Posts for lee

Forbes Graph Makes You All Kinds of Sad About the Way Phillies Spend Their Money

Kyle Scott - March 28, 2013

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From two years ago

For the second year in a row, the Phillies were Forbes' fifth most valuable team in Major League Baseball (6th in 2011), with a valuation of $893 million, or, about six Cole Hamels. That’s up from $723 million last year. 

Forbes estimates the Phillies churned a small profit – about $600k in 2012 – after a loss of about $11.5 million in 2011. The increase is easily explainable: Forbes estimates the Phillies made an additional $30 million in revenue in 2012. Also, player salaries rose from about $150 million in 2010 to $180 million in 2011, but only another $4 million in 2012. 

Valuations are up all over the league thanks in part to coming increases in national TV dollars. The Phillies can also expect a massive increase in local TV money when their contract with CSN expires in 2015. 

What’s interesting about the Forbes valuation – if not unsurprising – to me, though, is this:


That’s basically wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the league. A score of 100 would be average.

Here’s how Forbes describes it: Compares the number of wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the MLB. Playoff wins count twice as much as regular season wins. A score of 120 means that the team achieved 20% more victories per dollar of payroll compared with the league average during the 2011-12 season.

The highlighted column represents 2009* (108), the year Ruben Amaro took over as GM, with 2010-2013 following from right to left, in order: 95, 86, 75, and 59.

*These figures represent the previous season, i.e. the 108 in 2009 is based on the World Fucking Championship in 2008.

While teams with larger payrolls, like the Phillies, will likely always be under the league average of wins per player payroll, and while a score of 59 is in-line with Yankees and Red Sox figures, the Phillies’ consistent decline is notable. They’ve gotten less value out of every dollar spent each year since Amaro took over as GM. It’s essentially the anti-Moneyball. Take a look at the A’s…

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… and Nationals….

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… and even the Angels…

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We all know the Phillies are spending more and not necessarily seeing more (postseason) success (though two consecutive seasons, 2010 and 2011, with the most regular season wins in baseball isn’t necessarily failure), but the sharp decline in player value – going from a team that won a World Series with a payroll more valuable than the league average to a team that missed the playoffs with one of the highest payrolls in the league – is troubling. This you knew– Forbes just put it into graph form.

Bloomberg is Bullish on Phillies Pitching

Kyle Scott - February 26, 2013

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Even me, lover of all things Cliff Lee (and part-time poet), thinks third-parties are going overboard with rankings like CP Lee at number three. 

Yesterday, we learned that MLB 13: The Show has Lee rated as a 96 in the game, the highest among Phillies. And now, Bloomberg, the company that continues to carve out space in the sports intelligence race, ranks Lee as the third best fantasy pitcher:

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No argument that Lee pitched better than his numbers reflected last year. But third? Seems a bit high. 

It's not just Lee getting some love from Bloomberg. The Phillies have three of the top eight pitchers on on Bloomberg's list:

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Of course, fantasy and real world are quite different (unless your Paul Holmgren), but decent praise here.

Old Grey Beards: Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth

Kyle Scott - February 20, 2013

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Together, their contracts will pay them over $240 million (photos via USA Today)

Somewhere, my 2009 self misses itself, which is making for one confusing internal conversation.

An Adorable Conversation Between Cliff Lee and Carlos Ruiz, and Adorable Photos of Chase Utley

Kyle Scott - February 12, 2013

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If you felt it move, that's OK (photo via the Phillies)

Today is the day you’re angered by photos from Clearwater taken by reporters who are taking photos in Clearwater just to let you know that they’re in Clearwater, taking photos. It’s that day. Pitchers, catchers and several notables – including Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins and beautiful Chase Utley – reported for duty, and there was no shortage of annoying Tweets. Among the standouts, however, were these few bits of tid from the Phillies' social media person (who, last year, mistook Juan Pierre for Ryan Howard), John Clark (who is killing it with his Tweets today), and our friend William from St. Pete Beach Photo. 

