Lee Focused on 2009, Not Beyond
But the future looms for Lee, who the Phillies acquired in a July 29 trade with the Indians. The Phillies hold a $9 million club option on Lee for 2010, but because Cleveland traded Lee in the middle of a multiyear contract, he has the right to demand a trade after the season.
Has Lee seen enough with the Phillies to know if he would invoke that right or not?
“I’m not even worried about that at all,” Lee said. “I’ve given zero thought to it. I’m worried about my next outing against Atlanta [on Saturday]. I really haven’t put any thought into that at all.”
There is an interesting twist to Lee’s right to demand a trade. If he demands a trade and is ultimately traded, Major League Baseball’s Basic Agreement states the team that acquires him would own his rights for three seasons. In other words, instead of Lee becoming a free agent after next season when he is 32, he would become a free agent after 2012 when he is 34. In the meantime, he would be a salary-arbitration eligible player potentially playing on one-year contracts.
It seems less likely to me that Lee would invoke that right. Plus, Lee said, he has enjoyed his time in Philadelphia. He is 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA in five starts and the Phillies hold a comfortable lead in the National League East.
“I like it here,” Lee said. “I’m happy here. Things are going good.”
But what happens after this season?
“I’ll worry about that when the time comes,” Lee said.