Phillies pay $12.5 million buyout to Cliff Lee

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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.