southpaw’s $24 million annual average value (AAV) will be the highest ever for a pitcher on a multi-year contract.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.