|Thursday, February 6
Updated: March 13, 11:56 AM ET
Former No. 2 pick Lee agrees one-year deal
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Free agent first baseman Travis Lee agreed Thursday to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The former Olympian, the second pick in the 1996 amateur draft, spent the last 2½ seasons with Philadelphia, then became a free agent when the Phillies failed to offer a 2003 contract by the Dec. 20 deadline. Philadelphia earlier signed Jim Thome to an $85 million, six-year deal.
Lee, one of four Arizona Diamondbacks sent to Philadelphia for Curt Schilling in 2000, hit .265 with 13 homers and 70 RBI last year. His contract with the Devil Rays includes a mutual option for 2004.
The 27-year-old first baseman originally was drafted by Minnesota, but became a free agent on a technicality -- the Twins failed to offer a contract within 15 days.
In October 1996, Lee agreed to a $10 million, four-year contract with the Diamondbacks, and he hit .269 with 22 homers and 72 RBI as a rookie in 1998. Two other top 1996 draft picks who became free agents on technicalities -- pitchers Matt White ($10.2 million) and Bobby Seay ($3 million) -- signed with the Devil Rays and remain in the Tampa Bay organization.
In five major league seasons, Lee has a .255 career batting average with 73 homers and 336 RBI.
Tampa Bay also agreed Thursday to one-year contracts with right-handers Gerardo Garcia, Seth McClung and Matt White, and shortstop Hector Luna.