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Report: Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers

Aug 3, 2012, 6:20 PM EDT

cliff lee getty Getty Images

6:20 p.m. EDT Update:’s Jon Morosi reports that the Dodgers were awarded the claim on Lee, but he added that any sort of deal remains unlikely.

The Dodgers as the claiming team make a lot of sense. They were expected to put in a big bid for Cole Hamels this winter, a route that is no longer open to them now that Hamels has signed an extension with the Phillies.


It doesn’t mean anything is going to happen — in fact, it probably makes it less likely that something is going to happen — but Cliff Lee has been claimed on waivers, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.

In a normal case, the claim would give the Phillies three options: to pull the player back, to try to work out a trade with the claiming team or to simply let the player go on waivers. Lee’s no-trade clause, however, applies to a waiver claim just as it would a deal; if the team that claimed him is one of the 21 teams Lee has on the no-trade, then the Phillies wouldn’t be able to let him go without his permission.

Since the Phillies can now deal with just one team instead of potentially multiple suitors, it’d seem to make a Lee deal less likely. Of course, if they want out of his contract badly enough, they could just let him go, assuming the team isn’t on his no-trade, but indications before the deadline were that they wanted significant talent back in return for Lee.

Lee is due about $7 million over the rest of this year, $25 million each of the next three years and then $27.5 million or a $12.5 million buyout in 2016, so the team that claimed him has some guts. He currently stands to be baseball’s highest-paid pitcher from 2013-15.

Update: The first of the denials is in. A source told WEEI’s Rob Bradford that the Red Sox are not the claiming team.

  1. willclarkgameface - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Ruben Amaro Jr. is a fucking idiot. Why on Earth would he even do the Cliff Lee deal in the first place? Rank this up there with Beltran to the Mets, Carl Crawford to Sox, Lackey to Sox, Werth to DC.

    Colossally stupid deals.

    • bigharold - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      You left out, Matsuzaka o the Sox, ..Lugo to the Sox and Rentaria to the Sox too. Just sayin…

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      Or one could argue Amaro is an absolute genius if he gets out from under the deal. He only spent $11 million on Lee last year (a huge bargain), with a $21.5 million salary this year. Just like most deals, the back half is a far worse bet than the front half.

      A team would come out far, far ahead if it could regularly dump players two or three years into long-term deals.

      • bigharold - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        Who is talking Lee without lots of cash? This contract will be worse over the next few years than the Crawford contract.

      • paperlions - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:45 PM

        Well, the Dodgers just volunteered to take the entire contract. Philly would be smart to let him go while they have the chance….so…they’ll probably keep him.

      • SOBEIT - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        Sabean, please put Zito on the waiver wire…hope the Dodgers take him and that fat contract.

    • dondada10 - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Nothing wrong with Beltran to the Mets. Sure, he was injured a lot, but he still essentially lived up to the contract–and netted the Mets Zack Wheeler.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:56 PM

      Was Beltran to the Mets a bad deal? He had a 6 year contract with them. 1 year was terrible because of injury, 2 average years and 3 great ones and then they flipped him for Zach Wheeler. If that’s a bad contract Jim Hendry should be keelhauled for what he gave Soriano.

  2. GoneYickitty - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    That contract is so horrifying. I am really surprised that any team would risk taking that on so it pretty much has to be the Yankees or Angels doesn’t it?

    • bigharold - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      We here on the bridge of the Death Star have determined that we’ve more than our share of BIG contracts to aging players. Therefore, it is the responsibility of others to be fool hardy.

      Might I suggest the O’s or Nats?

    • surefooted1 - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      But that would only make sense though right? So it has to be he Marlins. lol

  3. thomas2727 - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    So Cliff Lee was put on waivers by mystery team or claimed on waivers by mystery team, or both? I am confused.

  4. bovice23 - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    I’m guessing NYY, BAL, PIT, or TEX

    • GoneYickitty - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      I would have to say there is no way in hell the Pirates would suddenly drop $94.5M on 3+ years of a health-challenged pitcher.

      I think the O’s would only be slightly more inclined because their owner has made somewhat similar terrible decisions in the past.

      Maybe possibly the Rangers, but that is just so much money to commit to a question mark. I don’t think they’re that desperate and I don’t think they have enough money to make that move unless they were desperate.

      Would be really interesting to know who it was.

      • beefytrout - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        The phils can work out a trade with the mystery team, so it’s not a given that the MT would be on the hook for the full amount of the contract.

      • GoneYickitty - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM


        The problem with that theory is that a team that puts in the waiver claim is on the hook for the entire amount if the Phillies don’t pull him back and Lee doesn’t or can’t reject the move. A waiver claim is not what you do unless you are willing to risk taking over the contract. Sometimes a team obviously isn’t going to let the player go, but then generally those contracts are more team favorable. This contract is so hideously bad, a GM could not afford to gamble on the Phills pulling him back or not.

        If you want to trade for him and have the Phillies eat some of his contract, you let him go through waivers and then work out a deal. Only then do you not have the risk of being on the hook.

      • beefytrout - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        True, GY.

    • mattyflex - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      I would definitely throw Kansas City’s name in the mix. They like to spend money.

  5. phillyphever - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    This is gonna be very interesting. I wonder if Ruben is gonna let Lee go to that team and have them deal with that contract (which I would do to help accelerate the rebuild process, and yes Phils fans this team needs to start rebuilding. The formula isn’t working anymore. It’s time to start over).

  6. billymc75 - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    They’re already saying it was rejected

  7. throughthewickets - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    A bad contract doesn’t become a good contract two years into the deal. The team that gets him should have just go to the nearest port and buy a boat anchor. It’s cheaper.

