SI.com: Peña pens, clubs throw millions at Lee as free-agent race takes shape
December 8th, 2010
01:13 PM ET

SI.com: Peña pens, clubs throw millions at Lee as free-agent race takes shape

With the Yankees retaining their set of free-agent icons, our attention now shifts to rest of the offseason market and where others players seeking new deals might land.

Just yesterday, All-Star first baseman Carlos Peña agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman. Peña joins Jayson Werth (Nationals), Adam Dunn (White Sox), Victor Martinez (Tigers) and others as free-agent sluggers with new homes.

Although the left-handed Peña hit a career-low .196 with Tampa Bay last season, the Cubs are still attracted to his 28 home runs and first-class defense after trading Derek Lee to the Atlanta Braves last season.

But the biggest star to watch this winter - yes, more than Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera - is Cy Young winner Cliff Lee (above). In his latest update, Heyman reports that a handful of teams are lining up to sign the top-of-the-rotation ace and that two teams have offered him seven-year contracts worth more than $20 million annually.

It's a steep price to pay but one that many baseball clubs are willing to shell out. Currently, there are 22 $100 million-men in baseball, and that number is sure to rise with free agents like Lee and Carl Crawford yet to find new clubs.

The Yankees and the Rangers, Lee's most recent team, are the two favorites to land the starting pitcher, but other teams are expected to join the bidding, says Heyman. With Werth's $126 million deal setting the tone this offseason, Lee's contract could be astronomical and close to the amount of money Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is currently reeling in (10 years, $275 million).

In other free-agent races, Heyman writes, the Angels have their sights set on Crawford, the speedy Tampa Bay outfielder, but will have to fend off the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers.

Follow the latest from Heyman and the winter meetings on SI.com. You can also jump over to SI.com to follow all of baseball's offseason action.

Here is the best of tonight's action (all times Eastern):

Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics (7:00 p.m., ESPN): The Celtics go for eight in a row when they host the Nuggets tonight, but Denver has extra incentive as well, as head coach George Karl is on the cusp of his 1,000th career victory.

No. 23 Notre Dame at No. 17 Kentucky (9:30 p.m., ESPN): The Wildcats have lost two of three and look to rebound against an undefeated Fighting Irish squad in the SEC/Big East Invitational basketball tournament.

BY THE NUMBERS

10: Wins in a row for the Dallas Mavericks after registering a 105-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The Mavs have a chance to extend their streak, having just begun a six-game homestand.

297: Consecutive starts for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, the NFL's all-time longest streak, but one that could come to an end Sunday. Favre, 41, will try to practice Thursday, but a severe shoulder injury could keep him out of this weekend's game against the Giants.

6: Seasons Dave Wannstedt coached Pittsburgh's football team before resigning Tuesday. Pitt was favored to win the Big East this season but instead finished just 7-5 under the former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins head coach.

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Filed under: Baseball • Basketball • Brett Favre • Pro football • Sports
soundoff (One Response)
  1. bizprof

    It is almost guaranteed that the teams are overpaying for talent. When they sign a player after a career year, they player is almost certainly going to underperform. It is called, "regression to the mean." Every player has his average long term performance and if a player is above it-then he is likely to be below it soon.

    December 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |