Cliff Lee Will Listen To Nationals’ Pitch

This winter's battle for Cliff Lee's services is widely viewed as a two-team race between the Yankees and Rangers, but those aren't the only clubs with a strong interest in the left-hander.'s Bill Ladson says the Nationals, who are hoping to land a front-line starting pitcher this offseason, will receive an audience with Lee.

Washington is a team Lee "has to learn more about," according to Ladson's source, so it's possible the Nationals could become a dark horse candidate to sign Lee after the 32-year-old hears what they have to say. Still, as Ladson notes, the Nats may be more inclined to trade for a starter rather than signing one of the top free agent arms. Here's what GM Mike Rizzo said in September when he discussed the team's desire for a top starter:

"We need a front-of-the-rotation guy to put everybody in their proper place in the rotation. That's the number one priority going into the offseason. We definitely have depth – prospect wise – to pull off a deal for a pitcher."

For a primer on the starting pitching available this winter besides Lee, check out our posts on the free agent market for righties and lefties, and the trade market for righties and lefties.