    • cleverbob - Aug 4, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      Not true if the contract is heavily front loaded.

  8. cambodianbreastmilk - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    It’s the Padres. Let the rebuilding process begin.

  9. keithbangedyermom - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Yeah…think you meant Bay to the Mets. Bertran was awesome.

  10. crisisjunky - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    I would assume the emtee has a copy of the list of 21, right?

  11. crisisjunky - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Also, consider all that new Dodger$. Anaheim is no longer home to the only “Magic Kingdom” in L.A.,
    and Blanton is a smokescreen for the big move, only being brought out to continue washing Cliff’s sani’s after the game. For Lee, I would definitly give up Alan Webster, plus whatever chump change Magic has in his trouser pocket.

    • phillyphever - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Hell, if the Dodgers are willing to pay the entire contract, dump him there. Wow, Magic Johnson isn’t fooling around trying to win.

    • crisisjunky - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      That was quick.!

  12. goawaydog - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Is there a team out there confident enough that Lee would veto the trade thus sticking the Phillies with the contract?

    • bleedgreen - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      They’re already stuck with the contract… they’re the ones that gave him it.

  13. suhisabeast90 - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Det, White Sox or ATL will be players.

  14. goawaydog - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Ummm …. Nver mind, question retracted.

  15. sgtr0c - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    I love Cliff Lee. But if the Phillies move his contract, they will be contending next year, ……keep him, maybe in five years. They need hiting.

    As for the Dodgers, he is a stud and will help you for long enough to get to the deep play-offs. Hope it works out, might be good for both teams.

  16. bloodysock - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Now if they would just claim Carl Crawford…

  17. seeingwhatsticks - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    It’s pretty amusing to see all this talk about how the Phillies should just dump Cliff Lee given all the “OMG CLIFF LEE BEST ROTATION EVAR LOLZ 120 WINZ” talk before last season.

    • chap6869 - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      They won 102 games last year with that rotation with a ton of injuries and no hitting. Not sure what you were trying to say but it didn’t work! Phillies fans have seen this before( 1983) where the team got old and did nothing to prevent it via trades for prospects etc, instead, trading away prospects (Sandberg) to get to that one last World Series and it took them 10+ years to even sniff the playoffs. At least Amaro is being proactive, freeing up money and gaining prospects. I’d rather retool and get younger with the ability to spend big in free agency in the future than to get old and fade away!

      • seeingwhatsticks - Aug 5, 2012 at 5:48 AM

        Did they win the World Series last year? Did they make it to the World Series last year? Are they about to go in the tank for the foreseeable future? Was their current situation completely predictable?

        What did they get for committing all that money to Lee? Instead of being a top half payroll with a mediocre to poor record they’re going to have one of the biggest payrolls in the game while sporting a mediocre to poor record. I respect committing resources in an effort to go for it when a team is close and has a realistic shot but giving a player 6 years with huge money when the window has already started to close was dumb. The Phillies would have been much better off spending prospects or assuming salary for a player that had a much shorter contract. The Lee contract was all about the fact that they lost to the Giants and didn’t look that good doing it. If Manuel hadn’t been too stubborn to break up Utley and Howard or Amaro had put together a competent bullpen they wouldn’t have felt the need to give Cliff Lee all that money because they might have actually won a 2nd World Series.

  18. pxeeks - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    I am a huge Philly Cliff Lee fan buttttttttt we got him to win in the playoffs and he lost a 4-0 lead to Cardinals. I still love ya but that’s a lot of money for the future on 1 arm. We need hitting. Bring on Hamilton!!

  19. xmatt0926x - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    I’m torn as a Phillies fan. I’d hate to lose the pitching but all logic says to just dump him and use that $25 million somewhere else. I’m laughing……. I’m crying……

  20. pinkfloydprism - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Screw the blue!

  21. cleverbob - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    What sounds better, Los Angeles Phillies or just Phillies West?

    • chap6869 - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Well, we helped the Kings win a cup, might as well help the Dodgers as well,lol.

  22. beavertonsteve - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Philadelphia Phillies of Los Angeles?

  23. ryanrockzzz - Aug 3, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    All these Phillies “fans” that are all over RAJ now were the same ones calling into WIP two years ago saying, “how could they trade him away, we have to get him back!”

    You gotta take chances and spend money to win, or else you get the likes of Omar Daal, Travis Lee etc. Let’s just go back to those days, when the contracts were great and the players were not!

    He’s a good pitcher and I hope the Phillies keep him and re-tool for next year.

    • chap6869 - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

      There’s one problem with that scenario, the Phils are close to the tax penalty threshold next year with just 16 players, not alot of wiggle room, moneywise to improve the team greatly. It can be done but it will take some F/A role players playing over their heads to make that happen. The days of Daal and Travis Lee are alot different then today,The Phillies never spent alot of money to improve the team, with the TV contract thats coming in the near future, Amaro can pick up some prospects and have alot of money to spend next year or sit pat and watch the team get old. He has some tough decisions over the next 6 months!

  24. willclarkgameface - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I’m surprised the Diamondbacks didn’t claim him just to block the Dodgers. They are now more stupid than Ruben Amaro Jr.

    • sgtr0c - Aug 3, 2012 at 9:33 PM

      Your logic is like wife logic, RAJr seems to be smarter then those teams. Two teams wanting to block each other seem to be prime targets…..

  25. flyeredup - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    I’m embarrassed to be a Philly fan. Amaro is a douche, Shea Weber tells Flyers to stick it. Sigh

    • beavertonsteve - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Well as far as the Weber thing, he really didn’t tell the Flyers to stick it. The Predators told the Flyers to stick it, but it was pretty painful for them too.

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