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Howard Eskin looking kewl in the background (photo via St. Pete Beach Photo)

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And therein lies the difference between Lee and Roy Halladay. No doubt that Roy has Chooch’s contract details and incentives hanging on a corkboard, likely somewhere just above his inflatable Chooch doll, at his house. But the Cliff Lee don’t care– he’d throw to a brick wall as long as it could handle his looping curve ball. Hey, you still around? Need more Adderall?*

Ruben Amaro brought his smugness to Clearwater, Also, muscles.

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Finally, more positively adorable photos of Chase Utley, courtesy of our friends at St. Pete Beach Photo, who have a few more here (1-9 are from this year).

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*Cliff Lee is one of well over a hundred Major Leaugers who are allowed to take Adderall. Carlos Ruiz, is not.

Your Monday Morning Roundup: The “We Swept the Nats But It Really Doesn’t Matter Now” Edition

Ryan Gillon - August 27, 2012


Congrats, Cliff…. everybody gets one… at home. (Photo: USA Today)

Okay, so maybe that's a little pessimistic given what the Phillies accomplished this weekend… maybe it's the rain or something. More on that in a second.

But first, a word from our sponsors:

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Back to the Phils… there's a lot of good you can take from a four-game winning streak, but many of you are thinking about where this was all season long. The Phillies are still 16.5 games back in the NL East despite taking three in a row from the division's top team… but here's something that will potentially get you unnecessarily riled up.


Photo: (Yahoo! Sportacular)

9.5 games isn't insurmountable. The Tampa Bay Rays earned a playoff bid coming back from a nine-game deficit just last year. By my calculations, the Phillies would probably have to go something like 26-8 to have a real shot. That's asking a lot from a team who gives so many ties and leads away in the eighth inning, but anything is possible, right?

At this point, I'll take .500. 

The Roundup:

  • Flight Night was last night, and it was largely uneventful. And no one, including Stewart Bradley tore their ACL this time. Memories.
  • Joe Buck, your favorite person to hate on Sundays, is growing facial hair, giving you yet another unjustified reason to maintain your hatred.
  • Finally, T.O. had this to say yesterday… I guess three dropped balls in three preseason games will do this to you…


I think I'm finally starting to have a bit of sympathy for him… maybe. Happy Monday, folks.

You can follow Ryan Gillon on Twitter @SeriouslyRyan.

UPDATE: Cliff Lee Claimed Off Waivers by Dodgers, But it’s Unlikely Phils Will Trade Him

Kyle Scott - August 3, 2012

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Ah, you know, guys, this is really getting old

Well, well. Look at that. An All-Star pitcher with a penchant for pissing excellence, specifically in October, didn’t magically slip through the waiver wire.

Jon Heyman reports that Cliff Lee did not clear waivers. But, all this means is that the Phillies can either pull him back off waivers, let him go to the team that claimed him, or work out a trade with that team.

Lee’s contract, of course, says that he can only be traded to or claimed by one of eight teams without his approval, and we don’t know which they are. Nor do we know which team claimed him.

The folks over at MLB Trade Rumors broke it down further:

The team(s) that claimed Lee showed a willingness to take on approximately $95MM in future commitments. Lee earns $21.5MM in 2012 and $25MM per season through 2015. His contract includes a $27.5MM vesting option for 2016 with a $12.5MM buyout. If the Phillies can assign Lee to the claiming team without his permission, they will now have to decide whether they value Lee's performance more than the flexibility they'd obtain by letting him go. If multiple teams claimed Lee, National League teams have priority over American League teams.


When asked about Lee this afternoon, Amaro told reporters, "he is not going anywhere.” So, Lee being claimed likely means nothing. Maybe. I don’t believe a word that comes out of Ruben Amaro’s mouth.

UPDATE: Howard Eskin reports that the Phillies pulled Lee off waivers when the claim was made. But no confirmation on that.

UPDATE 2: Eskin was wrong. FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reports that it was the Dodgers (yeah, the team that wanted Cole Hamels and just traded for Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton) who put the claim in on Lee. Morosi feels it's unlikely that they will ultimately obtain him, but there's still the possibility.

