Here Come the Cliff Lee Trade Stories

Our contracts bring all the boys to the yard

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is banging that Cliff Lee trade drum, or he’s building the Cliff Lee trade drum. Hard to tell:

Cliff Lee is performing. His team has a losing record. The trade deadline no longer seems far away. The rumors are starting.

It happened in 2009, when he went from Cleveland to Philadelphia. It happened in 2010, when he went from Seattle to Texas.

You wonder if Lee is thinking, “Here we go again.”

In fact, he is.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Lee acknowledged Friday, during an interview at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. “Nothing I can do about it, so I’m not going to get too caught up in it.”

I have no idea why the Phillies would want to trade the best pitcher in the National League. None. If the organization thinks they have any chance of competing over the next three years (Lee’s contract is guaranteed through 2015 with a club option in 2016), there would be no reason to trade Lee, who, at 34, is showing no signs of slowing down. Sure, he’s likely to be considered “overpaid” in the final few years of his deal, but the Phillies knew that going in. And there hasn’t yet been any indication that they are planning to blow up the entire team (I think they think they can make moderate adjustments and be in contention again). Even though trading Lee would land them a massive haul, why would you want to move an ace who’s under contract? Ryan Howard’s deal is outlandish, Lee’s isn’t. There’s absolutely an argument to be made for trading him for prospects, but there’s a better argument to be made for keeping an ace who isn’t exactly pushing up against retirement. 

Lee has a no-trade clause that lists 20 teams (basically, the 20 most likely teams to trade for him), so he’d have to approve virtually any trade the Phillies would make. Morosi spoke with Lee, and it’s hard to tell if Lee is seriously preparing to be traded, or if he’s just humoring Morosi in his quest for a story:

“The way we played last year, the way we’ve started out this year, it’s getting close to do-or-die time. . . . Management is going to have some decisions to make when we get closer to the trade deadline, if we continue to play the way we have. I want to do everything I can to make sure they’re not forced to make some of those decisions. I’m just going to try to pitch and do everything I can to help the team win.”

“I can’t sit here and come up with the what-ifs,” he said. “If (a trade scenario) presents itself, I’ll have to look at the situation and figure it out. Right now, I’m a Phillie and I want to do everything I can to help this team win.”

“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.”

Lee was including Amaro in that last quote. Amaro, of course, already made the mistake of trading Lee once. Doing so again, at least at this point, would be dee you em– dumb.

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12 Responses

  1. Heard he’s sick of the black phillies asking him advice on white woman

  2. Trading Lee isn’t that dumb. It’s the fact that we have a dumbass in charge of trading him. And we’ll end up getting another French Canadian first round bust and a deaf cokehead who can’t even cut it in AAA.

  3. Trade Lee to Texas and Papelbon to Detroit. Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall. This team has far too many holes right now to make a postseason run this year or next and is hampered by big contracts. It’s not like Dom is going to carry this team by himself.

    Mind you, I don’t know what players are up for free agency this winter. Assuming that they need to free up some money (Chase? Doc?) to make any major moves. I just think trading a 34 year old ace this year will bring back some solid pieces to make the turnaround quicker. And Jose Valverde is horrible so hopefully pry something away from the Tigers for Paps.

    Just my opinion. I am not a GM.

  4. Yeah we got a great return on that last time. COME ON MAN! Do not trade Clifton…

  5. Trade Rollins, the Youngs, kendrick, (sell high) Papelbon (He’s a luxury), Chooch, Utley (Sad face). Build around Howard (untradeable, thanks RAJ) Brown, Hamels, Lee, Biddle, Asche, Hernandez, Galvis Ruf maybe? and get on with getting on. Sign Doc on the cheap. Lee is still young enough to be relevant when the Phillies turn it around. We are just kidding ourselves this year. The right GM could take those trade peices and turn this team back into a world series contender with prospects and the cash you could free up for free agents. You need to stick with your core philosophy that pitching above all else is Key.

    1. Nobody is going to want rollins, or delmon young. Michael young has a full no trade clause. Phils won’t really get anything for Utley or Ruiz (who are both in a contract year and have both battled injuries this season). Papelbon and Lee are the only ones with any value on this team

  6. Why in the hell do you think the Phillies could be good in the next 2-3 years? They’re old as hell. Lee is 34, and for pitchers that’s basically going on 42. If you can dump his contract and get top prospects for him… do it. It’s over and time to rebuild. The window is shut. Rebuild around Hamels, who won’t be bad forever, and move on.If and when they do trade Lee, do us all a favor and don’t bitch about it for the next 2 years. Everyone else in Philadelphia has moved on from the Richards and Carter trades… you should too

  7. Kyle, I think you need to take your red pinstripe goggles off and stop calling Cliff Lee the best pitcher in the NL. I totally get you have a man crush on him, but have you seen Clayton Kershaw’s numbers?

  8. Kyle is just setting the stage so that if they trade him he can bitch about it for years afterwards, a la Richards and Carter deals.

  9. Remember game 4 of the NLDS against the cardinals in 2011 when Lee couldn’t hold a lead and we went on to lose the series? Loser.

  10. That trade drum has been going on at bleacher report since the moment he signed with us. I have yet to see a Phillies article not screaming for his trade

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