With a 42-53 record, the Philadelphia Phillies rest at the bottom of the National League East division and remain to be one of the worst teams in the league. The big issue is that the Phillies also have the third largest payroll in all of baseball. For that reason, the organization has no choice but to unload at the trade deadline, which means several pitchers are on the trade block. However, if you ask the Phillies, they would prefer to deal Cliff Lee before anyone else, especially ace Cole Hamels.
Philadelphia has been open to hearing offers for Lee for weeks. Teams such as the New York Yankees have reportedly shown interest, but the problem is the left-hander hasn’t pitched in a MLB game since the middle of May due to an elbow strain. Sure, he’s set to join the rotation on July 21, but unfortunately, he got lit up in his last rehab start, which is certainly a concern.
At this point, the Phillies have to ask themselves how they plan to deal a player who hasn’t played. The hope is that Lee can show he is back on track in two or three starts before the July 31 trade deadline comes up. If he excels, then the Phillies will be in business. However, if he falters, then the franchise is in big trouble. Philadelphia needs to get his contract that is loaded on the backend off their books. The good news is he will have no problem getting dealt if it comes down to it. In fact, Lee is more open to winning than he is to staying loyal to the city and the team, especially if that team doesn’t plan to show loyalty to him.
Even though the Phillies have considered the reported offers for Hamels, the odds of him getting traded are very unlikely. The main reason for that is Hamels is most likely to activate his no-trade clause because he doesn’t want to leave Philadelphia.
Lee is 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 10 starts this season.