Cliff Lee’s agent leaves meetings; sweepstakes continue

The possibility of Cliff Lee finding a new home at the Winter Meetings, which seemed remote all week, is just about dead now.

Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, has reportedly left the Winter Meetings in Orlando, a sign that negotiations for the pitcher haven’t developed enough to get a deal done before the meetings end tomorrow.

So the bidding for the Rangers left-hander, who won the 2009 AL Cy Young, will continue later into the winter, with a number of teams still involved for his services. And the fact that Lee hasn’t landed with either the Yankees or the Rangers has to be something of a good sign for the Nationals, at least at the moment.

The next question will be whether the rest of the pitching market waits for Lee or proceeds independently of him. The Nationals are one of a handful of teams searching for pitching, with Lee clearly at the top of their list. It would seem unlikely they’d move on to other options until they know where they stand with the 31-year-old.

And the other options don’t seem to be in any hurry, either; Tom O’Connell, the agent for Twins pitcher Carl Pavano, said yesterday the right-hander is still in the process of evaluating his options.