Driven by championship, Lee seeks 'right fit'

January 3rd, 2016

Cliff Lee wants to pitch in 2016, but only if he finds a "perfect fit," his agent, Darek Braunecker, said Sunday on MLB Network Radio.

"From a competitive standpoint, from a financial standpoint, from just an overall opportunistic standpoint, it's going to have to be the right fit for him to pursue it, for him to kind of leave home and leave his two relatively young children," Braunecker said. "The last year, he's kind of accustomed himself to being a full-time dad and kind of leaving baseball behind.

"But I think there's still that fire that burns within Cliff -- particularly to win a championship. It's the one thing that's missing from his resume at this point."

Lee, 37, has been haunted by elbow and forearm injuries that limited him to just 13 starts in 2014 and sidelined him for all of '15. He received medical clearance to resume throwing in December, and Braunecker said Lee has begun the same full offseason throwing program that he always has before the start of the season.

"Early on, it appears he'll be a fully healthy commodity moving forward," Braunecker said.

Braunecker had not decided whether Lee would put on a full workout in front of multiple teams, a showcase of sorts, to prove he is healthy, or work out for teams on a case-by-case basis. Braunecker described the amount of interest in Lee as "enormous," although as Lee's agent, Braunecker's comments must be taken with a grain of salt.

Still, Lee is a 13-year MLB veteran and a former Cy Young Award winner with a career 3.52 ERA who could be considered a low-risk, high-reward free agent for teams searching for another starter. When Lee was last healthy in 2013, he was an All-Star for the Phillies, posting a 2.87 ERA in 31 starts to finish sixth in the voting for the National League Cy Young Award.

But don't expect Lee to sign somewhere soon, either. Braunecker said he expects Lee to work "deep into the offseason" for two reasons: to be sure there are no setbacks and Lee is fully healthy, and to have a better gauge on the market for Lee to determine where his best fit could be.

"We're not in any real hurry on this," Braunecker said. "There's plenty of interest, there's plenty of opportunity out there."