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As Lee remains mum, speculation involves Phillies

- Associated Press - Monday, December 13, 2010

NEW YORK | While the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers waited for Cliff Lee to make a decision, speculation started that the Phillies might attempt to sign the pitcher who helped Philadelphia reach the 2009 World Series.

Lee received what appeared to be final offers from the Yankees last Wednesday and Rangers one day later, but he hasn't let either of those teams know whether he intends to accept one of those proposals.

While New York has offered Lee a seven-year contract, a person familiar with the Phillies deliberations said Philadelphia would not offer a deal that long and was unlikely to give even a six-year contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Phillies have not publicly discussed their interest in Lee.

Philadelphia dealt Lee to Seattle as part of a four-team, nine-player swap after the 2009 season while simultaneously acquiring Roy Halladay from Toronto and signing him to a new contract that added $60 million over three seasons. If the Phillies did sign Lee, he would join Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels to form what would be considered the top rotation in the major leagues. The Phillies would be in position to trade Joe Blanton.

Lee had a good time during his stay with the Phillies, who acquired him from Cleveland in July 2009.

"At first, I didn't believe it. I thought we were working out an extension with the Phillies," Lee said the day after the trade. "I thought I'd be spending the rest of my career there. ... I was under the impression they wanted to keep me there for a long time. In my mind, it was going to happen."

The Los Angeles Angels, who failed in their attempt to sign outfielder Carl Crawford, haven't said whether they are in or out in the bidding for Lee, spokesman Tim Mead said Monday.

Lee also helped the Rangers reach the World Series for the first time this year after he was obtained from the Mariners in July.

"I'd want Cliff to come back for sure. That's a decision that he's going to have to make, and I'm sure whatever decision he makes is going to be the right one," catcher Matt Treanor said Monday after agreeing to an $850,000, one-year contract with the Rangers. "I'm excited to see what happens, as well."

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AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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