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Cliff Lee's agent: we didn't force a trade

Dec 15, 2009, 1:20 PM EDT

Early yesterday
it was reported that Cliff Lee was demanding $23 million a year. A few
hours later, Philly fans’ hopes of a 1-2 punch of Halladay and Lee were
shattered, Lee was on his way west, and Mariners fans were jumping for
absolute joy.  The conventional wisdom that has emerged: Lee’s
extension demands were way more than the Phillies wanted to pay him,
and rather than rent an increasingly brooding Cliff Lee for 2009, they
flipped him for prospects to cover for those that were sent north to
Toronto, turning what would have been an audacious move into a merely
good, albeit decidedly lateral move.

Not so, says Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker:

At no point did we make any sort of financial demands. The negotiations were in the very preliminary stages. As
recently as [Monday], both sides would have characterized the
discussions as encouraging. Unfortunately, something transpired that we
had no control over that dictated this move . . . Since the end of the postseason, his intent was to remain there beyond
next season. That’s been the goal. Unfortunately, some circumstances
transpired that we couldn’t control.”

Braunecker
says that they didn’t get very far down the road with Philly, so that
the reports that have Lee’s demands forcing the trade are inaccurate.

But “something transpired that we had no control over that dictated this
move”?  “[S]ome circumstances transpired that we couldn’t control”? 
All that sounds rather funny, doesn’t it?  It’s the sort of detached
language one uses to try and distance oneself from trouble without
putting too fine a point on specific blame.

Like, say, describing someone getting up and storming away from the
negotiating table without admitting that they got up because you were
being crazy with your demands.

  1. Jeff - Dec 15, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    I believe what the agent is doing is called damage control. He doesn’t want his client looking like a greedy a-hole, so he has to spin it that way. Why else would the Phillies swap aces? There is no realisitc reason other than they thought they could get Halladay cheaper. I hope Lee enjoys Seattle!

  2. Pimpin Pete - Dec 15, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Is anyone really surprised after Lee’s smugness during his WS starts?

  3. FJRinLA - Dec 15, 2009 at 1:56 PM

    It’s possible that both Lee and the Phillies are telling the truth.
    The agent may have done nothing more than not indicate their intention to test the free agent market if the sides could not agree, as has been previously reported.
    That may have been enough provocation for the team to pursue swapping aces since Halladay was clearly willing to sign a long-term deal NOW to get out of Toronto.

  4. Annie - Dec 15, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    I can’t imagine why Lee wouldn’t love Seattle. He pitches well there, and it’s a beautiful city!

  5. AIDAN - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:09 PM

    WHY WOULD THEY TRADE THE BEST PITCHER OF THE WORLD SERIES? I KNOW THE PHILS LOST AND ALL BUT IF I WERE CLIFF I WOULD HAVE TAKEN ANYTHING THE PHILS OFFERED TO ME.

  6. pat - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    thank you Cliff .And good luck

  7. Rickster - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Yeah, let’s see how the Seattle fans take to this clown’s styling act — Yeah, he’s worth $23 million. Right. That smug jerk.

  8. smokehouse - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    He has appeared in his last world series. Sometimes greed does not make sense. Why the hell would he want to leave Philly and go to a team that has no chance in hell of going to the world series. Follow the money. His agent is just spinning the horrible outcome for his client. He has more money than he and his family will ever need yet he just blew off a possible world series ring. Plus he will not have a hitting team behind him like he had in Philly. My God, is the man nuts?

  9. tony - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    This is the phillies M.O. They’re gonna lose drabek and a few others. Halliday will come in and pull a hamstring. Cliff Lee will win a series in Seattle. Just like when Charlie got all fancy with the pitchers in the series, he’s going to out-think himself again now. Sad

  10. James - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    Gentlemen…Lee is on his way to…The NEW YORK YANKEES!!! Think about it. One year in Seattle he becomes afree agent and the Yankees pounce. Welcome to New York City Cliff Lee. Your championship ring awaits you.

  11. don - Dec 15, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    Smokehouse — I would research Seattle a little more. They are definitely up and coming and bet will challenge the Angels this year.

  12. crash521 - Dec 15, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    I,m a huge Phillies fan. But as someone who loves the game of baseball I’m a little disappointed. “Testing the market” and “working on extending a contract” are two different things. I liked Cliff Lee a lot. He seems to be a good citizen, quality guy. My opinion of him hasn’t changed. But it shows that all players chase the $ sign in above anything else. Aaron Rowan said that the most important thing to him was winning another World Series. He left a contender and signed with a Giants team that wasn’t really a contender at the time, chasing the $ sign. Mike Hampton left the contending Mets and chased the & signs to Colorado. The Phillies ended trading the prospects from last July and two of the top rated twenty five rated prospects (Baseball America)today for Halladay and Ben Francisco (who they received last July with Cliff Lee). The Phillies could have just traded the two prospects last July and gotten Halladay. The Phillies major league team is marginally better today, while the organization may not be as strong. Your ace can only start 34 games whether it is Lee or Halladay. But if Lee was testing the market and lost to the Phillies after this year, then they made a good deal.

  13. Head Bee Guy - Dec 15, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    It’s been said here a thousand times, and I’ll say it again: Darek Braunecker is terrible for baseball. His insane demands are ruining competitiveness in baseball. I hope teams start refusing to talk to this jerk.

  14. prego - Dec 15, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    I love the Yankees fans who call Cliff Lee smug because he showed up the beloved Yankees during the first game of the WS. You would take him in a NY minute if you could. His smugness would fit the Yankees perfectly!

  15. Doris Fernandez - Dec 16, 2009 at 1:01 AM

    I’am a big fan of the phillies, and have enjoyed watching Lee pitch for them..we will miss him, but think Halladay is an OK replacement..unfortunately for sports, money is the big draw..you go where the money goes..hope Lee does ok with his $23 million..
    for his sake hope he doesn’t end up in N.Y.
    that doesn’t seem like his style of City..

  16. Fitz - Dec 18, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    The Phils’ MO is to be in two and likely 3 straight world series. What’s sad is your laughable mention of the Mariners in the WS. Mets fan by any chance?

  17. Jim O'Brian - Feb 11, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    You are a very smart person!

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