Phillies Trade Rumors: Cliff Lee for Mike Olt Trade Is Ideal Deadline Deal

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIJuly 31, 2012

July 13, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee (left) talks with pitching coach Rich Dubee (30) in the dugout during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Cliff Lee is back on the trade market according to Monday reporting from ESPN’s Buster Olney. This makes some sense considering the Philadelphia Phillies are looking to shed salary and retool for 2013.

The 33-year-old lefty still has three years remaining of the five-year, $120 million deal he signed before the 2011-12 season. With the Phillies likely eliminated from playoff contention barring a miraculous turnaround, you can see why this is a very appealing option for the Phils.

“If we get swept here, it will be pretty daunting,” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said prior to this past weekend’s crushing sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, according to Jim Salisbury of

Trailing by 12.5 games in the wild-card race and getting swept in the midst of trade deadline discussions pretty much speaks for itself, manager Charlie Manuel said.

That brings us to today. The trade deadline is this afternoon at 4 p.m. ET and all eyes will be on the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils have been buyers at this time in recent years but will likely be looking to unload several pieces in order to shed salary and retool for the future.


Cliff Lee may be fading but he’s not gone yet

Lee has not had the year everyone had hoped for. His 1-6 record and heightened 3.95 ERA has been uncharacteristic of the commanding left-hander. But numbers don’t always paint a perfect picture.

Despite his struggles, Lee has posted an excellent 112-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is only allowing 1.8 walks per nine innings and is fanning 8.5 batters per nine in addition to posting a 46.7 percent ground-ball rate, according to

At the end of his deal, he will be 38 years old and the win-now-minded Rangers will have gotten the best of what he has left to offer by then. He’s already been paid at that point, he’d probably stick around at a much more economic salary.


Mike Olt is a rising star 

Olt was ranked as the 43rd best prospect in the MLB minor leagues heading into 2012, according to Baseball America. In Double-A this season, he’s done nothing but improve his standing.

In 92 games, Olt has hit 27 HR and plated 80 RBI this season, nearly doubling his previous years’ stat lines. His average is respectable at .291 while he maintains a staggering .401 on-base percentage.

Not only is Olt a solid power hitter, he’s also very versatile and could fit in a number of positions at the MLB level, Steve Buechele, RoughRiders’ manager (Rangers’ Double-A affiliate) said.



This deal, with cash considerations for Texas, is in the best interest of both teams and would help them both in the long run. With Olt being so young, versatile and promising, it would obviously help the Phillies more as he could help solidify their lineup for the foreseeable future.

Olney tweeted that it will take more than just Olt on the part of the Rangers in order to get a deal done and that this deal will come down to Lee’s contract, cash considerations and which prospects will be included.

As Rangers and Phillies try to work through possible Lee deal, there are lots of complicating factors: His salary, buy down, prospects, etc.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2012

Hopefully, a deal can be struck and the Phillies can unload Lee now to get as much as possible from the World Series minded Rangers.


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