The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a six-year, $144 million contract extension with left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels that will keep him in a Phillies uniform through the 2018 season.
Now that Hamels is officially signed, the Phillies’ next goal should be to trade Cliff Lee. I love Lee as a person and a player, but baseball is a business, and Lee’s contract is killing the Phillies. He is on the hook for five years, $120 million, and that’s an outrageous amount of money for the team to pay to a guy who was 32 years old the day he signed the contract.
He will be making $25 million by the time he is 36 ½ years old, and there is a vesting option for the 2016 season at $27.5 million when he is 37 years old. I highly doubt Lee will be worth that kind of money when he is that age, and the fact that the Phillies are already committed to over $20 million for three different pitchers means it might be a good idea to get rid of the one that has the most outrageous deal.
Lee can block trades to 21 teams, but there is a chance the Phillies could still swap him somewhere. The Texas Rangers are very interested in Lee’s services, and while his record (1-6) doesn’t reflect the caliber of pitcher he is, Lee has good peripherals – 1.200 WHIP, 4.87 strikeout to walk ratio, and 3.24 FIP, and he could still be an ace for a team that is in the hunt for a playoff appearance.
As much as I have enjoyed the memories of Lee during his brief stay in Philly, his contract is taking up the money that should be spent on other key positions – third base, left field, relief pitcher, and a center fielder once Shane Victorino leaves.