Cliff Lee was reportedly considering a comeback earlier this winter, but as his agent Darek Braunecker now tells FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), “We don’t anticipate him playing at this point.”
Lee last pitched on July 31, 2014 and has since been sidelined due to elbow problems and then a partially torn flexor tendon in his throwing shoulder. After receiving a clean bill of health in December, however, Lee was looking to return to the mound and drew interest from at least 15 teams. There were some caveats to Lee’s comeback attempt, however, as Braunecker said in January that his client would require “a perfect fit” to return. Lee was looking for a one-year Major League deal with a contender reportedly in the range of $6MM-$8MM in base salary, plus incentives. The left-hander also didn’t reach the point of throwing for teams or holding a showcase, so clubs had several questions about the health of Lee’s shoulder, or when in the season he’d be able to pitch.
At age 37 and already 18 months removed from his last game, it’s hard to see Lee mounting another comeback attempt next offseason. If this is indeed the end of Lee’s 13-year Major League career, he’ll go down as one of the best left-handed starters of his era. Lee’s impressive resume includes the 2008 AL Cy Young Award, four All-Star appearances, stints on two pennant winners (the 2009 Phillies and the 2010 Rangers) and a 2.93 ERA over his last 1415 innings. He also banked over $143.3MM over his career, most of it earned from the five-year, $120MM contract he signed with Philadelphia in the 2010-11 offseason.