According to Jon Heyman, the Los Angeles Dodgers have claimed starting pitcher Cliff Lee on waivers. This in no way means that Lee is now a member of the Dodgers, but what it does mean is that the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies have until Sunday to work out an agreement.
If the two sides are unable to reach common ground on the Lee situation, he remains a Phillie. Lee is currently in the second year of a five-year, $120 million contract he signed prior to the 2011 season. He is making $21.5 million in 2012 and is set to make $25 million for each of the next three seasons with a $27.5 million vesting option for the 2016 season.
Lee was the subject of trade rumors in the weeks leading up to July, and the Texas Rangers were viewed as the likeliest team to acquire him. The Rangers – who had previously had Lee – instead worked out a deal for Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, and Lee stayed in Philly.
Lee is just 2-6 on the season in 18 starts, but his numbers are much better than his winning percentage. He has a 3.73 ERA, a 4.96 strikeout to walk ratio, and a 2.7 WAR that rates him as the 11th best pitcher in the National League this season, even higher than teammate Cole Hamels, who just recently signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension to remain in Philadelphia.
Lee is 33 years old and the deal will pay him through his age-37 season if it vests, but he is a dynamic pitcher, a proven World Series star, and he will make a great impact for the Dodgers should they be able to work something out that adds Lee to a rotation that just added former Phillie Joe Blanton earlier today.