EDISON - - A year after being traded away by the Phillies, Cliff Lee is headed back to Philadelphia.
A person familiar with the deal tells the Associated Press the free-agent pitcher has reached a preliminary agreement on a $100 million, five-year contract with the Phillies. The agreement is subject to the 32-year-old left-hander passing a physical.
Lee passed up an extra $50 million from the New York Yankees, who, along with the Texas Rangers, had been considered the front-runners for his services.
"It's refreshing to see somebody turn down the money and went somewhere he was happy to be, instead of just going for a big pay day," said Phillies fan and Middlesex resident Jim Morgan.
After helping the defending champion Phillies reach the 2009 World Series, Lee was sent to the Seattle Mariners in a four-team, nine-player trade last Dec. 16 that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. The Mariners later shipped him to Texas, where he helped pitch the Rangers to their first World Series.
The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner joins two-time Cy Young winner Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the Phillies' rotation.
AP wire services contributed to this report.