He just finished a third consecutive dominant season and is on his way to a second consecutive standout postseason. Cliff Lee is going to be a well-paid pitcher next season and for many years to come. In fact, Jon Heyman of SI.com hears word around the game that the lefty will look to match the $161MM deal C.C. Sabathia signed two offseasons ago.
Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, didn’t discuss his client’s demands in detail, but he did acknowledge that continued postseason dominance could play in his client’s favor.
"There's certainly been a history of guys enhancing their value based on how they performed in the postseason,'' Braunecker said. "Every team is trying to add players who are battle-tested and have the ability to perform on the big stage.''
Could a big October help Lee match his former teammate, Sabathia? "Why not?'' one executive told Heyman. "He's as good as Sabathia.'' He’s also four years older than Sabathia was when he signed his deal, though his agent will surely point to Lee’s improved performance and physical condition.
As Heyman points out, the Yankees are the early favorites to sign Lee and the Rangers, Tigers, Nationals, Mets and Brewers are other possibilities. If a team other than the Rangers signs Lee, he will cost a top draft pick, since the Rangers are sure to offer arbitration. After posting a 3.18 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 0.8 BB/9, Lee is a Type A free agent.
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