Free agent pitcher Cliff Lee would need a “perfect fit” in order to leave home and make a comeback, agent Darek Braunecker told MLB Network Radio (audio link). Braunecker also said that he isn’t certain whether Lee will do a full showcase workout for teams but whenever (or however) he does show his stuff, he’ll be 100% when that time comes.
Lee has drawn interest from at least half the league so far this season, according to Jon Heyman. The veteran was said to be seeking a one-year, major league deal, but now it appears that he’s at least considering sitting out the 2016 season entirely. If Lee does decide to pitch this year, the Marlins are one of the clubs known to have some level of interest.
Lee, 37, is looking to make his way back from a flexor tendon tear without surgery and while there’s no guarantee that he can get back to his old form, he offers unmatched upside among the free agent bounceback candidates. It’s far from clear, of course, whether teams are willing at present to commit big dollars to Lee. For what it’s worth, Heyman indicated earlier this offseason that Lee could command more than many would expect him to.
Though he only put up a 3.65 earned run average in his 81 1/3 innings in 2014, Lee carried a 6.00 K:BB rate and drew ratings from metrics that valued his effort in the 3.00 earned-per-nine range. Of course, Lee also showed much more prior to that season. He racked up over 220 frames per season over 2011 through 2013, working to a cumulative 2.80 ERA in that span while striking out a batter per inning and walking less than one-and-a-half per nine.