Reports: Phillies Listening on Lee and Hamels

Cliff LeeInteresting start to the morning …

ESPN and CBSSports.com reported the Phillies have told teams they will listen to offers for Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Now why in the world would the Phillies do that? Well, it is important to note that listening is different than trading. But if some team is willing to offer premium talent for Hamels or Lee — and take their entire salary to boot — it would be foolish not to listen.

It would be foolish, however, to trade one of them for a package that does not address numerous and immediate needs. After all, what was the purpose of extending Chase Utley, signing Marlon Byrd and resigning Carlos Ruiz if the Phillies are not trying to win the next couple seasons?

The Phillies better than anybody know the risks of trading a top starting pitcher for young talent. They traded Lee to the Mariners in Dec. 2009 for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez. They also have acquired Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt for prospects that included Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Jason Knapp, Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Taylor, J.A. Happ, Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose.

Have any of those players come back to haunt the Phillies yet?

How certain can the Phillies be that the players they would get in return for Hamels or Lee would make a difference?

(Here are other examples of teams trading top starting pitching and getting very little in return.)

It also must be noted there are obstacles involved in any potential Hamels and Lee talks. First, both have limited no-trade clauses. Second, they are owed a ton of money. Hamels is owed $118.5 million over the next five years, which includes $22.5 million in salary each of the next five seasons, plus a $6 million buyout for a vesting option in 2019. Lee is owed $62.5 million over the next three years, which includes $25 million in salary each of the next two seasons, plus $12.5 million buyout for a vesting option for 2016.

If the Phillies trade either of them the other team must take their salary, which limits potential partners. The Phillies last ate money in a trade in 2005, when they shipped Jim Thome to the White Sox.

There are reasons it makes sense for the Phillies to listen. They have holes everywhere. They need to get younger. They could use the payroll relief. But there are plenty of reasons it won’t happen, too.

22 Comments

“After all, what was the purpose of extending Chase Utley, signing Marlon Byrd and resigning Carlos Ruiz if the Phillies are not trying to win the next couple seasons?”

There’s no purpose. Nothing Ruben does has any clear purpose. It’s called flailing.

That said, if you want a reason, here’s what Ruben is likely be thinking: “Cole was 8-14 last year. Two years ago, Cliff was 6-9. How much are we paying these guys? They’re out of here. We need 20-game winners.”

You know he’s thinking that. Sigh.

Judging pitchers based on Win/Loss record is completely useless.

In case my cynicism and sarcasm didn’t travel through cyberspace, well, I was being cynical and sarcastic. I’m just pointing out the type of mentality that our GM has. After all, he kept Darrin Ruf on the farm most of season, and then after Ruf came up and came in third on the team in OPS (after Chase and Dom), what did Amaro do? He said, “I don’t think we know what we have in him” and then signed a 36-year old Marlon Byrd coming off a career year right after a steroids suspension. Why? Because he only looked at his BA of .247, not his .806 OPS. Why did he do that? Because Rube is not interested in walks, only “production.” (Any bets that at some point he said to someone, “John Mayberry had more hits than Ruf last year,” not noticing the 102 more ABs (and .130 lower OPS) that Mayberry had?

Idiota!

Phillies NEED to be in on Kemp.

Kemp is a completely unknown quantity right now. His foot is still in a boot and he may or may not be ready for the start of the season.

I really don’t read that “none of the chips dealt are coming back to haunt the phillies” as a plus. I look at that as this franchise either doesn’t know how to draft talent or develop talent in the minors, or both! And we still see that effect today. Bottom line is if this team plans to retool by trading the old core, they need someone new at the top doing that work. Not Ruben.

You conveniently didn’t check out the link entitled “(Here are other examples of teams trading top starting pitching and getting very little in return.)” then. This is not a new occurrence or one exclusive to Philadelphia.

Just because some other teams also can’t evaluate talent doesn’t absolve the Phillies of this failure.

or: I don’t subscribe to Insider articles.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The Phillies should ask for a kings ransom for either Hammel or Lee. They don’t have to trade either of them.

Hamels. How long has Cole Hamels been in Philadelphia?

A GM should always be open minded and listen to offers for his players. But there is a significant jump in listening to an offer and trading a player. I seriously doubt Amaro will be knocked over for teams trying to trade for Lee or Hamels and take on huge salaries!

Did you notice you have to subscribe to read the article? But let me venture a guess. The ace traded did not pan out as expected, like Halladay and possibly Lee. Or, one of prospects received for ace flourished.

I’m suspicious that these rumors are to offset the impact when we learn that the Phillies have not obtained what they were looking for during the winter meetings, but we still have two quality starting pitchers which many teams would envy about

Problem with whole scenario is that Rube and his scouts have shown no skill in evaluating players and we would continue to get other teams junk in return for our aces. Bring Gillick back in, at least there would be some talent evaluation and maybe we wouldn’t get fleeced so bad. Every time I see or hear Amaro say anything , I have a musical flashback to Barry McGuire singing “Eve of Destruction”.

Lee, “maybe”. Hamels, NO!

should we trade these guys? Depends, if someone puts Trout or Harper or one of the other top 5 young players on the table with 2-3 good prospects I pull thr trigger in a second. Unfortunately, the Philies aren’t going to win anything for at least two years. Lee is gone by then. THe mistakes made by RAJ are haunting us and will continue to do so. He should have been a man and stood up to the fans and said, “we are in a transistion period. We will have 1-2 bad seasons while we re-tool. This means, Galvis or Hernandez starts as 2b and Utley isn’t resigned, Ruf plays OF and we see what he really is worth, we start a young catcher and don’t resign Ruiz, etc. Yes, we love and respect the core who won in ’08, but we need to worry about ’14/’15 now and not the past

“He should have been a man…” A rhetorical question I’m sure. Because if he did as you suggest, the CBP attendance figures would plummet so far he couldn’t make payroll.

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