Posts for Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee’s No-Trade List is Revealed, But It Really Doesn’t Mean Much

Kyle Scott - July 22, 2014

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Scouts watching Lee last night, via (@M_Coca_COLA)

Jerry Crasnick, writing for ESPN.com, reports on the nine teams Cliff Lee can be traded to without his consent:

Lee’s deal also includes a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 20 teams. According to a baseball source, Lee has listed Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Minnesota, the New York Mets, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Washington as the nine teams he can be traded to without his consent.

Against that backdrop, the Tigers, Pirates, Orioles, Mariners, Angels, Royals, Blue Jays and Giants — contenders all — were among a dozen teams that had scouts at Monday’s game. No one can say for sure who was on hand to expressly scout Lee, in part because the Phillies have so many other tradable commodities on their roster.

Good reporting there. These lists often aren’t ever made public. But, it doesn’t mean much. Typically when players have a limited no-trade clause and are able to select teams to which they’d accept a trade, they choose small market franchises and division rivals. Why? Because the small market teams can’t afford them and there’s little chance a franchise would want to see a traded star a dozen times per season. So, with the exception of Cleveland, Lee’s former team, this list basically represents the teams Lee would never get dealt to. But that doesn’t mean Lee couldn’t or wouldn’t waive his NTC to go the Yankees, Giants, Orioles, Angels or whomever else. Listing unlikely suitors just means that he’ll get to have a say in all al this. Hashtag themoreyouknow.

Last Night, Cliff Lee Became the Second Phillie to Fart at Reporters This Season

Kyle Scott - July 22, 2014

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Pretty sure Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon have launched an all-out bodily gas war against the Philly media. It’s the most fight the team has shown this season.

On the heels of Papelbon’s leg-lifting, mid-interview flatulence after a 1-0 win against the Braves on April 17 – the same day that Lee belched at or just in the general direction of reporters – Lee last night let out an audible post-interview stink, “of which he seemed quite proud.”

Before letting it rip, Lee looked around somewhat mischievously, perhaps searching for his 1706 Rittenhouse buddy Papelbon. A slight grin formed on Lee’s lips after the gas had passed.

Funny, but actually pretty dickish. One in-person witness to Papelbon’s April 17 gas remarked to me that “there are a lot of good guys in that clubhouse, but [Lee and Papelbon] aren’t two of them.” That makes me sad.

The Phillies lost 7-4, and Lee looked like a pitcher who hadn’t pitched in two months.

Video after the jump, via the CSN blogger who once boasted that he likes to avoid this sort of lowbrow humor and prefers to write for “smart” fans that he’d “want to talk Phillies with.” – fart noise – Continue Reading

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UPDATE: The Phillies May Not Trade Cole Hamels, Anybody

Jim Adair - July 18, 2014

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As the MLB trade leaded draws nearer, all of the rumors that float around start to either gain some credence or be tossed aside. For the Phillies, according to Boston’s WEEI, that means Cole Hamels is probably staying put:

“According a major league source, the Phillies are currently showing no inclination to trade Cole Hamels.

Hamels has been the subject of rumors involving the Red Sox recently, with the Boston Globe suggesting the Red Sox might be viewing the lefty as a top-of-the-rotation replacement for Jon Lester. The 30 year old will be owed $90 million over the next four years, with a team option for 2019 worth $20 million.

It is believed that while the Red Sox had checked in on Hamels availability earlier in the season, there hasn’t been any recent discussions between the Sox and Phillies regarding the starter.”

The squashing of the Hamels rumors comes along with the report that the earlier report that the Dodgers were interested in Papelbon now looks to be untrue, and the Mariners – who were supposedly hot on Marlon Byrd – have moved on. Cliff Lee is still the subject of a decent number of rumors out there, but it’ll probably just be another week or so before those are debunked. So, just prepare yourselves to meet your 2015 Philadelphia Phillies… the same as your 2014 Philadelphia Phillies.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman:

The strong belief, based on talks so far with the Phillies, is that the team would much prefer to trade Cliff Lee than Cole Hamels.

But, as one rival GM said, “Cliff Lee isn’t pitching. So how can you make a deal for him today?”

That is a fair point, but Lee is expected back soon from an elbow issue that has sidelined him for a few weeks, and it’s possible he could pitch in two or three games that could amount to a showcase for the star left-hander.

No shit to all of that.

UPDATE: Cliff Lee Had an MRI on His Elbow and God Officially Hates You

Kyle Scott - May 20, 2014

Jim Salisbury, CSN Philly:

Cliff Lee has a tender elbow. He required an MRI exam Tuesday in Philadelphia. Results were not immediately known.

