Phillies decline veteran Lee's club option

Lefty didn't pitch in 2015 due to torn common flexor tendon

Phillies decline veteran Lee's club option

PHILADELPHIA -- It is no surprise, but the Phillies have declined Cliff Lee's 2016 club option.

Lee will receive a $12.5 million buyout on Nov. 30, in place of the $27.5 million contract for next season. He made $25 million this season, though he didn't pitch an inning because he never recovered from a torn common flexor tendon in his left elbow.

Lee's career may be over.

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"He was all about winning," Philadelphia assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said in September. "He helped us make the World Series in '09 and the postseason in '11. He pitched very well in '12 and '13. It just didn't work out. I'm sure he would have preferred things would have worked out differently, because he is a great competitor."

Lee, 37, went 41-30 with a 2.89 ERA in 106 starts with the Phils from 2011-14. His ERA and 1.08 WHIP ranked fourth out of 90 qualified pitchers in that span. Lee's 6.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio easily ranked first. Clayton Kershaw's 4.74 placed second.

Lee went on the DL in May 2014 and returned to make three starts in July before getting hurt again. He rehabbed over the offseason, but the injury started to bother him again in March.

Lee visited Philadelphia a handful of times this year, essentially to meet with doctors to discuss his rehab, but his recovery never really went anywhere. Doctors recommended surgery, but he declined because he seemed uninterested in pitching past this contract anyway.

The Phillies will recoup some of the $25 million they paid Lee this season because they insured his contract. The amount is unclear.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.