For a team that is 12 games under .500 and most likely to be sellers at the MLB trade deadline, having Cliff Lee return from injury is a pretty significant deal. Unfortunately for both the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans, Lee was rather pedestrian in his first start off the DL.
Throughout the past three seasons, Lee has been a victim of little run support. That cannot be said about Monday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Lee gave up the lead on three separate occasions and could not make it out of the sixth inning. He completed 5.1 innings, and allowed six earned runs on 12 hits.
It is no secret that Philadelphia would like to move at least a few of their high-priced players. However, this performance does not bode well in regards to the Phillies’ negotiating strategy. Not only is Lee coming off an elbow injury, he is also a 35-year-old carrying a $25 million annual salary.
Philadelphia needs help all over the field and Lee could fetch them a nice return. He will most likely have one more start before the July 31 deadline, and even if he is not dealt by then, there is a good chance he will be available through the August 31 waiver deadline.
If Lee can piece a few solid starts together, there is a legitimate chance a contending team will pay a high price for him. And if that happens, it could be beneficial to that contending team, as well as Philadelphia, in their hopes to rebuild quickly.