Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Nats at it again; preparing mega-deal for Cliff Lee

By Chris Ruddick

Lake Buena Vista, FL - If you thought the Washington Nationals were done after the Jayson Werth deal, you were sadly mistaken. The buzz here in Lake Buena Vista as Day 2 of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings gets underway is that the Nationals are getting ready to offer Cliff Lee a monster deal.

There were reports late last night that stated that not only was Lee interested in a seven-year deal, but there was apparently a team out there willing to give it to him. New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman quickly said he would not go seven years for Lee, so who is the team?

Well apparently it's the Nats. They had to overpay Werth for him to go there, now they are willing to do the same for Lee. Word is they are kicking the tires on a seven-year deal that could be worth up to $175 million.

Werth was a nice piece, but if the Nationals can add Lee they are legitimate.

Would Lee go there? Why not? Money talks and he would be insane to turn that down. The Yankees won't go that high and Texas won't match that. Honestly it would probably be $30-40 million more than any offer he would have received.

How would the fans in Philadelphia like having to face Lee five times a year, while watching Werth patrol right field at Nationals Park?

Obviously there are still a lot of holes on a Nationals team that lost 93 games last season and has averaged nearly 100 losses over the past three years. But Werth and Lee are a good start, especially if they can add another arm ... cough Carl Pavano cough. Not to mention Ryan Zimmerman is already there and the team does expects Stephen Strasburg to pitch for them at some point next season.

I didn't like the Werth deal because I thought the money would have been better served being spread around. Well I guess I was wrong because even if they don't land Lee, they are not done spending and it's apparent the Nats still have plenty of money to burn.

The Nats aren't just sending a message to the National League here at the Meetings, they are putting the entire league on notice that they are coming.


There is also another former Cy Young Award winner available and you can probably get him pretty cheap. Right-hander Brandon Webb is still searching for a team after missing most of the last two seasons recovering from shoulder surgery.

Webb made only one start in 2009, the season-opener, before struggling with right shoulder problems and eventually having surgery. Prior to the shoulder injury he had been extremely durable, as he made at least 30 starts in five consecutive seasons, including 2006, when he won the National League Cy Young Award.

There are as many as 10 teams that are in on Webb, including, of course the Nationals. The Rangers also stepped up their pursuit of him late Monday.


Surprisingly there does not seem to be much going on with Carl Crawford. Perhaps the amount of money Werth got over the weekend forced not only him, but the teams involved to reassess that situation.

Boston and the LA Angels are still the frontrunners. I wouldn't count out the Yankees, though, especially if they lose out on Lee.


Colorado Rockies skipper Jim Tracy collapsed late Monday night and was taken to the hospital. Good news, though, as doctors have apparently ruled out anything serious, but he is still in the hospital undergoing tests.

Hopefully it was just a case of exhaustion following a busy day for him.

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