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

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during a spring training baseball workout, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

As Cliff Lee looks to continue his pitching career in 2016, the former American League Cy Young winner needs to find a team willing to take a chance on him.  

Continue for updates. 

Lee's Agent Comments on Pitcher's Future

Tuesday, Feb. 23

“We don’t anticipate him playing at this point," Darek Braunecker, Lee's agent, told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Teams Reluctant to Sign Lee

Sunday, Feb. 7

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, multiple teams have explored the idea of signing Lee as recently as this past week, but "are unsure about devoting $6 million to $8 million, plus incentives" to a 37-year-old who has thrown 81.1 innings since 2014. 

Injuries Have Likely Ended Lee's Career

In 2013, per the Associated Press (via NJ.com), Lee said he planned to retire when his contract with the Philadelphia Phillies expired:  “I am getting up there in age. I’m 35 years old. When this contract’s over, I plan on going home. I’m running out of opportunities but all I can control is what I can control. I’m going to do everything I can to help us win. That’s all I know to do.”

While no athlete should be held to what they say in the heat of the moment, Lee's decision could easily be made for him. Injuries have hampered him for two seasons, with his last appearance in an MLB game coming on July 31, 2014 against Washington. 

In the nearly 19 months since Lee's last game, he dealt with a flexor pronator strain to end 2014 and told the Associated Press (per ESPN.com) last year when his left elbow flared up again that surgery would "possibly" end his career.

Lee wasn't pitching poorly in 2014, posting a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 81.1 innings, but his inability to get healthy in the time since originally going on the disabled list essentially means he's not worthy of getting a one-year deal worth millions of dollars. 

If Lee were to accept something like a minor league deal heavy on incentives with an invite to spring training, he may have more luck finding a place to pitch. 

Based on Cafardo's report, it doesn't sound like that kind of contract is something Lee's camp wants right now.