On Tuesday afternoon the Phillies announced that they would not be picking up the option of injured left hander Cliff Lee. Instead of exercising Cliff Lee’s $27.5 million dollar option for 2016, the Phillies decided instead to buyout his contract for a hefty sum of $12.5 million.
This comes as no surprise, as the Phillies had already made their intentions known prior to the end of the season. Lee will now be paid almost half of what his 2016 salary would be to either pitch for another team, or perhaps not even pitch at all.
The Phillies declined Cliff Lee’s $27.5M option. He will officially become a free agent after missing all of 2015. pic.twitter.com/EdCMlpuA5d
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) November 3, 2015
Now that Cliff Lee is officially on the free agent market, the question arises: should the Padres entertain the idea of Cliff Lee as a member of the San Diego Padres? Lee has only pitched in thirteen games since the start of the 2014 season, missing all of 2015 due to an injury to his pitching arm. Lee elected to rehab his arm through non-surgical means instead of electing for surgery to repair the damage.
Many have speculated that Lee would retire rather than attempt another comeback in 2016, although the option is obviously still there for him. It is currently unknown how far along Lee is in his rehab, as he never went on an actual rehab assignment for the Phillies during the 2015 season.
It remains to be seen if Lee is even healthy enough to pitch next season, but, if he is, the Padres may want to consider signing him on a cheap deal such as the ones given to both Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow in recent years.
Lee was an all-star in his last full season in 2013 and he also won the 2008 Cy Young award. Lee has a career ERA of 3.52 with a record of 143-91. If Lee can prove he is healthy this offseason, and decides he wants to attempt to pitch again the Major Leagues, the Padres could be a good fit for the veteran left hander. The Padres are in need of more pitching depth in 2016, and Lee would be a good left-handed option that the Padres did not have in the starting rotation in 2015. Lee is certainly an intriguing free agent this offseason, and the Padres should do their due diligence on the southpaw.