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Cliff Lee trade talk heating up; Rangers in play

Jul 30, 2012, 1:02 PM EDT

The competitive portion of the Phillies season seems to be over, so there has been a lot of chatter about them selling now. That Hunter Pence thing that was shot down is some of it. Joe Blanton is some other stuff. And now the Cliff Lee trade watch is getting into swing:

Buster Olney adds that Lee is “in play in trade talks.”

Lee has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract. If they traded him without eating  oodles of dough, they’d get little in exchange. If they ate up oodles of dough, they’d defeat a large part of the purpose of trading Cliff Lee.

I dunno. It sounds like a sexy deal and all, but the Rangers have had Cliff Lee in their Worlds Series rotation and he didn’t make the difference then, so I’m skeptical that they’d give up big prospects or eat big salary to try it again.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Well to be fair Cliffy only had two games in that WS, so you know… sample size and all that.

  2. ame123 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    That last comment is full of ignorance. Rangers wouldn’t even sniff the WS if Lee wasn’t on their team.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      They seemed to do just fine geting there without him last year and if you minus Lee- it was pretty much the same team.

      • biasedhomer - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        That is true, the Rangers would be watching some other team in the WS that year.

      • pw38 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Same team? Napoli and Beltre say hi.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        I said it was PRETTY MUCH the same team. How many teams do you know that look exactly the same every year? The pitching staff was the same, no?

      • pw38 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Sure every line up goes through changes from year to year, you’re correct. Still it’s hard to overstate the importance of Napoli and Beltre. Their line up is significantly improved with them, especially when they’re hot.

        As for the pitching staff, yeah there’s been a lot of movement but with the same people from 2010 to 2011. Well except for the bullpen. That was drastically improved in 2011.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I have to agree, but I actually don’t see the reason why the Rangers should make this deal. Philly is just looking to dump salary because they can’t have that much dough tied up in the pitching staff. If they keep Lee, it hampers their ability to spend at other positions where they need the help. Lee used the Rangers and Yankees to bleed more money from the Phillies. If I’m either of those teams, I tell Amuaro and Lee to enjoy their life together, lol.

    • biasedhomer - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      So in your mind, the whole point of baseball is to get “even” with other organizations and players.

      This mentality reveals much about your own personality.

      • skeleteeth - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        You don’t know the half of it….

      • CJ - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        get over yourself. That is very much a real thing in sports. Do you really think Dan Gilbert would trade for Lebron James right now? Sports are full of egos. I doubt Texas would make the deal if they had a choice, but with their rotation as it is and the quality of pitchers available, they may not have a choice.

        Also, the Phillies are hampered by deals such as Lee’s, and it’s keeping them from improving the team elsewhere. Meanwhile, could Texas afford to bring in Lee and resign Hamilton? If they make the deal, they could find themselves in the same situation before too long, if not with Hamilton, then with the next guy after him. Yo’d think they’d look at the Phils and learn a lesson, not repeat it.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        Why would you want to do business with a guy who strung you along so he could get more money from somewhere else? I say let him and Amauro enjoy their mistake together for the next 3 seasons or so. Also, that contract was a bad one and most of the pay out comes over the rest of the life of it with signs that the pitcher might be slowing down with age. Why on earth would they want to take that on? I’d rather trade for Fat Joe.

  4. visnovsky - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Those silly Phillies. Giving out $100+ million contracts one day and dumping salary the next.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Lets start a rumor that the Jays are interested in both Lee and Doc! Free Doc! Return him to Toronto. We will also take Lee for free! We can afford them. The Phillies can’t.

      • Old Gator - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        And herein somewhere doubtless lies the reason the airwaves of Macondo went shtum yesterday about Josh Johnson to the Rangers.

  5. number42is1 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    So the word of the day is “sexy”?

    • biasedhomer - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Craig seems to have some sort of affection towards Phillies pitchers.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Craig has always maintained that it’s the fans he can’t stand, that he likes and he’s even downright fond of the Phillies’ players… so long as it doesn’t turn into fondling it’s all good.

    • harrysatchel - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      I’m glad someone else noticed that Craig has managed to squeeze the word “Sexy” into two stories, in less than an hour.

