Cliff Lee Not Very Close To Signing Contract; Angels Check In

The sweepstakes for free agent Cliff Lee continue to develop. The ace lefty reportedly has two seven-year contract offers out there from a pair of unknown teams, and on top of that, the Yankees are preparing to make an initial offer of their own.

The action has built, and with so many teams apparently paying attention, Jerry Crasnick quotes one source as saying it's doubtful that Lee signs a contract before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday. There had been some thought that Lee could end up agreeing to a deal this week, but unless the Rangers or Yankees come in with an offer that absolutely blows everyone away, we can expect the negotiations to continue for a good while yet.

One new team to the circus is the Angels, who checked in with Lee and agent Darek Braunecker on Tuesday and who will remain in touch. The Angels have now been linked to Lee, Adrian Beltre, Carl Crawford, and Rafael Soriano - four of the best free agents on the market. They're going to spend big money; the only question is who gets it.

And one team who may be out of it is the Nationals. Jon Heyman wrote rather matter-of-factly that the Nationals "are not in on Cliff Lee," and that's a pretty strong statement.

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