Philadelphia Phillies Rumors: Keeping Cliff Lee is Not Worth the $25 million

Cliff Lee

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Another night, another Cliff Lee start that begs the question the Philadelphia Phillies must ponder in the offseason: is he worth another year or two at $25 million?

In this case, the Phillies are talking $25 million a year for the next two years. The answer would have to be no, despite his 13th win of the season after beating  the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night. If the Phillies were talking about a 25-win pitcher, the $1 million per win price might seem a little steep, but worth it.

These are not the days though of Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn and Denny McClain, when 25 wins was the norm. These days, if someone wins 20 games, that’s the ceiling.

When the Phillies look at  Lee, they see a 13-win pitcher with an ERA just above 3.00 and, for the nearly $2 million per win, that’s definitely not worth it. So in the club box seats where GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and team president David Montgomery sit, they have to be thinking trade.

The problem is that the other organizations have probably figured the Phillies overpaid this contract and to get rid of him, the Phillies might have pay a lot of Lee’s salary.

How much of that salary will be determined by how desperate some of the deep-pocketed teams are for a top-of-the-line starter. His four-seam fastball has dipped below 91 mph for the first time since 2008, a sure indication that both age and innings have taken a toll on his arm.

The Phillies might be stuck with Lee, but the thought here and maybe there is that if they can get two top prospects and a middle-level prospect, they should offer to pay a significant amount of the balance of his contract and bid him a fond adieu. Heck, one of those prospects might turn into a 13-game winner not too far down the road.

After all, 13-game winners may not be a dime a dozen, but they shouldn’t come with a $25 million price tag.

Mike Gibson is a Phillies writer for Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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  • tom

    sorry man – but these articles just shouldn’t exist. What is the point? What’s the rumor? Why does he only have 13 wins? Does he have a lot of games where he pitched well, but the team didn’t score runs? Was it because Delmon Young was their right fielder, and Michael Young was the Third baseman and they were awful, and contributed to additional runs scored. If you’re going to post something – do at least a little bit of research and analysis. Right now his WAR is 5.9, so if a Win is worth about $5 million – than yes – yes he is worth $25 according to WAR. I am not saying that is the only way to judge a player – what I am saying is this article is pointless – and I need to be sure to block from my news feed because it is awful, pointless, and a disgrace to people who write well thought out articles.

    • Phil Naegely

      Not all articles are like this one:)

  • Phil Naegely

    While this shouldn’t be considered a rumor- it’s an opinion-, Cliff Lee and Hamels should remain on the team. It’s not their fault the offense sucked for most of the year.