Phillies and D-Backs Reportedly Discussing Cliff Lee, Justin Upton Swap

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIDecember 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Washington Nationals  at Nationals Park on October 3, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly in discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks over a deal involving All-Stars Justin Upton and Cliff Lee. 

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reported the news via Twitter, noting that Philadelphia would need to add cash in order to obtain the 25-year-old slugger.

Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.

— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) December 4, 2012

However, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com noted that Gomez’ rumor may not stand up to scrutiny.

Dbacks source tells me the Upton/Lee stuff "hasn't been discussed" and is "off base."

— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) December 4, 2012

Upton batted .280 win an OPS of .785 this season. He had 17 home runs and a career-high 107 runs scored.

He continued to flash the talent that made him the first overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, but did not live up to the standard he set in the 2009 and 2011 seasons. The right fielder had an OPS of .898 in both of these campaigns, in addition to hitting over 25 home runs and surpassing 20 stolen bases. 

The Phillies would be adding a young player who had proven he can be productive, but also likely has his best days ahead of him. Philadelphia traded both Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in the middle of the 2012 season and would certainly benefit from adding an outfielder.

Lee has been an All-Star in three of the past five seasons and is coming off a campaign in which he went 6-9 and posted an ERA of 3.16. The lefty signed a five-year, $120 million deal in Philadelphia as a free agent in 2010.

Arizona finished 15th in the majors in team ERA this past season, and adding a pitcher of Lee’s caliber will help the staff improve on this mediocre production.

Both teams have motivation to pull off the deal, and fans in both Philadelphia and Phoenix will have to wait and see if Gomez’ rumor ends up turning into reality.