Phillies Likely Forced To Keep That Crappy Cliff Lee
By John Stolnis
I hope Cliff Lee doesn’t mind staying in Philadelphia. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Trading Cliff Lee was always a longshot. However, there was a lot of smoke throughout the day on Tuesday that the Boston Red Sox and Phillies were engaged in some pretty serious negotiations that would have sent the Phils’ ace left-hander to Boston for a package of very attractive Red Sox prospects.
Yeah, that ain’t happenin’ now.
So now, the team that appeared to be the best match for Cliff Lee’s services, is no longer interested.
It appears the Phillies are going to have to put up with Lee’s crappy 3.05 ERA, his stupid 4.0 WAR, his annoying 131/22 K/BB ratio, and his revolting ability to be one of the 10 best pitchers in the National League.
This run of bad luck for the Phils just won’t stop!
The idea of trading Lee was only palatable if the Phillies were going to get top prospects in return. That would have meant holding out for Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr., as well as other prospects. It was a high asking price that the Red Sox didn’t want to meet. Instead, Boston was able to acquire a starter in Peavy who, while clearly not as good as Lee, is still a decent upgrade for their rotation that also did not force them to give up any of their top prospects.
Jun 29, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starter Cliff Lee (33) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
So, what now for the Phillies and Lee? It’s hard to imagine another team stepping up to the plate for his services. There are only a couple teams that have the need, the payroll and the prospects necessary to get the job done. The only possible suitors left is probably the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and there hasn’t been any indication they’re ready to hop into the mix.
Lee would also have to approve a trade to any contender that may want him, which is yet another obstacle.
Frankly, Amaro is probably better off waiting until the off-season to try and trade Lee. Teams will have more payroll to play with and Lee will be owed less money by that time. Amaro was absolutely correct in demanding a high ransom for Lee, and obviously, the team is under no real pressure and has no real desire to trade him, unless they are blown away by an offer.
It is going to take a surefire, Major League-ready player to pry Lee away from Ruben Amaro‘s cold, dead hands. And so far, no one has wanted Lee enough to meet Amaro’s justifiably high asking price.
The Phillies could also hold onto Lee and let him anchor a rotation in 2014 that would include Cole Hamels, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Kyle Kendrick and maybe either Jonathan Pettibone or maybe even Roy Halladay. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.
But certainly, with the Red Sox’ acquisition of Peavy, the best trade partner Amaro had to move him by today’s 4pm trade deadline is no longer interested.
Dammit. It looks like we’re stuck with the awesome pitching of Cliff Lee for even longer.
Dark clouds are overhead. This truly is the Phillies’ End of Days.