For the Phillies, it is the best Christmas present ever.
Clifton Phifer Lee reportedly is back.
The free-agent lefthander, who helped the Phillies reach the World Series in 2009, reached a preliminary agreement on a contract with the Phillies, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press on Monday night.
The deal is worth $100 million over 5 years with a vesting option for a sixth year that would make the deal worth $120 million, according to MLB.com.
Two separate sources told the AP that the New York Yankees and Rangers - who were both intensely courting Lee - received calls Monday night telling them they were out of the running.
Rangers general manager Josh Daniels confirmed that Lee called him Monday night.
"Cliff called me," Daniels told MLB.com. "He was very classy. He was very appreciative of the time he was here and how he was treated. He and his family enjoyed his time here. He also enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and liked some of the things that opportunity had to offer."
Lee originally joined the Phillies when he was acquired in a 2009 trade-deadline deal from the Indians along with outfielder Ben Francisco for minor league pitchers Jason Knapp and Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.
In 12 regular-season starts with the Phillies he was 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA. In the postseason, he was 4-0 in five starts with a 1.56 ERA.
The Phillies traded Lee to Seattle last December on the same day they acquired Roy Halladay from Toronto. The Rangers acquired Lee from the Mariners on July 9 and were trying to re-sign him.
The 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner will join a Phillies staff that includes National League Cy Young Award winner Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
According to reports, the Rangers were willing to give Lee a 6-year deal worth $120 million, while the Yankees were dangling a 7-year, $150 million deal. Lee, an Arkansas native, chose the Phillies instead.
The Associated Press reported that Lee's deal with the Phillies is subject to his passing a physical. The AP, citing a person familiar with the Phillies deliberations, reported they have been considering trading pitcher Joe Blanton and/or outfielder Raul Ibanez to clear payroll space.
This year, Lee was 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA. He was 8-3 with the Mariners, before joining the Rangers, where he was 4-6.
Once again, he shone in the postseason, going 3-0 with a .075 ERA in the American League playoffs and lifted the Rangers to their first World Series appearance.