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Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Dom Brown all available for trade apparently

Dec 10, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT


Word out of Major League Baseball’s winter meetings is no piece is untouchable for the Philadelphia Phillies right now, including the aces up general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.’s sleeve.

Buster Olney for ESPN reports the Phillies would be open to trading either Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, two of the three highest-paid players on the team and arguably their best two players. Meanwhile,’s Jim Salisbury writes the club is shopping All-Star slugger Domonic Brown, whose development was one of the lone bright spots for the organization this year.

For what it’s worth, talk of trading either Hamels or Lee is just that—talk. Jayson Stark followed up for ESPN, Tweeting the Phillies would only trade either of them under optimal conditions, meaning they would take on none of the salary from the pitchers’ huge contracts, yet still fetch a nice package in return. Good luck.

The Phillies just re-signed Hamels to a six-year deal worth $144 million in 2012. Lee is signed through at least 2015 at $25 million per, and he can guarantee his option for ’16 by reaching certain milestones over the next two seasons.

Dealing either of them sounds like it could be counterproductive though alongside Salisbury’s report on Brown, who the Phillies would likely move in an effort to bolster their pitching staff. Amaro told our CSN insider the front office is focusing on bringing in starting pitching depth “more than anything else.”

Salisbury examined some of the potential options if the Fightins were to swap Brown.

Trading for a starter is quite possible. The Phillies are thin on prospects so it’s doubtful they could put together a package for Tampa Bay’s David Price. They might be able to build a package around Domonic Brown to get in the hunt for Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who played minor-league ball under Ryne Sandberg when he managed in the Cubs’ system. Other starters who could be had in trades include Oakland lefty Brett Anderson and Boston right-handers Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy. All come with fine print. Anderson has had multiple health issues the last couple of seasons and Dempster ($13.25 million in 2014) and Peavy ($13.25 million) are expensive.

As reported here throughout the winter, the Phillies are willing to move Brown in the right deal. An executive from a rival team confirmed that Monday and speculated that Brown would be attractive to some teams.

“He’s available,” the executive said. “They could get value for him. He’s young, inexpensive, under control (contractually) and he had a great year.”

We suppose Jonathan Papelbon is on the trade block too, as reports mention. But then, Papelbon has been on the trade block for going on a year now. The Phillies would undoubtedly have to eat some of his salary in a potential deal, and even then it doesn’t sound as if he would net much of a return.

It all sounds a little desperate to be honest, which of course it is. Amaro backed his club into a corner with all of the huge contracts that were awarded over the past bunch of years, and it’s really handcuffed the front office this offseason and last.

The only way to shake up this roster is either get some of these deals off the books—which in several cases would be next to impossible—or send away young assets, which the Phils don’t have many.

My money is on Hamels, Lee, Brown, Papelbon and the rest of the gang all being back next year. There are seldom any quick fixes out there, so we’re probably stuck riding this out.

>> Brown, Papelbon in play as Phillies eye pitching
>> Examining the Lee, Hamels trade rumors

  1. willh888 - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    At some point, Cliff Lee needs to walk into the office of a GM and start slappin’ dudes. Cy Young caliber pitcher and he changed teams 4 times between 2009-2011. Wonder if Rube can steal 3 more career minor leaguers from some unfortunate team again.

  2. Scott B - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    No way any of these trades happen but you have to basically put everyone on the trade block.

    But am I crazy to think the Mets are in a better position long term than the Phillies? I don’t ever want to be the lolPhillies.

    • Steve - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      Aside from 2007-2011 and a few years in the late 70s and early 80s, haven’t we always been the lolPhillies?

      • r0tcod - Dec 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        1993 was pretty darn fun.

      • Mike - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:27 AM

        They were definitely the best at steroids in 93.

  3. Mostel - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:02 PM


    Wow, really?

    It is a known fact that any person associated with Notre Dame, especially in their fan base, is a giant pussy.

    No thanks on Samardzija!

    • Trotter54 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      Tom Zbikowski would like to have a word with you…

      I love anyone that uses an internet message board to call anyone else a pussy, good for you!

