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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174 Comments on "Cliff Lee Trade Unlikely"


the_show
3 years 1 month ago

Gonna be interesting….always is when Cliff Lee is in play

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Maybe he regrets signing with Philly yet?

Tyler Sekula
3 years 1 month ago

I dont think he regrets signing with them. They were supposed to be very good ( and they were last year) but are having a down season.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

They don’t really have the money to fill their needs in the offseason.

Bret Wask
3 years 1 month ago

… because they signed Cliff Lee for a crazy contract. (not to mention have another $110m locked into 5 other players…)

3 years 1 month ago

What happened to Ruben saying he wants to build the team around the 3 Aces?

tim2nyy
3 years 1 month ago

Not much $ left to build with if you keep those 3.

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

Think money is secondary to the fact that the Phillies have too many holes and not enough players/prospects to fill them. But trading Cliff might not be good for team morale or fan morale for that matter. Unless they get a kings ransom back.

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

Nolan and his mancrush on Cliff may just make that possible.

Nimphiusforever
3 years 1 month ago

It looks like the Phils could be down to 1 Ace if Lee is moved? Doc looks about 50% of the pitcher that came over from Toronto. I’m a big Lee fan and I would hate to see him traded again. At least if he returns to Texas, he will have a shot to play for a strong contender. The Phils have so many holes to fill(3B, LF, bullpen) that trading Cliff andor Hunter Pence could bring some help.

Karkat
3 years 1 month ago

The problem is three aces taking up over a third (I think?) of the luxury tax limit is pretty unmanageable

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Their AAV’s when Hamels starts his next year will be $69M. is 1/3 exactly of their 189M.

Karkat
3 years 1 month ago

If it’s 69 then it’s a little bit more, but 189 itself is above the luxury tax cutoff, right?

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Yea sorry, 178M this and next, 2014 it rises 189, but it gets more punitive. Phillies payroll is 173; so it’s 40%

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

yess – the darkhorse blockbuster shaping up!

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

Rube’s going crazy with all these trades. After the deadline we might not have have of our roster. Haha

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

I think Ruben likes trading players for the sake of trading players. He should probably go to a Compulsive Traders Anonymous meeting.

rockfordone
3 years 1 month ago

he can join Kenny Williams – meetings are Wed @ six

Guest
3 years 1 month ago

I heard Ruben can only sleep if he gets a good crying session in.

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

Crying makes the sad go away.

bigpat
3 years 1 month ago

no tears, only dreams now

coolstorybro222
3 years 1 month ago

where he’ll meet the whole front office of the marlins.

NathanielFaunce
3 years 1 month ago

He does seem trigger happy, but he’s got a lot of money tied up to just a few players. He’s gotta tighten his belt somewhere. Cliff Lee would get him a lot of salary room and a lot of young talent. Makes sense to me, but I’m a Texas fan.

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

I’m actually excited about Amaro doing this. We’ve all seen that same team run on the field for 5 years now, it’s about time for a change. Hopefully I hope the Rangers get Lee because it would be almost impossible for Amaro to screw up with that farm.

NathanielFaunce
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah, it seems like a realistic match too. I hear Philly wants a near-MLB ready 3B prospect and some young pitching. Texas has some of the best in the game. Texas wants a SP. Cliff Lee is one of the best in the game.

I think it will hinge on money. Philly will have to pick up a portion of that contract. I think 10-20% will get them a nice package of prospects.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

That is not nearly enough money if they want a nice package of prospects. Lee’s salary: 13: 25M 14: 25M 16: 25M 16: 27.5M option (12.5M) Basically is he worth 15M.
Even if the Phillies eat 20% of his contract that is still costing teams 20M per year. He is a good pitcher but will be 34 in a month so they would basically have him till he is 38. If the Phillies eat 10-20% they only would get a fringe prospect at most. They would have to eat at least 40% minimum to get any value.

East Coast Bias
3 years 1 month ago

Trade market just got real.

3 years 1 month ago

Fine with me, we can go get someone else suitable next year like Shaun Marcum or Anibal Sanchez who arent cliff lee but more than capable of filling in. Im all for this firesale crap. If we can have a huge chunk of money for next year for free agents while getting the farm system stocked, every philly fan should be happy

3 years 1 month ago

Philly fans are never happy, they throw snowballs at Santa for Christ sakes.

rickjimbo
3 years 1 month ago

Gotta remove the snow from the streets somehow

craigcounsellhitsbombs
3 years 1 month ago

Lee probably gets much higher offer from Texas but takes a pay cut to play in Philly.

