Philadelphia Phillies Place SP Cliff Lee on Waivers

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. ET by Stephen Babb

Well, so much for the suspense surrounding Cliff Lee's potential destination. According to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed the star pitcher off waivers, but probably won't come away with him after all:

Source: #Dodgers awarded the claiming rights on Cliff Lee. It remains unlikely that they ultimately obtain him from #Phillies. @mlbonfox

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 3, 2012

As CBS Sports' Jon Heyman explains it, the Phillies are likely just looking for too much in return to let Lee go:

wont be easy for claiming team to acquire cliff lee. #phillies sought to pay no $ & get big prospect in pre-deadline talks

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 3, 2012

The more things have changed, the more they may stay the same. While the Phillies became big-time sellers at the trade deadline, they don't want to lose an important part of their starting rotation for nothing.

Even if the club is out of contention this year, that could change with a younger, healthier roster next time around. 

Lee's claiming period ends on Sunday, at which point Philadelphia will have a window of 48 business hours to work out a trade, presumably with the Dodgers. If no deal happens, Lee will stick with the Phillies for the remainder of the season.

---End of update---


Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012 at 6:15 p.m. ET by Stephen Babb

It didn't take long for Philadelphia Phillies' ace starting pitcher Cliff Lee to be claimed off waivers according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:

Cliff lee did NOT clear waivers

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 3, 2012

Where Lee is ultimately headed still remains a mystery, as does the team (or teams) that claimed him. Philadelphia may now opt to keep him, trade him or simply let him leave.

Though the identity of the interested organization remains officially unknown, the pricey three years remaining on Lee's contract narrows the list of candidates to big spenders like the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers or Los Angeles Angeles.

Of course, the Yankees whiffed in their attempt to land Lee on the free-agent market in 2010. So did Lee's former club, the Texas Rangers. With both teams leading their respective divisions, it reasons they'd be willing to take on the steep contract.

---End of update---


Major League Baseball's trade deadline has come and gone, but that doesn't mean transactions come to a halt.

Oftentimes, players who didn't move at the deadline will find themselves on the waiver wire. Cliff Lee experienced that Thursday afternoon, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan:

Source: Phillies have placed Cliff Lee on waivers. Executives expect him to clear Friday afternoon, be eligible for trade.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 2, 2012

Franchises use the early parts of August to readjust their rosters before they expand on September 1. Players can go from a trade rumor to a waiver rumor overnight because of the rules. Teams must put a player through waivers after the deadline before he's eligible for a trade. If he clears, they are are free to do what they please.

Lee is only 2-6 this season, but his record was drastically impacted by the Phillies' poor play through the season's first three months. His 3.73 ERA is still very good, and he only walks about one batter every five innings.

Lee is still Lee by baseball standards. He would be an extremely valuable pickup, but he's also due $75 million over the next three seasons, not to mention a $27.5 million option in 2016. That's a lot to pay for a 33-year-old weathered arm, especially when you consider the high-level package of prospects you will have to part with to get him.

Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is smart. He knows that Lee is expensive, and he knows that his franchise is at a crossroads. Shuffling the deck and retooling for the future may be in the club's best interest.

You can bet that a handful of potential suitors will emerge before the month ends. Lee is one of the best southpaws in baseball, and he's a proven playoff performer. If you're willing to part with the potential, his production is an excellent addition to any rotation.

Keep an eye on this one. Amaro isn't afraid to make a big splash, and the Phillies faithful are impatient. The time is ripe to roll the dice.