“He’s battled some elbow tenderness for about three weeks,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Tuesday night’s game against the Marlins. “He’s been able to pitch through it. He felt a little more uncomfortable in his last couple of innings Sunday. He saw Dr. [Michael] Ciccotti and Dr. Ciccotti felt it was alarming enough to do an MRI. We’re awaiting the results.”

Lee’s fastball velocity has been down in recent starts. Amaro said the pitcher had recently been treated with anti-inflammatory medicine.

For real, God hates us. Only explanation I got left. Eagles go on improbable late-season run and show signs of being a contender in the NFC and lose a winnable home playoff game and then are forced to cut their star wide receiver for reasons that are unexplainable. Flyers go on a similar run and take the Rangers to the brink after their starting goalie misses the first three games of the series with a freak concussion… and lose. Sixers lose all winter and don’t get a top 2 pick. The Phillies– they suck, and now Cliff Lee could maybe possibly potentially be seriously hurt and his lone, unfortunate remaining value to the club, trade bait, could be in jeopardy. Anything else? Union goalie lose a foot or anything like that?

Side note: His velocity hasn’t really been down:

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UPDATE:

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This worries me. Usually with mild injuries to stars the Phillies just declare it a “day-to-day” thing and then don’t let us know more until the player is out 6-to-8 weeks. With such a quick admittance of a strain and DL announcement, I fear the worst for Lee. I fear death.

Cliff Lee Pissed Excellence Again Last Night

Kyle Scott - April 22, 2014

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He did it again.

I’m just going to assume that you didn’t watch the Phillies and Dodgers last eve when Cliff Lee peed streams of excellence into the LA night. These Lee posts used to be a celebration of our favorite steed’s brilliance, canvii where I could write really weird things about magical ponies clop-clopping their way to and fro’ the mound. But now, especially with a late game, I feel that the job is to inform you since so few people are tuning in to Phillies games. So let’s do that.

Cliff Lee’s line last night:

113 pitches, 83 strikes, 8 IP, 4 H, 10 K, 0 BB. That’s it.

Phils win, 7-0.

From Todd Zolecki:

Lee is 2-2 with a 1.20 ERA in his last four starts after allowing eight runs in five innings on Opening Day. In 30 innings over those four starts, he has allowed 33 hits, four earned runs, one walk and has struck out 37.

“He’s evolved over the years,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s throwing more changeups, the curveball in different ways. He’s using more pitches. He used to be simple — stuff and location. He doesn’t throw quite as hard, but it doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot.”

Lee’s fastball has lost a little more than one mph since last season, but it hasn’t affected his results.

Mmm.

Indeed Lee has lost a little something on his fastball– about two mph compared to April of 2011, when he arrived back in Philly. But unlike Roy Halladay, who saw an immediate decline when his velocity started to go, Lee has been just as effective (if you ignore that one start against the Rangers). Here’s a comparison of their velocity charts:

Brooksbaseball-Chart
Brooksbaseball-Chart copy

Poor Roy. His velo chart looks like a droopy penis.

Lee is just now entering the point of his career where Halladay disintegrated, but to me, there are two reasons why we shouldn’t be concerned:

1) Lee doesn’t rely as much on stuff as Halladay did. Halladay, who flirted with 95 mph at times, leaned heavily on his cutter to get outs, and his breaking pitches were in the high 70s (~78 mph). Lee throws mostly hard stuff, too, but his fastball isn’t quite as overpowering as Halladay’s was and his breaking pitches are in the mid 70s (~75 mph). In other words: he relies a bit more on the push-pull aspect of pitching, whereas Halladay needed his cutter to have velocity and to, well, cut. Lee’s success has always come from precision control, throwing strikes and keeping batters off-balance with his speed changes and rhythm. They are similar pitchers, for sure, but Lee is better equipped to deal with losses in velo, me thinks.

2) After the 2011 season, Halladay had thrown ~2,500 innings in the big leagues. Lee is only at ~2,100 innings. That’s about two full seasons behind Halladay. A lot less miles on that arm.

Video of Lee’s excellence after the jump. Enjoy as T-Mac takes just all the fun out of watching. Continue Reading

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Cliff Lee Pisses Copious Amounts of Excellence, Takes Loss

Kyle Scott - April 17, 2014

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are in mid-season form– squandering golden-streamed opportunities because they can’t hit.