  4. Beardy - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Pretty much the unanimous mindset around baseball right now when discussing that Hamels & Lee are now one the market is that “the Phillies are out of their minds” (SportingNews)

    Ruben is an idiot. He has completely ruined this franchise taking them from World Series Champions with a ridiculously loaded farm to an over the hill team with bloated contracts, few young players, and no farm in the span of 5 seasons. That is unprecedented, and yet he somehow is still able to keep his job.

    What in the hell is he doing by signing Byrd and Ruiz to those deals and then turning around and putting 2 of your best players on the market? We’re not looking to rebuild, hence those other 2 contracts, but we’re also not looking to contend, cause now we’re putting Lee and Hamels out there. What the hell, Rube?

    Seriously. This isn’t 2010 anymore. This team has been passed by both the Braves and the Nationals in its own division. The Mets are going to be better in the near future as well, and yet our front office keeps chugging around thinking Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins are still playing at the 2007 level, getting them pathetically little help for the lineup, and then wonder why guys like Hamels & Lee have mediocre records with stellar stats.

    What we’re doing right now isn’t working. It hasn’t worked since the day Gillick retired. Fire Ruben, bring in someone who knows what the hell he is doing, and move on. Preferably, bring this franchise up to the 21st century and bring in someone who actually acknowledges that Advanced Statistics actually are a legitimate thing and not some crazy Hogwarts wizardry.

    • Jason R. - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Actually, look at everywhere that’s Gillick has gone and what’s happened once he left, it’s not unprecedented, Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners all hit the bottom of the crap can; two of them still haven’t recovered, it’s been like 20 years for the BJs, lets hope that doesn’t happen here.

      • Beardy - Dec 10, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        You’re right, a team struggling after Gillick leaves isn’t unprecedented. That is true. What I’m saying is that the levels to which Rube has failed this franchise, decimated the present and future, from such a position of strength when he was hired all in the span of 5 seasons… THAT is unprecedented.

        I still can’t fathom how that idiot still has a job. He truly is the apex of incompetence in baseball. Scouts and other managers refer to him as “Ruin the Farm’O”. Its THAT bad here.

  5. Jason R. - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Phillies are in a tailspin, Rube just took his hands off the wheel and hit the gas pedal.

    • willh888 - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Ted Kennedy would’ve said, “I like your style”

    • kai - Dec 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      And Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL”

  6. Mark432 - Dec 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    What is this team doing?

  7. r0tcod - Dec 10, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Maybe he would insist on taking Ryan Howard in addition to one of them.

    • Jason R. - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:01 PM

      Like the Red Sox did with Crawford and Beckett with AGon, good idea in theory, except that that only teams set up to do that (read as: “willing to spend that kind of money”) are the dodgers and yanks and they seem set right now.

      Maybe the Yankees would take Howard as a DH/insurance on Tex but that’s a HUGE contract for a guy in that situation. They might do it for Hamels/Howard, but that’s two huge contracts for them. They do have the money, though. Throw Paps in with Howard/Lee and I do that deal tomorrow. Rube would probably throw Brown in too, just for kicks.

      • willh888 - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        oh there’d be kicks alright

  8. ochospantalones - Dec 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Papelbon I would dump for nothing to anyone who would take his contract. He’s an asshole, and he’s not that good. Dom Brown I would only trade for a young, under control starting pitcher. Trading him for someone like Peavy or Dempster would be nuts. It is hard to see the point of trading Hamels. He makes too much money to get a massive prospect return, and it seems odd for a high revenue team like the Phillies to dump salary purely for the purpose of dumping salary. The way free agent contracts are exploding, you’re not going to be able to sign a pitcher significantly better than Hamels for the same money. The most interesting case is Lee. Like with Hamels, we have money, so I wouldn’t dump his just to dump him. But it is highly unlikely Lee will still be around and effective the next time we’re competitive, so if we can get good prospects or young players in return I would do it.

  9. sfsu - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Completely pointless. Everyone should be available for a trade at all times.

    “We’ll offer you Mike Trout for Cliff Lee straight up.”

    ….”sorry, Cliff Lee is UNAVAILABLE.”

    Wait, actually, that’s something RAJ would probably say.

    • Chris - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:40 AM

      Problem with Trout is he’s 15 years too young for Rube…

  10. Mike - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Getting old and trading away any quality players you have, is a strategy I would expect from pretty much every era of Phillies baseball. Obviously, excepting 76-83 and the recent run.


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