Gets traded to Texas anyway?

Guess that’s one way to get your man, Nolan.

(I’m just assuming that if he does get traded, the Rangers are the most likely destination.)

ajb3313
3 years 1 month ago

So much irony. When Lee signed with Philly a year and a half ago, no one saw it coming. Everyone assumed it’d be Texas.

He’d be going into a good situation, but you’ve got to think Cliff would be a little pissed to have signed that deal just to get flipped at the first sign of times getting tough.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Your fair game unless you sign a ntc into your contract. He should know that.

3 years 1 month ago

Cannot believe the Phillies would trade their true ace away. It’s like they are traders to their fans.

tim2nyy
3 years 1 month ago

If they trade him then they are in fact traders.

T28C
3 years 1 month ago

The true ace is Cole Hamels in tha

3 years 1 month ago

It’s like they’re traitors to their fans as well.

Hey Its Placido Polanco
3 years 1 month ago

So…….Olt + _____ + ______ ?

Pecos_Drifter
3 years 1 month ago

Olt + Holland + Perez?

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

I don’t think there’s any way Holland enters that equation.

NathanielFaunce
3 years 1 month ago

I can’t see Texas trading Holland, Feliz, or Ogando. They’re making a push to finally win a World Series so trading any of those guys would be counter productive. Leo Martin is a possibility if Philly throws in Pence.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

Olt + Perez + Martin for Lee & Pence … make it happen Nolan!!!

notsureifsrs
3 years 1 month ago

that’s actually probably not too far off

3 years 1 month ago

prob would have to include Buckel or someone too though

3 years 1 month ago

I would not do that at all, that’s a lot of good prospects for Lee who has a huge contract is about to be 34. I was all for bringing back Lee after 2010 but he left and now he’s older and not as good.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

The Rangers are going to lose Josh and most likely Napoli in the offseason. If this team doesn’t win the World Series this year (as management has stated is their #1 goal) it may be a while before they have a chance again.

Prospects be damned! For every prospect that has made it to the majors and succeeded I can name 10 that have not. Remember when Thomas Diamond was untouchable? Or how about Drew Meyer? Smoak was supposed to be a stud and where is he? Or how about Ruben Mateo?!? He was untouchable too.

Anytime you can get proven MLB players for prospects you do it. Prospects are nothing better than a crapshoot at best.

NathanielFaunce
3 years 1 month ago

I agree with you to an extent. But JD can’t go nuts and overpay. I’d like to get Lee back as much as any Ranger fan, but remember we have Ogando. If Philly won’t kick in some money for Lee’s contract, I wouldn’t gut the farm system for him. Texas could trade much less for someone like Broxton or Betancourt and have a very good #2 starter in Ogando.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

Broxton or Betancourt are not winning this team a World Series. Adding to the bullpen is a luxury, and it won’t win squat. Not when the Angels are running out CJ, Weaver, Haren and Greinke. The Rangers must make a move for a top tier SP to even compete with that.

NathanielFaunce
3 years 1 month ago

Certainly getting Lee would be better than getting Broxton or Betancourt. No argument there. My point is just that Texas has a lot of flexibility and they don’t necessarily need to overpay to stay ahead of the Angels and be a formidable WS contender.

Would I trade Olt, Perez, Grimm, and Borbon for Lee, Pence, and cash? Probably. But I’d be very careful about giving up too much young talent. Martin and Profar are obviously off the table. Some cash would also have to be included.

If Philly balks and asks for the moon, I’m fine with getting a reliever or two, keeping the big prospects and all the money and putting Ogando and/or Feliz back in the rotation. Texas has options is my only point.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

The issue is, without getting a starter the Rangers are left with a starting rotation of Yu, Holland, Harrisson and Oswalt (IF his back can stay healthy which is a big IF) with Feldman (better lately but do you trust him), Ogando (who know how he would react to starting again) or Feliz (not even pitching in rehab right now) as their 4th and 5th starter. To me, the prospect of that is terrifying.

