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Cliff Lee Is Dealing Right Now – But Will He Be Dealt?

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Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Cliff Lee is 83 - 35 with an under 3.00 ERA since the beginning of the 2008 season (.704).  In 2009 and 2010 Lee was a Trade Deadline acquisition that then proceeded to lead that new team to a World Series Birth.  Both teams ( PHI - 2009) and TEX (2010) lost those World Series.  Maybe a 3rd crack would see him net a title.  The 34 Year Old makes $25 MIL this year, plus $25 MIL for both of 2014 and 2015, he also has a Vesting Option for 2016 worth 2016 with $27.5 MIL - if he can pitch 200 IP in 2015 or a combined mark of 400 IP In 2014 and 2015.  The deal carries for a $12.5 MIL if he reaches these.  That means he could potentially make $62.5 MIL total for 2014 and 2015

Cliff Lee is 83 – 35 -with an under 3.00 ERA since the beginning of the 2008 season (.704). In 2009 and 2010,  Lee was a Trade Deadline acquisition – that then proceeded to lead that new team to a World Series Birth 2 years in a row. Both teams ( PHI – 2009) and TEX (2010) lost those World Series. Maybe a 3rd crack would see him net a title. The 34 Year Old makes $25 MIL this year, plus $25 MIL for both of 2014 and 2015, he also has a Vesting Option for 2016 worth 2016, worth $27.5 MIL – if he can pitch 200 IP in 2015 or a combined mark of 400 IP In 2014 and 2015. The deal carries for a $12.5 MIL Buyout if he reaches these. He could potentially make $62.5 MIL total for 2014 and 2015.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

I remember how I could hardly sleep on that Thirteenth night of December 2010. Rumors were abound that something secretive was simmering on the MLB Hot Stove involving Cliff Lee, but the teams involved weren’t 100% clear.

The Rangers, Yankees and Angels were all obvious suitors with suitcases stuffed with sawbucks, but a buzz was a-buzzing. You see, a mystery team was now in the hunt and with a belly full of butterflies, somehow I knew it was the Phillies as my head hit the pillow.

Cliff Lee was about to come home and for the first time since my early childhood, I awoke the next morning at 5:00 am without the help of an alarm to read the news. Cliffmas had, indeed, come early to Philadelphia.


Cliff Lee stunned the world with his return to Philadelphia for the 2011 year - after he was favored to end up in New York or Texas.  It was a deal that would cost the club 5 YRs/$124 MIL.

Cliff Lee stunned the world with his return to Philadelphia for the 2011 year – after he was favored to end up in New York or Texas. It was a deal that would cost the club 5 YRs/$124 MIL deal – or a minimum of $110 MIL over  4 years if he met his Vesting Option.  The Phils have regressed from appearing in the 2011 NLDS, to barely being .500 in 2012 – to now be 5 games under .500.  Does Amaro JR.  leave the team intact for a Phils yearly second half run – or will they deal him when his stock is high?

 

It’s hard to believe that here we are today in July 2013 reading, tweeting and talking about the Phillies possibly trading away the same guy who we’d have labeled forever as “untouchable”, even after a disappointing, hard-luck 2012 campaign.

No one–not even Ruben Amaro–would never trade away Cliff Lee twice, right? Don’t be so sure.

The Phillies GM is no stranger to trading away fan favorites as was the case last year when he sent Shane Victorino to Los Angeles and Hunter Pence to the Giants.

However, 2012 was a lost season for the Phillies well before the trading deadline, this time the writing may not be on the wall for Amaro to see until the 11th hour on July 31st.

Cliff Lee 2012 vs. 2013

Year W L ERA IP HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2012 6 9 3.16 211.0 26 28 207 1.114 8.8 1.1 1.2 8.8
2013 9 2 2.59 125.1 8 21 115 0.965 7.2 0.6 1.5 8.3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/3/2013.
Phillies GM, Ruben Amaro
Courtesy of ESPN.com

So, while Lee is putting together a rather impressive season on the hill, the Phillies are struggling to string together enough wins to keep them in legitimate contention in the National League East.

