Cliff Lee: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent P

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Monday, July 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

Cliff Lee missed the entire 2015 season because of an injury, but the veteran starting pitcher is reportedly in line to make his return to Major League Baseball in 2016.

Continue for updates.

Lee Reportedly Looking for Short-Term Deal

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Lee is looking for a one-year contract and that his "main goal [is] to win." However, Heyman speculated that "since [his] upside [is] great, he probably gets more than you'd think."

Multiple Teams Inquiring About Lee

Monday, Dec. 7

Up to 15 teams have interest in Lee, according to Heyman

Report: Lee Receives Medical Clearance, Plans to Pitch

Thursday, Dec. 3

While Lee is getting up there in age at 37 and coming off a major injury, Heyman reported he has been medically cleared and will pitch in 2016, provided a team signs him in free agency.

Elbow Injury Derailed Lee's Stellar Career 

A flexor-tendon tear in his left elbow kept Lee on the disabled list throughout the 2015 season, and it limited him to just 13 starts in 2014 as well.

After it was determined that he would not pitch in 2015, he admitted it was possible he would never pitch again, according to Meghan Montemurro of USA Today.

"So basically if I have the surgery this season will be done, possibly my career I guess," Lee said. "I don't know."

Despite that fear, Lee is on the precipice of a return, although it is anyone's guess if he will be able to get back to the form that allowed him to make the All-Star team four times and win the American League Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians in 2008.

Lee's last full season came in 2013 with the Philadelphia Phillies, and he was excellent, as he went 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 222.2 innings.

The southpaw has also enjoyed stints with the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, and his career numbers of 143-91 with a 3.52 ERA suggest he was among the league's top hurlers in his prime.

While Lee may no longer be in his prime, his track record could be enticing to teams, especially the fact that he is 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA in his postseason career and twice made it to the World Series.

That success on the big stage coupled with the fact that he figures to come at a discounted price because of his injury issues will make him a highly intriguing commodity on the open market.

It is entirely possible that Lee will fail to overcome his elbow issues in 2016 once again, but knowing what he has accomplished over the course of his career, he is certainly worth a flier, especially for a team that believes it can contend for a championship.

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