NathanielFaunce
3 years 1 month ago

From a Rangers’ perspective, that might be do-able. Texas may not include Martin, but they would include Borbon. It’s a whole lot of talent for Texas to give up, but it might be worth it if Philly picks up a little bit of Lee’s contract. Maybe $10 million?

randyfastman
3 years 1 month ago

As a Phils fan I would probably do that… Honestly the most realistic proposal I’ve seen on here

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

It’s going to cost a lot for the Rangers to get him (and Pence) but as a Rangers fan I do it. Pence helps buffer the loss of Josh next year and Lee is under control for 4 more years. Win-Win situation.

YanksFanSince78
3 years 1 month ago

Lee is not “under control”…he’s under contract for a very healthy market value of $22-$25 mil annually.

The whole control thing only matters when it’s below market value. Oddly…you could probably get more for Lee if he were a free agent than if he weren’t owed $90-$100 mil for the next 4 years.

3 years 1 month ago

gotta be Olt + Perez + Buckel? I’m sure Leury Garcia will enter the conversation, as will Leonys Martin

Catztradamus
3 years 1 month ago

martin + Perez

Kevin Allen
3 years 1 month ago

Now Lee I would be willing to give up prospects for!

Mike Vasquez
3 years 1 month ago

You dont have any prospects lol

Bob
3 years 1 month ago

Im sure Lee wont get moved unless the name Jurickson Profar is in the deal.

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

I think the Phillies are more interested in Olt because of the glaring need at 3B and the lack of them on the market.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

You’re crazy. The name Mike Olt will be – Rangers are not moving Profar for anyone.

3 years 1 month ago

Profar will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be in a deal

gnats
3 years 1 month ago

Unless it was for like 6 years of Kershaw. And Elvis would have to be locked up. That’s about the only thing I would ever trade Profar for.

3 years 1 month ago

Obviously, if Elvis was locked up and we could get Kershaw, but that wouldn’t happen lol and even then it’d be tough, Profar is so freaking good

Catztradamus
3 years 1 month ago

never say never. If Jack called and offered Felix around Profar? he’s gone.

3 years 1 month ago

dont be so sure, a SS like Profar is incredibly rare

Sully65
3 years 1 month ago

You can move a Profar for a Lee or Felix when you are lucky enough to have a more than capable SS like Elvis already MLB ready. Now that Greinke is with Angels, the Angels have a major pitching edge over the Rangers. The Rangers need another arm.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

Elvis will be a FA in two years and loves the Yankees. Oh and his agent is Scott Boras… Elvis won’t be here much longer!

Sully65
3 years 1 month ago

Very interested in seeing the package it takes to get Lee. The Phillies have got to rob the store if they do deal him.

melonis_rex
3 years 1 month ago

then the phillies are eating almost 100% of his salary.

3 years 1 month ago

Shoulda happened last week…. might’ve given the Braves a chance at Greinke…

mgsports
3 years 1 month ago

Dodgers/Cardinals need him because Rangers don’t want to give up like Olt.

3 years 1 month ago

we will give up Olt for Lee, JD loves Cliff

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

Do we know which 8 teams he cant block trades to?

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

Texas and NYY are definitely two of them.

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

I don’t believe Texas was one either. Maybe I’m wrong.

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

Yankees, Braves, Marlins aren’t on the list, but you can count out the last two. Dunno about Texas.

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

Per 7/21 post by Mike Axisa:

“Cliff Lee does not have the Rangers on his 21-team no-trade list according to Heyman.”

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

There you go. So Yanks and Texas are in play.

the_show
3 years 1 month ago

I’m curious to know this as well

3 years 1 month ago

Texas, Yankees, Braves, Marlins and Four Others if I recall correctly.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

Texas and NYY are 2 of the 8 for sure.

Redding
3 years 1 month ago

This is Buster Olney getting back at the Phillies for ruining his Hamels to the Dodgers trade rumor he had been milking for months.

nathanville
3 years 1 month ago

Olt + Perez + Martin for Lee & Pence(?) … I think the Rangers still need to find another hitter in this market. Pence, Morneau, CarGo, Upton… SOMEONE!

3 years 1 month ago

I hope CarGo, but that’s doubtful

3 years 1 month ago

Hasn’t Ruben done enough already? @FanSince09 is already in a coma over the Hammels signing.