Heyman provides more details: [CBS Sports]

The Phillies will talk, but their people have suggested to others they don't see a trade for Lee as very likely. If a trade can't be worked out, the Phillies would then pull back Lee and he wouldn't be traded this season. If a player is put on waivers a second time, he can't be pulled back.

Prior to the deadline the Phillies weren't offering to pay down the $95 million remaining on Lee's deal through 2015 while also asking for a big prospect back. The claiming team obviously has to be willing to absorb the full contract, as the Phillies theoretically could just send him to that team (although people familair with the team's thinking say they aren't likely to do that).



UPDATE 3: The Dodgers' website is reporting that the team was prepared to take on Lee's contract, but the Phillies wanted a major haul in return, so the Dodgers settled on Blanton (heh). Looks like Lee is staying in Philly.

Hilarious Twitter Overreactions to Cliff Lee Being Placed on Waivers

Kyle Scott - August 2, 2012

With the news that Cliff Lee had been placed on waivers, many, myself included, had a brief moment of panic. The word waivers comes with a negative connotation and, in many cases in sports, signals the end of a player’s run with their team. 

Baseball works a little differently.

Most fans know that after the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, players must clear waivers before they can be traded (this is how the Phillies acquired Matt Stairs). This is so all teams are given a fair chance to claim a player and down-and-out teams are prevented from selling off players at the last minute. That part is widely known and understood. But, what is not as well known and certainly not as well publicized is that, at some point each August, almost every player in baseball is placed on waivers as a matter of procedure. Teams can pull a player off waivers if he’s claimed, so there’s really no risk in putting a player on the wire. It’s mostly just part of a behind-the-scenes poker game that we don’t get to witness. As a result, when news that Lee was placed on waivers broke this afternoon, the knee-jerk reaction for many was one of surprise. Usually, the names of those players aren’t disclosed, so we don’t think or talk about it (Jayson Stark and Danny Knobler have done a nice job of explaining the process in seasons past).

And after hearing Ruben Amaro say in multiple interviews that the Phillies had no interest in moving Lee, learning that he is on waivers raises an eyebrow or two, because, if he clears, the Phils will have the option of trading him again.

It was widely reported that working out a trade for Lee in the short window leading up to the deadline was a near impossibility considering the amount of money Lee makes and his limited no-trade clause (there are only eight teams he can go to without approval). But, should he clear waivers (which he likely will), it will give the Phils and a team like, say, the Rangers more time to hammer out a deal. It’s probably still a long shot, but will be a possibility again.

Anyway, here are the best Twitter overreactions to the news… starting with mine.

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Report: Phillies Place Cliff Lee on Waivers

Kyle Scott - August 2, 2012

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According to Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan, the Phillies have placed Cliff Lee on waivers. It's a somewhat standard move, to be placed on waivers after the trade deadline, but here are the scenarios: If he clears, which is likely because he is owed roughly $95 million, then he will be eligible to be traded by tomorrow afternoon. To do so, the Phillies would likely have to swallow about $7-$8 million a year, according to Passan.

Inquirer beat reporter Matt Gelb doesn't think the Phillies would eat that much money, but letting go of most of Lee's massive contract would allow them to do other things (rebuild).

Again, it's likely no team will claim him and it's probably not the outcome the Phillies are searching for. However, if he were to be claimed, the Phils could still pull him off waivers.

Ruben Amaro has spent the last two days doing interviews, telling anyone who will listen that the Phils were never shopping Lee. But, by placing Clifton on waivers, a move that could eventually lead to him being available for a trade, the Phils are, at the very least, exploring their options. 

CBS Sports' Danny Knobler explained the waiver process last summer, pointing out that many players get put on waivers. It's often procedural, but with all the trade talk surrounding Lee, you can't help but wonder if the Phils are entertaining the idea of a post-waiver trade deadline trade.

Admittedly, we may have jumped the gun, a bit, on this. Often, waived players' names aren't released and, as many baseball people are pointing out right now, some of the game's biggest stars get placed on waivers each year. But still, it's cause for some unease.