As I’ve said here before, they are still within a decent streak’s chance to remain relevant. With history on the Phillies’ side as being a strong second-half team over the last several seasons, Amaro finds himself lingering in that general manager’s grey area of whether to continue to fish for a playoff spot or cut bait.

Certainly time is a-wasting and any one of the contending teams would love to have a legitimate Cy Young contender like Lee with sound playoff credentials.

Cliff Lee: Career Playoffs

W L W-L% ERA GS GF CG SHO SV WHIP HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
7 3 .700 2.52 11 0 3 0 0 0.927 0.2 1.1 9.8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/3/2013.
Where will Lee be in 2013-14?

Sending Cliff Lee packing (again) would obviously be an attempt to shed most of his salary as he will earn $25 million per season through 2015 with a vesting option of $27.5 million in 2016, when he’ll be 37 years old.

If they were to pull the trigger on a deal, the Phillies would probably still be sending paychecks to Lee’s new address over the next few years as there are very few teams who can take on his entire salary.

Lee does have leverage as Amaro would need his consent to waive his no-trade clause which currently can block a deal between the Phillies and 20 different MLB teams.

Interesting to note that while Lee holds veto power to play for the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers, one team not listed in his no fly zone is the St. Louis Cardinals.

While starting pitching prospects would be the primary position at which Amaro would focus, the Cardinals do have one of the top future stars in Oscar Taveras, who could be a RF option in 2014 for the Phillies GM, who tends to shy away from the term “rebuilding”.

In my opinion, with Roy Halladay still a question mark for this season and possibly his career, Amaro may need to hold onto Cliff Lee in order to begin the 2014 season as part of a one-two punch along with Cole Hamels.

With the cupboard currently bare down on the farm and the uncertainty of Halladay’s future, any trade involving Lee would need to be for nothing less than two top pitching prospects in return.

With the exception of Philadelphia area native Jesse Biddle showing significant promise as a projected top-3 starter, there are very few pitchers worth a look to join the big club next season. Biddle’s time may not come until 2015.

Ultimately, it will be the players on the field who will determine the destiny of some of their high-priced veteran teammates. Players like Lee, Utley and Jimmy Rollins will see their names tossed around the rumor mill with only one way to stop it from turning: win.

Stay tuned for Friday: Trading Chase Utley

The “Big 3″ in the Phillies rotation was supposed to have rebounded from their poor 2012 collective effort (of course Hamels was good.  So far Halladay struggled before going out for the year due to injury, Hamels is on pace for 20 Losses.  (Lee has been good) and will repeat the same kind of campaign that MLB is accustomed to.  Lee could be a game changer in the Trade Market.  It will cost a team a kings ransom - plus they would have to dole out Lee's big Salary.

The “Big 3″ in the Phillies rotation was supposed to have rebounded from their poor 2012 collective effort (of course Hamels was good. So far Halladay struggled before going out for the year due to injury, Hamels is on pace for 20 Losses. (Lee has been good) and will repeat the same kind of campaign that MLB is accustomed to.) Lee could be a game changer in the Trade Market. It will cost a team a kings ransom – plus they would have to dole out Lee’s big Salary.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

A big thank – you goes out to our Philadelphia Phillies Correspondent Chris Creighton for preparing today’s featured post.  Chris is a Phillies Phan, Baseball fan & player. He thinks that there is no better place for food and is a  proponent of the city of Philadelphia. Huge U2 fan. Phillies writer at  http://www.warroomphilly.com .

Chris says:  “Follow a Web Show covering everything in the Philadelphia Sports Scene. Sit back and enjoy from the hearts of two die-hard Philly guys here !  You can follow Chris Creighton on Twitter or the WarRoomPhilly

a war room chris

Please e-mail me at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

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