Whenever a middle-of-the-road team like the Philadelphia Phillies is involved in trade talks, you know that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to have something to say. Well, with Cliff Lee‘s name now swirling around the MLB trade market, Amaro made sure everyone knew where he stood:
“I understand that he wants to play for a winner, I think we can provide that for him in Philadelphia.”
The comment comes after recent jabs by Lee at the stagnant Phillies offense. Obviously, the battle-tested Lee would love to win another championship in Philly, yet he also understands the team’s current lack of talent and mediocre 32-35 record. Now, if Lee wanted to play for a winner he should have signed with a different team when his last contract was up in 2010 — Lee signed a five-year, $120 million contract and he must honor it with the Phillies.
I understands Amaro’s hesitancy to deal Lee, considering the massive amounts of money that Lee is due each of the following three seasons. With that being said, there comes a point when the Phillies have to focus on the chemistry of the team and when Lee is saying, “I know that I want to win and I’ll voice that to whoever,” a distraction is created.
Lee could very well be asking for a trade if the Phillies slip further in the standings, but Amaro should not blink until he has a perfect suitor or when Lee’s will to stay in Philly diminishes catastrophically.
For now, the idea that Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon are also on the trade block is erroneous. Amaro brought a World Series trophy to Philadelphia in 2008 — the guy knows what he’s doing.