Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee's High Level of Pitching is Vital to Keeping the Window Open in 2014

By Marilee Gallagher
cliff lee
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies had the option to trade Cliff Lee this year but they didn’t. And while the “sell high” mentality could have taken over, the Phillies chose to keep Lee. Considering the role he looks to play on the 2014 pitching staff and the team as a whole, keeping Lee was easily the best decision made.

Lee has been consistent and a top-performer for most of the season. There were a few hiccups but for the most part, Lee has been pristine.

On the year, Lee has put up incredible numbers. He is seventh in the NL in wins (14), third in IP (214.2), second in strikeouts (209), fifth in WHIP (1.03) and seventh in ERA (2.93). These are numbers that in any other year would put Lee into Cy Young contention.

For Lee, this is exactly the kind of pitching that he is known for and the kind that people have come to expect from him over the years. He did what he needed to do and ultimately, it is all going to pay off next season for the Phillies.

Considering Kyle Kendrick‘s recent injury situation and Roy Halladay‘s status in question, there are a lot of uncertainties surrounding this pitching staff. In fact, outside of Cole Hamels, Lee is really the only other pitcher guaranteed a spot in the 2014 rotation.

Beyond a spot though, Lee is going to be looked to for another big year. Since joining the Phillies, he has always been a huge part of the staff. Any success this team does have really is going to be dependent upon what Lee can do.

So while keeping Lee may end up biting the Phillies down the line, this team is only focused on next season. Because if you ask the players and coaching staff the window for this team has not closed yet.

And with Lee around, it guarantees that the window will remain open, even if just ever so slightly, for at least one more year.

Marilee Gallagher is a writer for You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.

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