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The Nationals Aren't Really Going After Cliff Lee, Are They?

Remember a couple years ago, when the Nationals made noise about making a big offer to free-agent Mark Texeira? Remember how that, y'know, ended up being a lot of hot air? If so, then your inner skeptic will probably bristle at this report from MASN's Ben Goessling about the team targeting Cliff Lee this summer.

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But could the Nationals actually make a run at him?

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Industry sources believe they have a chance. Several baseball officials believe the 32-year-old left-hander is the team's big target this winter, and expect they could make the kind of blockbuster offer to Lee to get the job done. 

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But later, there's the requisite "question" that Goessling asks, which is whether the team is "comfortable tying up a large chunk of their payroll to get Lee." There are a number of cheaper options thrown out as possibilities if the Nationals don't want to pony up the cash.

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Meanwhile, the team is still skittish on re-signing Adam Dunn and has been championing (unofficially) Carlos Pena because of his "defense." I'm not saying the Nationals are being insincere. Maybe they really want Lee and will pay anything for him. If so, good for them.

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But in light of all the Adam Dunn stuff and the Stephen Strasburg injury, I worry this Lee situation is merely a public relations ploy to make it seem to fans like they're willing to spend when they might not be.