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

It’s Hamels.

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

Thats the joke. Its kind of a Philly blog running gag.

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

Like Holliday for Halladay?

Bender44
3 years 1 month ago

@Jim_C11:disqus Far more intentional than that. Fansince09 is a long running troll account that unconditionally hates Cole Hamels, referring to him as Coal Hammels. Its kind of a parody of radio talk show callers. The joke is kind of in the name – FanSince09.

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

Haha I understand, thanks for clearing that up.

Jimcass134
3 years 1 month ago

So it’s funny putting an extra letter in a name? That’s quite a dry sense of humor you got there.

Tyler Sekula
3 years 1 month ago

Hmmm. Maybe you can see the Red Sox get in on this? They said they wanted an ace and only would move player to get an ace. Cliff Lee is an ace.

101andCounting
3 years 1 month ago

While it isn’t impossible, I’d think that any package that brings Cliff Lee to the Red Sox would have to start with Will Middlebrooks, and I don’t see the Red Sox making that move.

Tyler Sekula
3 years 1 month ago

I dont think it would HAVE to start with Middlebrooks. Iglesias, Bradley jr, Barnes…maybe two of those and 1 or two lower level prospects would get it done.

johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

Can make this really easy…

NO CHANCE Boston gives Philly *1* of Barnes, Bradly, Middlebrooks for lee and then pays Lee 90m over 3 seasons.

No chance Philly gets any of those 3 in any deal period…

Philly skimmed the 2 low salary seasons from the Lee contract and see no way they can get any team out there to pay an average of nearly 30m over 3 years to give anything, even the lowest of prospects for him, much less pay him.

Ditto Texas. The NYY wouldn’t even bite on that amount. Better go back to the drawing board and get some $$$ out of the reserves, like an average of 15m a season, cause there just isn’t a team out there willing to choke down 30m a year over 3 seasons for ANY SP.

Boston was not looking to move *1* of Barnes/Bogaerts/bradley in a possible Justin Upton deal if it couldn’t be avoided and he is 25YO, why would they for a massively overpaid wrong side of 30YO pitcher?

Tyler Sekula
3 years 1 month ago

I never said they would do it, I just said that I believe that’s what it would take to get Lee on the Red Sox. I was purely speculating that they could possibly get into talk but expect the Red Sox to do absolutely nothing at the deadline. If anything, trade shoppach, sweeney, aviles (those type of players) for bullpen help. Shoppach will probably be moved to make way for Lavarnway.

The only way the Red Sox trade Barnes/Bogaerts/Bradley is for King Felix. That’s the only way one of them is traded in my opinion. I just said that is what it would take to get Lee.

johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

Boston has plenty of BP pieces already to move, way, way too many even with Atchisson and Bailey on the DL. They need to find a roster spot soon for Chris Carpenter, Daniel Bard and Mortenson. Mortenson has been one of the best relievers all year, but has been on the AAA shuttle with Tazawa because they both have options. Rich Hill also on the DL and they need to come back.

Most effective BP in the AL (last checked ) since end of April and just too many pieces.

Agree they need to move Sweeney and Shoppach, wouldn’t bother me to move Salty either. Ditto Aviles.

I don’t see any of the “B” prospects going anywhere really. They have enough depth and desirable people in Cecchini, Jacobs, Brentz that on some teams those people would be the guys teams were actually after in all trade talks.

Tyler Sekula
3 years 1 month ago

The fact that the Red Sox are only 4 games of the WC without one of their more reliable relievers in Atchison, their big offseason acquisition in Bailey and players like Daniel Bard, Lester, Beckett, Crawford playing subpar baseball this year is beyond me.

Salty is going no where. They have had a man crush on that guy for the longest time and when they finally got him last year, they knew he would do what he is doing this year. He’s been one of the only solid producers (despite his long stretch of sucking) that they have had this year. I only think Shoppach gets moved to make room for Lavarnway who is having a good year this year in the minors. And Aviles might be moved to get Ciriaco the full time job at SS until Iglesias or Bogaerts are ready (a couple of years).

Tyler Sekula
3 years 1 month ago

Bogaerts would be very high on their list, but i think HE is the untouchable prospect.