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Cliff Lee: Nationals, Rizzo Meet With Lee's Agent

Long rumored as a dark horse in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, the Washington Nationals have finally engaged in face-to-face talks with Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker.

The Nationals have already made one big splash this winter in free agency, signing outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, 126 million dollar contract. Mike Rizzo has been trying to prove to the Washington faithful that the Nationals are serious about winning, and signing Werth while trying to lure Lee to Washington is doing just that – even if the length of the Werth deal is ill-advised for the longterm.

The Nationals in 2012 if they do somehow sign Lee would have one of the more formidable 1-2 punches if Stephen Strasburg recovers from Tommy-John surgery as expected.

Lee told former teammates over the weekend that if Texas offered him a guaranteed sixth year that Lee would re-sign with Texas. It’s expected that Lee will get a six-year deal from somebody – likely the Rangers or New York Yankees, though clearly dark horse teams like the Nationals can’t be ruled out.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.