The Clock Is Ticking …

Cliff LeeThe speculation and rumors are at a full boil.

Depending on the time of day, Cliff Lee either is not going to be traded because the Phillies’ asking price is way too high — we’ve heard everything from three to four legitimate prospects to first, second and third born children — to there is a good chance he will be traded. Here’s what I know: the Phillies are willing to trade Lee. They are listening to offers for Lee. But they still plan to try to win next season and beyond — thus the $48 million to Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and the expected contract extension with Chase Utley — so they’re not pressured to trade him. They’re not the Marlins or Pirates or another small-market team. They don’t have to shed payroll. Lee’s contract isn’t an issue (although it is an issue for other teams), and for all of those reasons I would say the chances the Phillies trade Lee are less likely than trading him.

Now, please keep in mind these things can change by the hour, minute, text message or phone call. The Phillies thought they had no chance to acquire Hunter Pence before the 2011 trade deadline, but eventually got the deal done. The same could happen for Lee, but I think the Phillies aren’t as motivated to move Lee as they were to acquire Pence.

The most likely Phillies player to be traded is Michael Young for obvious reasons. He has value as a veteran corner infielder that can also DH and he isn’t expected back next season. But don’t expect much in return for a two-month rental.

The rest? Utley is not going to be traded. (See above.) Jonathan Papelbon‘s trade value isn’t terribly high at the moment and not because of his strong comments Sunday to MLB.com. It’s because of his performance and contract. His velocity has dipped and his five blown saves are tied for third in baseball. Carlos Ruiz could be moved, but don’t expect much in return. His .581 OPS would be the worst among big-league catchers, if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

Trading Jimmy Rollins is moot. He said Sunday he would not waive his trade rights. I suppose the Phillies could move Delmon Young, but they would get less for him than they would get for Michael Young. CSNPhilly.com reported the only three players the Phillies will not trade are Utley, Cole Hamels and Domonic Brown. No surprises there. The Phillies expect Hamels to bounce back and a team starved for young talent would be crazy to trade Brown at this point.

10 Comments

With a few exceptions (Hamels, Brown), the Phillies need to clean house. This piece from Todd Z. doesn’t look too promising.

I agree on some aspects. I understand the logic behind dealing Utley but I don’t know what you’d be able to get for him and then you’d have yet another hole to fill at second. Sure Galvis can play there but you’ve also lost your 3-hole hitter in an already anemic offense. Chooch is tough. He is still a good catcher and the staff loves him but his offense has taken a nose dive and I don’t know how far out Joseph is.

I think it’s a good idea to build their rotation around Hamels and Lee. If Halladay comes back and is his “old self” then it might be wise to consider a 1-year, incentive-laden deal but otherwise I would move on from him.

Why trade one of the top starters in baseball?

I am a bit concerned that the Utley extension has not been announced yet. Maybe Amaro is actually deciding on whether or not to trade Chase based on whether or not he accepts the offer that the Phils have made? If the deal were going to get done, you would think it would be very soon.

yo todd, what do you think the phillies could get for martinez, nix and mcdonald? do you think we could package them to the angels for trout. lmfao

that 3rd baseman mikael franco is teaing it up down there at reading, why not trade young and bring up franco. could it be any worse than having to look at the 3 mentioned players i mentioned in the above post

The forgotten man at the hot corner is Cody Asche. I know Franco’s tearing it up… but last year’s fan favorite, Mr. Asche, is quietly having a great year at AAA. He hit 2 dingers yesterday… currently he’s hitting .295/15/68 with 11 steals (obp .352). Given Michael Young’s a goner – why is he getting so little notice?

rumour is that Asche is on way to phila. 2b you have both Galvis and Hernendez. What we need is a Catcher and OF help, and obviously a brand new bullpen. I am in favor of playing the kids the rest of the way. Sit Jstroll on the bench and show him how much his “I won’t agree to be traded because I want to be in record books” is worth. No loss letting him get splinters in his A$$

Do we really want to see Rollins playing for another team? No.

But offensively, he is a shell of his former self. Probably ought to be hitting 7th or something like that.

Do you really want Jroll another two seasons? Utley is a veteran but can you get your moneys worth out of him? He is having more and more problems in the field. Remember this is a contract year so you will never see these numbers out of him again. I hate to see Lee go. I also think Doc will come back. These older guys have to have performance contracts. You produce you are paid well. You are sick and lame, you get bare bones.

Contact year performance is a myth. For every Jayson Werth who had a career year, there is a Josh Johnson who is currently having a down year. Just those performances are hardly remembered because they don’t stand out as much in retrospect.
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On top of that, most guys hit free agency for the first time in the middle to end of their prime. So by definition they should be coming off a career year and heading into decline following their contact season.
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Furthermore I think it’s actually insulting to Utley to even suggest the guy is motivated purely by money. The way that guy plays the game is all out, dirtball, blue collar hustle. Not the calling card of someone who is just looking to cash in.

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