Cliff Lee has done alright for himself this season.
The left-handed ace starter of the Texas Rangers hits free agency this winter, with rumors already swirling that the New York Yankees are preparing a mega-offer for him. He will have the attention, if not the courtship, of virtually every big-league team.
Lee's 2010 stats look impressive enough entirely out of context: 12-9, 3.18 ERA, 212.1 innings and a staggering 10.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Consider, though, that Lee did all this despite missing the first month of the season. In fact, though he finished just 10th in the American League in innings pitched, he was easily first in innings per start.
Lee's command and aggressiveness make him extraordinarily efficient, and his playoff performances so far (3-0, 24 innings, 34 strikeouts and just one walk through Monday) prove he has the entire package. Any of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball would get much better by signing Lee.
This is not utopia, though, and many teams simply have no chance. Who's out of the running? Who might sneak in as a dark horse? Could the Yankees really land another top free agent? Read on.