The Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly placed pitcher Cliff Lee on waivers. If Lee clears waivers, he could eligible to be traded by Friday. Despite the fact that the MLB (non-waiver) “trade deadline” passed on July 31, players can still be placed on waivers, and if they clear, are eligible to be traded. If that trade occurs before August 31, the player is still eligible to be on the postseason roster of their new team. Should the trade take place after August 31, however, the player in question is not eligible for postseason play.
How exactly this shakes out is going to be incredibly interesting. There are a handful of teams that might be interested in putting in a waiver claim on Lee. The waiver order is based on the reverse order of the current standings, starting with the league in which the player currently participates and then moves to the other league in the same format (worst record to best record).
The Phillies must be banking on the fact that Lee will clear waivers due to the enormous amount of money he is still owed ($25 million a year from 2013-2015 and a $27.5 million club option in 2016 with a $12.5 million buyout). He also has a no-trade clause in his contract, believed to allow him to block a trade to 21 teams; the identity of those teams is unknown. He does have the ability to waive the no-trade clause at anytime, however.
If Lee does clear waivers, it is anticipated that the Phillies will need to assume as much as $8 million per season of his current contract in order to facilitate a deal. If he does get claimed, the Phillies could either allow him to leave, with the new club assuming the entire contract, or negotiate a trade with that team. In addition, the Phillies also have the ability to revoke the waiver and keep Lee, should they choose to do so.
For the time being, it looks like the fire sale in the City of Brotherly Love continues.