Mystery MLB Team Will Offer Cliff Lee a Seven Year Deal

James Stewart-MeudtCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

While the baseball world is transfixed on free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, everyone has an opinion on where he'll sign.

Most people say the New York Yankees because they can offer the most money. Others say he might stay in Arlington with the Texas Rangers. Maybe the Angels or Red Sox will get it on the fun. Will the Washington Nationals sneak their foot in the door?

No one knows for sure, but everyone has an idea.

Cliff Lee is by far the most sought after free agent on the market and at a time when starting pitching is at a premium, no player's services are more coveted.

Last season, Lee, 32, went 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.

Widely considered the most dominant postseason pitcher of the era, Lee is a career 7-2 with three complete games and a 2.13 ERA in 10 postseason starts.

While most Yankee fans are waiting for Cliff Lee jerseys to go on sale, there is a mystery team at the Winter Meetings, reportedly with a seven-year deal waiting for Lee.

The Yankees have already said they don't want to go past six years with Lee, which would keep the lefty under contract through age 38.

Let's face it, Lee has his choice of teams; any team that can offer him the kind of money he's looking for has a chance.

But does the opportunity to play for a team that is always in contention matter most?

The Yankees are only considered the front-runner for Lee because not only can they offer the most money, but they're always built for October, and if Lee wants to solidify his position as a great postseason pitcher, that's where he belongs.

But Lee has also made it clear that duration means just as much, if not more, than dollars.

So if this mystery team will guarantee Lee seven years, while the Yankees are only willing to give him six, will Lee choose the years?

General consensus says that Lee is going to command a contract of around six years at $23 million per.

But if he'll go for a seven year deal for less money per season, the Yankees might find themselves scrambling for another pitcher.

So who is this mystery team? No one has been able to confirm exactly which team it is, but there is definitely a team. John Heyman of has said there is a team with a seven-year deal for Lee, and it is not the Washington Nationals.

If it's not the Nationals, and it's definitely not the Yankees, my money is on the Angels.

The Angels were supposed to be big players this offseason, but haven't made a move yet. Jayson Werth was a potential target, but he's gone to the Nationals. They have interest in third baseman Adrian Beltre, but his price tag might scare some teams off and he may have to wait until January for an offer.

Carl Crawford is still available, and he's an excellent fit for the Angels.

Of course, there haven't been any confirmed offers yet for Cliff Lee and he and his agent, Darek Braunecker, may be taking their time to feel out what teams are going to be offering.

But if there is a seven-year offer on the table from this mystery team, Lee might take the deal fast and end all the speculation.

Like Braunecker said on the first day of the Winter Meetings, "It's good to be Cliff Lee."