  6. Mike, the Mad Beard - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    You’re forgetting that Lee helped pitch Texas to the WS in the 1st place. He won games 1 & 5 of the ALDS and also won game 3 of the ALCS. His importance to that first successful playoff run cannot be understated.

    Also consider that Colby Lewis is out for the season, so the Rangers have 3 young, still untested guys and 1 old guy with back problems.

    In a lot of ways, Lee makes sense. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, though.

    • seeingwhatsticks - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      Edgar Renteria says that Cliff Lee did win the World Series in 2010, it just wasn’t for the Rangers.

      • Mike, the Mad Beard - Jul 30, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        You’re giving too little credit to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

  7. treye2 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Man, Cliff Lee is paid! Over $29 million a year!

    • forthand26 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      It’s actually $75M over 3 years with a $27.5M vesting option or $12.5M buyout for the 4th year. So it would only be $87.5M if you bought out the 4th year (the 4th year becomes vested if he pitches 200 innings in 2015 or 400 innings in 2014-2015).

      So if it vests or they option is picked up, it’s $102.5M over 4 years or $25.6M per year.

      • pw38 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Which is in-line with what they were wanting to pay him in the first place. I just don’t like losing Olt but hey you gotta win now and worry later. Besides, maybe they can keep Olt and give up Perez and some others. All I know is it just seems like they need to make a move if for no other reasons than it shows they’re trying to be competitive and maybe sparks the hitters. They all loved Cliff in the first place.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Lewis is gone, Feliz may need TJS, Ogando will ‘try’ to transition to rotation, Harrison has a 5.39 K/9, Darvish has a nearly 4.5 BB/9.

    They could use a little help in the rotation come playoff time.

  9. number42is1 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I’m pretty sure that if this Happens someone in the Halo’s organization is gonna swear REALLY loud.

  10. sictransitchris - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    How about them four aces, eh?

    • forthand26 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Are you referencing Oswalt as an ace? Haven’t heard the four ace term in about a year.

      • CJ - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        What? Joe Blanton isn’t an ace? Next thing I know you’re going to try to convince my Ryan Howard is overpaid….

  11. sdelmonte - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I don’t see this happening but…

    Cleveland-Philly-Seattle-Texas-Philly-Texas. That would be some wild ride for a four year span.

    I wonder if he might regret not signing with the Yankees. Then again, did anyone predict this season in Philly?

  12. mungman69 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Does Texas need starting pitching? Yes. Why not Cliff Lee but I don’t think that the Phillies will trade him.

  13. legacybroken - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    This smells like a Tigers all in gamble.

  14. annaalamode - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    The competitive portion of the Phillies season has been over for at least a month though I am glad that the front office has finally realize that.

  15. paperlions - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    The problem for Philly is that they paid more than anyone else was willing to pay in AAV, and Lee hasn’t done anything since then to suggest he is worth THAT much. He is a very good pitcher….but not THAT good.

    Philly would probably have to each some contract just to trade him, they would have to eat a LOT of it if they expect to get decent prospects back as well. If you asked the Rangers if they would add Cliff to their roster for free if it meant taking on the rest of his contract….they’d probably turn that deal down….and so would nearly every other team.

    • sjhaack - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      You saw last year’s Cy Young voting, correct? Kershaw, Halladay and Lee had identical seasons. So all he’s did was pitch the Tied-For-First best season in the NL last year. But he’s not THAT good.

      WHY are they trading Cliff Lee? It’s so incredibly counterproductive to contending next year that I can’t stand it.

      • paperlions - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:35 PM

        No, he isn’t good enough for a team to pay him $25M/year for the next 3 years and then to give him either $27.5M or a $12M buyout….so that is either $87.5M for the next 3 years or $102.5M for the next 4 years with him being 38 when the contract ends.

        No, he isn’t that good now and he won’t be that good over the next 3/4 years to justify that kind of payout unless you are a team that doesn’t care at all about the luxury tax.

  16. muir6 - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Paging Brian Cashman one more try Brian

  17. wj4122 - Jul 30, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    I know of a team willing to take on monster salaries and needs a starter of lee’s qualities…..dodgers

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