In front of 23,382, Lee pitched nine innings and struck out 13 while scattering 11 hits, one walk and one run. He threw 85 of his career-high 128 pitches for strikes. He left a steaming pile of pissed excellence on the mound. He took the loss. It’s the second time in five starts, dating back to his final start of the season last year, that he struck out 13 Braves and lost 1-0.

Here’s Lee on being sent back out for the ninth even though he was over 100 pitches:

“I felt strong on the last pitch and I felt strong on the first pitch,” Lee said. “That’s what you want to do, you want to be a guy that they’re going to let go back out there after you’ve thrown 100-plus pitches and pitch the ninth inning. That’s what I expect to do and I’m glad they allow me to do that. That’s what I work in the offseason for and prepare my body to do, so it’s not anything that’s that crazy to me.”

Love that quote. Lee and Chase Utley might be the only two baseball players on the team right now.

And indeed Lee was as strong on the last pitch as he was the first. From Brooks Baseball:

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Fastballs in the low 90s, breaking pitches in the mid 70s, all night long, like a Lionel Richie song. His consistency and precision, also excellent:

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Look at the fade on his two-seam fastballs (sinkers) and changeups. A one-foot tail on those babies.

It used to be fun to write about Lee’s brilliance is melodramatic prose, to wax mythical about our favorite steed. But no longer. I don’t even think anyone cares. Did anyone watch? If there’s a two and a half hour pitchers’ duel in a freezing ballpark in April and no one is there to see it, does it really happen?

The Phils managed a whopping [breaks out calculator] three hits – all singles – against Julio Teheran, who also pitched quite well. Awesome.

Some Creep Store is Sending Cliff Lee Fingernail Clippings

Kyle Scott - February 24, 2014

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Poor Cliff. First it’s bloggers and pissing ponies, and now this.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com was in Clearwater to do a piece on the Phillies’ pitching staff yesterday and he came away with one incredibly strange (awesome?!) tidbit:

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YUM.

As a slightly over-the-top Cliff Lee admirer, I have to say I respect the effort here. Like many pitchers, Lee can often be spotted grooming himself in the dugout. Fingernails are either a pitcher’s best friend or his worst enemy (depending on if cheating is your thing). So we’ll assume there’s some meaning here besides someone just wanting their DNA to spill out all over Lee when he opened the letter in a random state of undress in the clubhouse.  Perhaps this is just a nice little tip of the cap to Lee’s nervous energy on game days. Or maybe someone thinks he scuffs balls. I’m sure we’ll find out more soon.

Related: There’s no truth to the rumor that Jonathan Papelbon received a human asshole in the mail.

Morning Wood: But He’s Different

Kyle Scott - September 17, 2013

We like to have fun here

We like to have fun here

Let’s take a journey back to the land of mythical men and mice, where ponies run freely upon a field of Riviera Bermuda Grass and, at least one particular steed’s preferred pasture of grazing, dirt. Because it was on this night, last night, that our favorite gallant warrior, with whom we’ve checked up on very little this calendar year, pissed a frothy mass of excellence so epic that, if for just a moment, we forgot that his chosen pack, comprised of dilapidated misfits and aging wonders, is 70-80 and so far from playoff contention that the cool, crisp air of approaching autumn has long lost its ability to cradle excitement.

Yes, folks, Cliff Lee was excellent last night, and I haven’t written a silly lede like that in what feels like forever.

If you missed the game – which, let’s be honest, you probably did – you’ll be thrilled to learn that the best pitcher in the National League was TOTALLY OUF OF HIS MIND. Here, I’ve separated pitching and batting because, really, I can’t tell which is a better line:

Batting

3-4 with two singles, a triple, four RBIs and a run scored

Pitching

8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 14 K, 0 BB

That’s all swell and good, but the real important bit of tid from last night is this, courtesy of Todd Zolecki:

It looked like his day even hours before the game. Nearly every teammate walked around the clubhouse beforehand with T-shirts that had a picture of Lee’s face and the phrase “… but I’m different,” written underneath it.

“I think that’s just a joke and they’re messing with me,” Lee said. “Whatever.”

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, one of the most popular and respected players in the clubhouse, came up with the T-shirts.

“Cliff is that guy, he’s cool, you know?” Ruiz said. “It’s something we try to do in the clubhouse to have fun.”

!!!

Carlos Ruiz made Cliff Lee an ironic t-shirt to which Lee responded with his trademarked whateverIF THE PHILLIES ARE STILL FUN AND NO ONE IS THERE TO SEE IT, ARE THEY STILL FUN?

Last night they were. Last night they were fun.

Full video highlights of Lee drowning the fish in a golden stream of his difference… after the jump. Continue Reading

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