Cliff Lee has already generated a lot of buzz this winter, but according to ESPN's Buster Olney, the market for the star left-hander will "heat up" over the next week and Lee could be signed during the winter meetings. Darek Braunecker, Lee's agent, tells Olney that he and Lee are scheduled to meet with as many as three teams over the next week.
"We've got a fair number of teams trying to work through the process," Braunecker said. "It's probably fair to say we've got a half-dozen teams in the mix."
The Rangers and Yankees have already met with Lee, which is no surprise since they're the two biggest suitors for the free agent starter. The Nationals are also known to be interested, and other teams like the Angels, Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox have also at least checked in on Lee. Washington could make things interesting with a big offer, but it's a pretty safe bet that Lee will pitch in either New York or Texas next season. Though the Rangers have some extra revenue to work with, Olney points out that Lee alone could take up 20-30% of the Texas payroll next season. That's a major commitment for a team that isn't quite a big-market player and might also have to fit in a Josh Hamilton extension.