MLB Trade Speculation: Will the Boston Red Sox Make a Push for Cliff Lee?

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJune 27, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 24: Starting pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during game two of an interleague game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park on June 24, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox need another starting pitcher to bolster their rotation in order to make a playoff push, and Cliff Lee could end up being their guy.

In the event that the Philadelphia Phillies are confident that Cole Hamels will end up re-signing with the team either midseason or during the offseason, they could be willing to deal Lee, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Sherman writes that the Phillies could still contend without Lee if their injured players—Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley—came back strong. He notes that’s whether the Phillies are contenders or not, Philadelphia would benefit from “an injection of talented youth that Lee could bring in a trade.”

Boston has the talented youth that the Phillies could be interested in. They have a plethora of shortstops in their minor league system that they could dangle. There’s no way that they will be able to sort out who will play shortstop between Jose Iglesias, Xander Bogaerts, Jose Vinicio, Deven Marrero, Tzu-Wei Lin and possibly others.

There are also several pitching and outfield prospects that could catch the eye of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. Some interesting pitching possibilities could include Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Drake Britton, or Henry Owens. A few outfield prospects that could draw interest include Jackie Bradley, Brandon Jacobs or Kendrick Perkins.

In the event that Boston is interested in acquiring Lee, Philadelphia could require a package including a major league player as well.

As you can see, there are plenty of players that Boston could offer in a deal. Would they actually do it, though?

It’s definitely something to consider.

Boston is in deep trouble with their starters. Jon Lester hasn’t been consistent this season. Josh Beckett has been good, but is never a lock to stay healthy. Clay Buchholz could be out of commission for a while after being diagnosed with esophagitis.

Felix Doubront has been one of the highlights of the rotation. Daisuke Matsuzaka is still coming off of Tommy John surgery but could rebound nicely. Aaron Cook’s ability to pitch in the AL East is still up in the air. Daniel Bard was a complete failure.

There is a dire need for a proven starting pitcher in Boston.

Lee does hold a nine-team no-trade clause as noted in Sherman’s article, but he could be willing to waive it to come to the Red Sox. He has gotten atrocious run support this season which is something that Boston has to offer. The Red Sox are in the top three in runs scored this season.

Somehow, Lee is still winless on the year despite 12 starts with the Phillies. He’s 0-4 with a 3.72 ERA and is averaging 9.14 strikeouts and 1.81 walks per nine innings. He’s only 33 years old and has the capability to be the dominant left-hander that he’s been over the last few seasons.

The Red Sox could really benefit from acquiring Lee as he’s under contract through the 2016 season—pending a vesting option. Lee is an expensive commodity but could get Boston out of the cellar in the AL East and into playoff contention.

If the Red Sox got their hands on Cliff Lee they’d be in good shape going forward, but would they—or the Phillies—pull the trigger?