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Cliff Lee Pretty Much Ready for Anything at Trade Deadline

Jun 4, 2013, 11:45 AM EDT


When Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports paid a visit to Citizens Bank Park on Friday for Phillies-Brewers Game 1 and didn’t much talk to Domonic Brown, you began to wonder why he bothered.


Said Cliff Lee, when asked if he is prepared to be shipped out in, oh, 56 days:

“Yeah, pretty much. Nothing I can do about it, so I’m not going to get too caught up in it.”

Not much of a surprise. With Chase Utley’s injury and Carlos Ruiz’s iffy production, Lee’s really the only marketable commodity for a team likely on the precipice of pushing the reset button. More interesting, then, are some details of that 20-team no-trade clause. (Talk radio, you’re welcome.) Morosi provides some deets:

The New York YankeesBoston Red SoxTexas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles are among the 20 teams that would need Lee’s permission to acquire him, the sources told

Morosi notes the smart money is on the Rangers and Orioles, probably because Yankee fans blew it for New York and the Red Sox are pretty thin on the farm. Baltimore’s got a nice little offense down there (second in MLB in runs scored) but their 4.85 starter ERA will otherwise keep them out of the postseason. The Rangers have lost much (Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis all on the DL) and up-and-comers Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm are too green to be relied on in October.

Assuming Lee would sign off on a deal.

Of course, if it were up to Lee, who may or may not have signed in here in Winter 2010 because of how the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia could treat his special-needs son, he’d probably rather stay put.

A reminder why we’re having this conversation: even if the Phillies have to eat a considerable amount of the $62.5 million he’s due for two years after this season, none of which they’re likely to be competitive for anyway, if done right, dangling a left-handed former Cy Young winner could net some serious prospects. And because trading Cole Hamels would be dumb.

Leaving you with this, a depressing quotable on the nature of the MLB trade deadline beast, from a guy who’s lived it three times:

“Every time I’ve been traded, before that every organization would say, ‘You’ll be the first one to know if we’re ever going to move you,’” Lee said, recalling that he learned of each trade while watching television. “I was the last one to know every time.”


Enrico’s note: this post originally said Cliff Lee “expected to be traded” at the deadline. We kind of jumped the gun on assuming that phrasing. Morosi’s title says Lee is “fully prepared to be traded again.” We apologize for this confusion.

  1. Mike - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Hold on, I am going to make a joke about Amaro traded Lee 3 years ago for a bunch of stiffs. It was Phillipe Aumont and two other guys. I need to Google who the two others guy were.

    • Mike - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      I expect the Seattle Mariners to be a dark horse in the race for Cliff Lee. They are offering a package of young prospects named Allippe Phaumont, Gyson Tillies and RJ Camirez. Three players of that caliber will allow the Phillies to restock farm system. Amaro would be a fool not to acquire these hot prospects.

  2. IlliniGlory - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I’m sorry, I don’t think Lee is going anywhere.

    Why are we already talking about the trade deadline and “pushing the reset button” when it’s only 4 days into June? Last time I checked, the season isn’t even halfway through. And the team is going to get Chooch back in June. And Utley. And Lannan. And this wildcard named “Big Z” who used to be staff Ace or something and apparently found Jesus (see Hamilton, Josh). If we’re throwing in the towel, should probably look for the Angels, Dodgers, and Nats to have a helluva fire sale come end of July.

    No offense Matt, but articles like this I expect from the staff writers looking to get a rise out of the Philly fan base. I don’t think your intentions were to be necessarily negative here, but I don’t think such a minor comment from Lee and one Fox reporter is worth featuring at this point.

    • agreed - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      I want to be optimistic on the point of it only being June and the Phellas still having a chance to make a run this year, but I don’t see it. Everytime they smell .500 ball some horrible crap happens like getting blown up by the Marlins or Brewers. The team doesn’t have the balls that it used to.


      I would rather trade every other player on the team not named Dom Brown and lose the next 100 games than trade Cliff Lee again. I don’t care if it makes “baseball sense” to trade him. Ruben Amaro Jr is closer to “asshat clown” right now than “savvy big signing GM” for me and I like watching Cliff Lee play baseball, the guy plays the right way and is fun to watch, unlike most of the current roster. I am sure my reasoning won’t be well received by yall who comment here but I don’t really care.

  3. BAPS - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    I want to know why trading Hamels would be “dumb”. If this team’s going into rebuild mode and going to take on a bunch of younger players who are going to learn how to play the game as they go, such as Hernandez, Ruff, and Brown (who DOES still make some very iffy defensive plays), I think someone with the mindset that Hamels has once again shown this season, in regards to not tolerating mistakes made and lack of production while he’s on the hill, would be anything but what you want in the club house.

    I’d much rather have the Lee and Doc (even if not at 100%) types in the rotation teaching the younger guys how to go out there and throw down. Cole has to show me he can laugh off the games where he goes out and gives up a run or two and looses. Because those games are going to be plentiful if this is the way the team decides to go.

    • willh888 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      What ever they do, make sure the pitchers we get in return are good pinch runners.

    • galasso2586 - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      It would be “dumb” because:

      1. We’d be selling low on him: He’s been horrific this season and we wouldn’t be getting a massive return for him (unless the Cleveland Indians do what they did for Ubaldo Jimenez a few seasons ago)

      2. He’s 29: He’s still young enough that we can build around him for years to come and he can be the anchor of our rotation 4 years from now which Cliff and Doc can’t be.

      3. He just signed the extension: What does it say to all players in the league when you sign and long extension for a lot of money and then the team trades you (See Miami Marlins). It says the team doesn’t care about it’s players. Why would any FA want to come here after that?

      4. He’s the 2nd World Series MVP this team has ever had: This really doesn’t need any explanation, speaks for itself.

    • IlliniGlory - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      Call me crazy, but Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis as a future IF tandem don’t exactly have me jumping up and down yet at this point. Still have a lot to prove there with both of them – neither exactly set the world on fire down in AAA. Cesar had a very nice first couple of months at AAA, but they weren’t “can’t miss” status by any means.

      And please don’t get me started on Ruf – he put together a great season in AA last year, but has also left much to be desired at AAA this year. I’m not ready to write him off yet, but he isn’t exactly a 21/22 year old guy at this point who can serve a few stints in the majors before being ready to break out (a la Dom Brown). Not saying Ruf isn’t going to be a solid ball player one day, but he’s still developing, and is probably best served to still do that in AAA where the jury won’t necessarily cost us Ws if it rules against him…

      I like Dom as a future cornerstone for this team. Other than that, I’m really only REALLY excited by Biddle as a minor league guy who’s shown both consistency and the ability to perform during his minor league years.

  4. Hiccup - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I hope they don’t trade Cliff (or Cole for this matter) ; he’s a solid pitcher who gives this team a chance to win while being a role model for the younger arms, I feel for Cole being upset with the losses in which he is not entirely to blame. He pretty much committed the prime years of his career to this team so he’s hopes of having a positive impact in the game must be brutally crushing to his ego and self-esteem.He must of been thinking Cy Young, All-Star, and World Series MVP when he inked that giant contract but look where we’re at now despite all the practice and preparation that’s been put into this team.
    It’s a brutal game but there’s only one winner and one loser per game and when you put all your chips into a few core players there’s not much room for error in low scoring games.

    • Hiccup - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      Strike that last paragraph.
      Putting all the chips in a few core players means we are committed to winning but doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.


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