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Cole Hamels wants to pitch with Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee could be traded

Jul 25, 2012, 5:31 PM EDT

Or: Great Moments in mildly b.s. justifications for accepting a giant contract. First, Jerry Crasnick:

Then, Jon Paul Morosi:

Four general managers of other clubs told Wednesday that Lee is not yet formally available, but other executives expect Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will consider offers for the left-hander leading up to next Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline.

Rival team officials believe Amaro has little choice but to at least explore the market for Lee, who has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract after this season.

Cole Hamels is no idiot. He knows, like every other player knows, that one cannot choose one’s teammates and that someone who is here today may very well be — actually, almost certainly will be — gone tomorrow.  If Hamels actually told his agent “hey, I wanna sign because Cliff Lee is there,” his agent would have smacked him over the head and told him to grow up.

There are only two relevant reasons why Cliff Lee signed with Philly: the money was where it needed to be and he likes the organization. Maybe throw in the city itself. Point is, it’s not the teammates or, more to the point, their future tenure with the team.  Saying so is a nice bit of morale boosting in the clubhouse, it may be a nice thing to say about friends on the team and it certainly gives the media an answer to the “why did you sign” question that isn’t “$144 million, dudes!”

But there’s no way that kind of thing can reasonably be a determining factor unless you assume — which you should not assume — that Cole Hamels just fell off the turnip truck and doesn’t know that anyone can be dealt at any time.

  1. sc101071 - Jul 25, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    And, “I signed because I wanted to pitch with Lee and Halliday” sounds a lot better than, “Sorry Cliff, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

    • jl9830 - Jul 25, 2012 at 10:46 PM


  2. sc101071 - Jul 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    And what’s up with this team pushing up the cost of top tier pitching then unloading the contracts to other teams. If you want the arm, you have to pay what WE said he was worth, or eventually eating some of the cost. so weird that one team can affect the market so much. It’s kind of like oil market speculation.

    • chew1985 - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      Phils’ offer to Lee was not the highest. Yankees would probably upped the ante if he hadn’t signed when he did. Don’t blame the Phillies for Hamels’ 144 million either. He would have gotten even more if he waited until this winter.

      The Phillies are not driving the pitching market. Texas, LA and NY will demonstrate the truth of that statement in about 4 months. Hang on to your wallets.

      • sc101071 - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:18 PM

        No, I say Phillies bc of the number of pitchers making that money. Overall though, the big money clubs are making the top pitchers unattainable for the smaller market clubs.

        (Not that that is definitive in a 7 game series.)

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    “There are only two relevant reasons why Cliff Lee signed with Philly:…”

    I thought it was because the Yankees were too old and he was afraid injuries and ineffectiveness might derail their quest for another world series. Dodged a bullet there, didn’t ya Cliffy?

  4. Nick C - Jul 25, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Whoa! I had no idea that Cliff Lee was owed $29.16m/year over the next 3 years. I understand that this $$ calculation includes the $12.5m buyout in 2016. If the buyout is not exercised he is owed $102.5m over 4 years ($25.625m/year). I find it hard to believe that the Phils would be able to get much of anything in return for him with that kind of jack owed. He’s a good pitcher but he is being paid like he’s the best in the game. Backloaded contracts are idiotic.

    • Nick C - Jul 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Wow! Just read the details on Lee’s contract and the option vests if he pitches 200ip in 2015 or a total of 400ip in 2014 & 2015 combined. Furthermore, the next 4 seasons will be Lee’s age 34-37 seasons. Ruben Amaro must think steroids will be making a comeback.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 25, 2012 at 7:18 PM

        People were all giddy when he signed with the Phillies for “Less Money”. The Phillies offered more per season than either the Yanks or Rangers did- they just offered another year. If the Phillies hadn’t ponied up at the last minute and gave him more money per season and less years, believe me, he wasn’t signing with Philly. With the vesting option and everything else- I wonder how much less actual money he took to sign with Philly.

  5. wilkisoft - Jul 25, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Rangers fans everywhere are licking their lips at the possibility of acquiring Lee again. Hope he breaks their collective hearts again. Go Red Sox!

    • beefytrout - Jul 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      No, we really aren’t.

  6. kvanhorn87 - Jul 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    What if RAJ assured him that he would not trade cliff lee or halladay? Doubt it but you never know. Cliff and Cole have lockers next to each other and their wives are best friends. I am sure that he would not have signed if he believes that his signing would jettison the lee’s again.

    • chadjones27 - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      I highly doubt that had anything to do with it. Think of it this way. If Cole doesn’t sign a big contract now, he’s not going to sign a smaller contract to possibly keep Cliff Lee on the Phillies. So, if he doesn’t sign a contract now, he’s gone at the end of the season, because more likely than not, another team will out-bid the Phillies in the off season. So, with this logic, he’s only pitching with Cliff for another 2 1/2 months, tops.

  7. phillyphan83 - Jul 25, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    CC, the first line in the second-to-last paragraph should read “there are only two relevant reasons why COLE HAMELS signed with Philly”

  8. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 25, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Pretty funny considering it will be Cole’s way to large contract that’s going to get Lee traded. Oh irony, you devil you!

  9. drunkenhooliganism - Jul 25, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    I think he just publicly neutered RAJ. He’s telling him not to trade Lee.

  10. dkphilly1122 - Jul 25, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Brew, it’s way TOO large contract. Don’t hate on the Phillies signing Hamels to a large contract because the Brewers would never be able to afford what the Phillies can. It’s not our fault no one likes playing for the Brew crew, even Greinke wants out. Smart choice for a great young pitcher. Plus they can’t afford him, throwing 5 years/ 100 mill at him and he turned them down.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jul 25, 2012 at 7:43 PM

      Ha! You put me in my place didn’t you! Wow! Boy is their egg on my face. You my friend are a true wordsmith!

  11. parasonic - Jul 25, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    did Hamels sign his contract with a quill by candlelight? that would’ve real old school.

  12. lancer255 - Jul 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Last time I checked baseball doesn’t have a salary cap and the phillies don’t mind spending money. I don’t understand why they would trade Cliff Lee for prospects for money relief. According to Cots baseball contracts the Phils will have $131mm in payroll for 2013 including Hamels new deal and $108mm in 2014. Granted they will need to fill holes but that is no where near the luxury tax. People need to relax and enjoy the moment.

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