Report: Cliff Lee ‘in Play’ in Trade Talks, Rangers Considered Front-Runners

Report: Cliff Lee 'in Play' in Trade Talks, Rangers Considered Front-RunnersCole Hamels was the most talked about Phillies pitcher for most of the season. Now that he's definitely part of Philadelphia's long-term plans, however, the focus has apparently shifted to Cliff Lee.

Lee is "in play" in trade talks as of Monday afternoon, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney tweeted that the Rangers are the most logical landing spot, and the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports that Texas is the front-runner to land Lee.

According to Sherman, an executive said he expects the Phillies to deal Lee by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline or in the offseason because they need youth back while saving some money.

Lee is in the midst of a five-year, $120 million contract that he signed in December 2010. The 33-year-old lefty is slated to make $25 million a year for the next three seasons. His contract also includes a club option for 2016.

Lee has taken a step backward this season, going just 1-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 17 starts. He's fallen victim to low run support all year, but the one win is staggering. He's still considered by many to be an elite pitcher, though, and therefore would require a team to part with some solid prospects.

According to Olney, third-base prospect Mike Olt could be the centerpiece of a deal with the Rangers.

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