Philadelphia Phillies Place SP Cliff Lee on Waivers

The trade deadline has passed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Philadelphia Phillies are done making moves.

After shipping outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence out west and re-signing Cole Hamels to a six-year contract extension, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has decided to tie up all loose ends by placing left-handed starter Cliff Lee on waivers according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan. Passan recently tweeted the following:

As he states, the move is being done in preparation for a trade. After the MLB Trade Deadline of July 31st, teams are not eligible to trade players unless they’ve cleared waivers; if no team claims Lee, he will be eligible to be traded to any of the eight teams he hasn’t designation in his “no-trade clause”, designated to the minor leagues or released outright.

Photo courtesy of Associated Press.

Obviously, the Phillies plan on pursuing the first option as a way of re-stocking the farm system and releasing even more cap space—Lee is owed $75 million over the next three seasons and then $27.5 more million in the player option season of 2016.

That said, Cliff Lee is still a good pitcher. Even though his record shows 2-6, a better performance from the Phillies’ offense early in the season would probably have spotted him four or five more wins, and his 3.73 ERA is nothing to laugh at. Though he’ll need to produce at a higher level to warrant the kind of money he’s making, he will be an excellent piece for whichever team ends up with him.

Potential suitors include the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees (of course) and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rangers and Dodgers lack depth in the rotation and adding someone like Lee could boost their division chances as they try and hold off the Athletics and Giants respectively. New York still has a good starting rotation, but fatigue seems to be settling in and Lee would be a great addition for the stretch run and postseason.

Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to have finally settled for the rebuilding phase, a smart move in all likelihood. Even if Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay can return to form next season following bad injuries this year, the Phillies just won’t be good enough all-around to make the playoffs, much less advance when they get there.

With several teams desperate for pitching help, the team could land the top-notch prospects that could have the ship sailing smoothly once again as soon as 2014.




Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beat Writing, Phillies

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

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20 Comments on “Philadelphia Phillies Place SP Cliff Lee on Waivers”

  1. Chris
    August 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Cliff Lee was claimed off of waivers, but there are reports that the Phillies already pulled him back. Blanton was also claimed off of waivers, and was traded to the Dodgers. I said earlier Blanton was much more likely to move than Lee.

  2. Chris
    August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    The Phillies also wouldnt trade him now and would wait until the offseason because they want to see if Halladay is healthy and can return to form. If they trade Lee, with Halladay a free agent after next year, Hamels would be the only remaining “ace” of the staff. They want to find out what they have in Halladay before the trade Lee.

    • August 3, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      Good point with Halladay. Their offense has been reduced to nothing with the loss of Pence and Victorino, so they’re probably going to look for help in the outfield if they do end up dealing Lee or Blanton.

      If they can manage to bolster the offense in two or three spots (during offseason) w/ out trading Lee and Halladay comes back strong, I think this team has a chance to return to the playoffs in 2013 and possible even contend for the WS.

      Obviously, getting prospects like Dellin Betances or Mason Williams from New York would be nice too.

      • Chris
        August 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

        Betances has had a disastrous season, and we have enough pitching prospects. I would much rather get Mike Olt from Texas or Nick Castellanos from Detroit to be our 3rd baseman of the future. With Mike Olt we can probably also get Leonys Martin to be our centerfielder.

        • August 3, 2012 at 11:34 am #

          Agree with Castellanos, love him as a defender and hitter.

          Would texas part ways with both?

  3. Chris
    August 3, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Lee being on waivers is no big deal and it was expected. National media just overhypes it because he is a big name. In fact, according to Jim Salisbury, some teams have placed there entire roster on waivers already. This doesnt even really mean anything, and he is no more likely to be moved than before the trade deadline.

  4. Chris
    August 3, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Also, as I said earlier, almost every MLB player is placed on waivers in August, so he is no more likely to be traded right now than any other of the other pitchers out there on waivers. Blanton has a better chance to be traded right now than Lee does because his contract is up after this season.

    • August 3, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      I agree with your point that Blanton is an easier chip to trade, but Lee will make a difference for teams in the hunt.

      I’m not sure either way whether Lee will be traded, but the Phillies seem to be in full-sell mode and they’ll do everything they can to unload his salary and rebuild their future at the same time while teams are willing to pay a high price.

  5. August 3, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    all this means is that they are making him available if somebody is interested. there may be an interested team or there may not be, who knows

    • August 3, 2012 at 11:03 am #

      I think they’re seriously considering it. Apparently they were in talks with Texas and LA before the deadline so one of the teams might be making a move.

  6. Chris
    August 3, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    The other problem is that the Phillies arent willing ot take on any money in the deal. They refused to pay the 3 million left on Joe Blanton’s salary, so they definitely wont give 30 million for Lee.

    • August 3, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Why would they have to pay $30 million? Can you show me a link for that, because I thought it was in the ballpark of $8 million but if that’s changed I’d love to see it.

      Even if you’re right, I still think it’d be worth it in the long run because the likely return value will set up a nice core for 2014 and 2015.

      • Chris
        August 3, 2012 at 11:10 am #

        He has almost 90 million dollars left on his contract. Nobody is willing to pay that, and almost all teams cant afford to pay that. 8 million would only take off 2-3 million per year. The actual figure of $30 million was mentioned by Matt Gelb, the Phillies writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

        • August 3, 2012 at 11:16 am #

          Okay thanks!

          That number seems like it would offset the reasons for trading Lee, so I’m hoping the Phils can barter and somehow reduce the number to the $15-20 million range so that it becomes financially equitable to deal him before the value diminishes.

  7. August 3, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    I see your point, but the fact is is that of the eight teams that Lee can be traded to, six or seven are playoff contenders. Four of them need pitching badly, which means they’re more likely to be in a desperate state and give up top prospects for a great player.

    You usually don’t see selling teams like the Phillies wait until the offseason when the value drops.

  8. Chris
    August 3, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Wow. Whoever wrote this clearly doesn’t understand how waivers work. Just because a player is put on waivers doesn’t mean that the team wants to trade them. Almost every MLB player is put on waivers, we just don’t hear about all of them. As Todd Zolecki the Phillies beat reports states, “Cliff Lee has been placed on waivers, per report. Not a big deal. Nearly every player is put on waivers at some point this month. Carry on.” Go learn about how waivers work before writing about it. It only creates flexibility and there is no harm in doing this.

    • August 3, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      I’m not saying they WILL trade him, just saying it’s likely. Seeing as they’ve been trying to get rid of cap space for a couple months now, they’ve made it clear they’re willing to trade him.

      • Chris
        August 3, 2012 at 10:41 am #

        Its not likely at all. If they were to do so it would be in the offseason when there r more suitors. They r just leaving there options open right now.

      • August 3, 2012 at 10:44 am #

        I see your point, but the fact is is that of the eight teams that Lee can be traded to, six or seven are playoff contenders. Four of them need pitching badly, which means they’re more likely to be in a desperate state and give up top prospects for a great player.

        You usually don’t see selling teams like the Phillies wait until the offseason when the value drops.

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