Lee Focused on 2009, Not Beyond

Thumbnail image for lee 0731 a.jpgCliff Lee said he is focused on the present, and not the future.

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.

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12 Comments

Yeah, it doesn’t seem likely, it’s not like he’s obviously unhappy here or anything. This only applies to contracts signed before 2006 right? This is really a silly clause and I wonder why it came about.

Yeah, Lee signed his contact before the rules changed in 2006. He’s grandfathered into that clause, but I can’t see him passing up free agency to leave the National League and a place where he has a chance wo in a World Series.

Funny, so many people were complaining about getting Halladay because of the same clause that exists in his contract. I guess the speculation will begin….

About tonight’s game, at least no one blew a save tonight….

Sorry to see Happ get the “L”. He really pitched another gem. Too bad the offense didn’t cooperate particularly with RISP.

In regards to Lee’s future with the Phillies, on Daily News Live someone said they should back up a Brinks truck and sign him ASAP! He’s such a special pitcher.

Assuming that Lee doesn’t invoke the offseason trade clause, I would like to see the Phillies extend him if the price is right, but if it’s in line with the $100 MM / tons of years kind of figures that have been rumored, I’d rather just take the two draft picks the Phillies will get for letting a type A free agent go, especially given the great young pitching depth they have in the farm system.

That is to say, after they pick up his 2010 option. I was referring to the 2011 offseason, in case that wasn’t clear.

Let’s hope his wife and kids love it in Philly. That will definitely be the most important factor in his decision-making process. I hope his neighbors and his kids’ teachers and classmates are pouring on the love.

Here’s a random question: Do the Phillies have to activate Myers before September 1st for him to be eligible for the playoff roster, or is this not the case because he’s been on the DL?

There has to be an exception for players on the DL. This is how a team winds up with more players eligible for the post season roster than the number of players allowed to be on the post season roster thus forcing teams to make choices. If this were not the case, it would seem that the post season roster would be set as of August 31 and there would not be any choices. What I found interesting is Myers is not even on the 40 man roster which seems to related to him being on the 60 day disabled list rather than the 15 day disabled list.

Let’s worry about Lee in the offseason. Right now, there are bigger worries – the bullpen and the lack of offense. Minus the month of July, this team’s offense has been so hot and cold and the last couple weeks it has been non-existent, especially with RISP. How many times have there been runners on third with one or no outs and we get nothing? Look at last year’s postseason and the lack of offense as well. Let’s dump Milt Thompson, get a new hitting coach, get these guys going. Howard is carrying us now, but he can’t do it all the time.

     For those of you who really want to get in a pitcher’s head, I can’t recommend this article enough: http://tinyurl.com/lyh82q
     It’s an article written by Phillies pitching prospect Michael Schwimer detailing, pitch-by-pitch, the strategy and thinking behind one of his recent Clearwater Phillies appearances, with accompanying video on YouTube. I really recommend following along with the video pitch-by-pitch. It’s a really interesting look at the gamesmanship that goes on between pitcher and batter.

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