Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee


In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Cliff Lee would need a “perfect fit” to pitch in 2016

Cliff Lee Getty
Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

The agent for free agent left-hander Cliff Lee, Darek Braunecker, appeared on MLB Network Radio on Sunday and said that the veteran would need a “perfect fit” to come back and pitch in 2016. Some highlights of Braunecker’s radio spot:

  • Lee is “taking it day-by-day”
  • Lee informed Braunecker that he was going to attempt to make a comeback in 2016
  • It’s going to have to be a “perfect fit” for Cliff and his wife Kristen “from a competitive standpoint, from a financial standpoint, from just an overall opportunistic standpoint”
  • Lee has accustomed himself to being a full-time dad and leaving baseball behind, but Braunecker thinks there’s still “that fire that burns” within Lee — in particular, to win a championship
  • There has been “an enormous amount of interest in the last month”
  • Braunecker has informed teams that they will work “a little bit deeper” into the offseason to make sure that there aren’t any setbacks
  • Lee is working out and has begun his full offseason throwing program
  • Braunecker and Lee are not certain if the lefty is going to do an actual workout or not; it might be a case-by-case basis
  • They intend to make a decision here in the next couple of weeks

Lee, 37, hasn’t pitched since the end of July 2014 due to a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. The Phillies declined his $27.5 million option for the 2016 season, instead buying out that final year for $12.5 million. Lee is certainly looking at just a one-year deal and it would likely be laden with incentives to protect teams in case he suffers another injury.

Report: Cliff Lee drawing interest from 15 teams

Cliff Lee Getty
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Cliff Lee missed the entire 2015 season due to a torn flexor tendon, but it was reported last week that he has been medically cleared and intends to make a comeback if the right opportunity comes along. Well, it sounds like the former Cy Young Award winner is going to have a lot of choices.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Lee is currently drawing interest from 15 teams. It’s hard to imagine that any team will give him guaranteed money at this point, but just about everybody should be in on him if all it takes is a spring training invite to find out what he has left in the tank.

Lee hasn’t appeared in a major league game since July 31, 2014 and turned 37 this past August.

Cliff Lee cleared medically, could pitch in 2016

cliff lee getty

Jon Heyman reports that Cliff Lee has received medical clearance and is currently throwing with no issues. He says that Lee will try to pitch in 2016 if he “finds the right fit.”

Lee missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a torn flexor tendon in his throwing elbow during spring training. He only pitched 13 games in 2014 and was last effective over the course of a whole season in 2013. He’s 37 now. And, after the Phillies understandably declined his 2016 option, is a free agent.

What the “right fit” would be for Lee is unknown, but given his recent track record and health, it had better be “a minor league deal with an invite to spring training” at best, or else he won’t be pitching in 2016.

Phillies pay $12.5 million buyout to Cliff Lee

cliff lee getty

Cliff Lee is officially a free agent, as the Phillies declined the former Cy Young winner’s $27.5 million option for 2016 and instead paid him a $12.5 million buyout.

Lee missed all of 2015 after suffering a torn flexor tendon in spring training and was also limited to just 13 starts in 2014. At age 37 it’s hard to imagine Lee securing a guaranteed multi-year contract on the open market, but contending teams might pursue him with incentive-laden one-year deals. However, because he opted not to undergo surgery Lee may simply retire.

Lee went 41-30 with a 2.89 ERA in 106 starts during his second go-around with the Phillies after signing a five-year, $120 million deal in December of 2010.