Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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Cliff Lee did not pitch in 2015 as he dealt with a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. Rather than undergo surgery, the veteran lefty opted for rest and rehab, and in something of a surprising twist, it might have actually worked: the reports are that Lee is medically cleared to pitch, so he's going to give it another shot. He's also free from his contract with the Phillies, as they paid him a $12.5 million buyout rather than pick up his $27.5 million option for 2016, so he might even get to pitch for someone who will win some games.
That's all hypothetical, of course. Johan Santana has continually been medically cleared to pitch, and he's managed to take the mound in one regular season since 2010 ended -- and that was back in 2012. Santana's problems are more shoulder-related, but he still stands as a reminder that this doesn't mean the 37-year-old, non-surgically repaired Lee is guaranteed to successfully return just because he wants to try.
But hey, it's early December. Let's not be so pessimistic. Someone with the depth to give a shot to Lee absolutely should do so, because if he does manage to stick, he should be a quality pitcher still. From 2008 through 2013, Lee had a 140 ERA+ and averaged 220 innings per year. In his injury-shortened 2014, he still managed a 103 ERA+ with six times as many strikeouts as walks. He might not be the Cliff Lee of old anymore, but he's also a less expensive risk than, oh, say, throwing $100 million at Jeff Samardzija, so there will be teams willing to give him a go.
- The Diamondbacks unveiled eight new uniforms on Thursday night and they are almost all ruined by gradients on the hats and shoulders and pant legs. What is wrong with you, Arizona?
- Kenta Maeda finally got his wish, and he'll be posted by the Hiroshima Carp. He'll likely cost the maximum $20 million posting fee, but it's unclear just what he'll actually sign for after that.
- Ben Zobrist could literally help every team in baseball, so let's predict where he'll sign and for how much.
- Nori Aoki signed with the Seattle Mariners because he knows where the good coffee is at.
- The last team that started as well as the NBA's Golden State Warriors was a baseball team from 1884. That team's success caused their league to fold, so y'all better hope the Warriors lose a game at some point.
- The Orioles are spending money, but they aren't addressing their biggest needs.
- The Angels are in a position to sign one of the major free agent outfielders. That's certainly one way for new GM Billy Eppler to make the team his own.
- Pirates' GM Neal Huntington took responsibility for Pedro Alvarez's career, saying he should not have been promoted the big leagues as early as he was.
- Jeff Sullivan wrote about just one more thing that Zack Greinke is good at.