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Cliff Lee Trade Unlikely

TUESDAY, 1:04pm: The Phillies have halted all trade talk involving Lee, tweets Stark.

MONDAY, 4:06pm: Philadelphia's discussions with Texas about Lee have all but ended, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (via Buster Olney on Twitter).  A trade sending Lee back to Texas is "not going to happen," Stark reports (on Twitter).  Such a trade would be complicated and may be easier to complete during the offseason.  Talks between the Rangers and Phillies never gained momentum, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter link).  The Phillies offered Texas little salary relief.

1:00pm: The Dodgers are not in on Lee, hears Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Rangers consider Lee a long shot, while an industry source who spoke to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan puts the chances at less than one percent.

11:29am: Cliff Lee is in play in trade talks today, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Olney considers the Rangers the most logical landing spot, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post names them the frontrunners.  Olney says the Yankees are not expected to be in the mix due to lack of budget space.  Sherman talked to one executive who expects Lee to be dealt by this month's deadline or in the offseason, to allow the Phillies to save money and add young players.  On Friday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote that the Phillies' lefty would not be traded this month.

Lee, 33, has a 3.95 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, and 46.7% groundball rate in 118 1/3 innings this year.  More flyballs are leaving the yard and hits are dropping in than usual so far for the southpaw.  Lee's five-year, $120MM deal with the Phillies was one of the big surprises of the 2010-11 offseason.  It's a severely backloaded contract, so $95MM remains through 2015 assuming Lee's 2016 option does not vest.  Lee can block trades to all but eight teams.  The Rangers and Yankees are among those eight, wrote Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports last Wednesday.  At that time, Rosenthal and Morosi wrote that some executives expected the Phillies to consider offers for Lee this month, not long after they locked up Cole Hamels long-term.

Lee has already been involved in four blockbuster trades in his career: as a prospect in June '02 to the Indians, as an ace to the Phillies in July '09, to the Mariners in the 2009-10 offseason, and to the Rangers in July '10.

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