Three Bounce-Back Pitchers the Yankees Should Target For 2016
3. Cliff Lee, 37
May 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee delivers a pitch against Toronto Blue Jay at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Klentak’s first order of business as general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies was to cut ties with veteran southpaw Cliff Lee by declining his $27.5 million team option and paying the fallen ace $12.5 million just to buy him out of the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’
Unfortunately Cliff Lee missed the entire 2015 season with a torn flexor muscle after suffering an elbow strain in his pitching arm. Though the injury appeared to be career threatening at one point, the 37-year old veteran has been cleared by his doctors to resume throwing.
Now prior to getting injured, he posted a 3.65 ERA and 2.96 FIP over 81.1 innings for the Phillies in 2014. If he can comeback and post similar numbers, he would be an instant upgrade over three-fifths of the Yankees starting rotation.
Keep in mind the Yankees had a deal in place to acquire Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners back in 2010 before the deal fell through and he was dealt to the Texas Rangers. He also snubbed the Yankees in free-agency later on that year when he left their money on the table to return back to Philadelphia and rejoin the Phillies, so maybe the third time is the charm.
If the Yankees were to pursue Cliff Lee, Cashman would be wise to sign him to a minor league deal with major league incentives. However, the question is whether or not Cliff Lee, given his major league resume, would hold out for a major league deal instead of deciding to sign a minor league deal.
Either way, he would look damn good in pinstripes.