Comment by Ryan Hoffman — August 2, 2012 @ 4:03 pm
The new CBA has turned MLB into a big market team’s paradise. I think the Dodgers have recognized this and are moving to capitalize. Lee would not be a huge overpay at $100M/4Y. Of course, the Mets and Cubs get a first crack at the claim and might be interested, too.
if cliff lee is an excellent pitcher right now, and projects to be that way for the next several years, how is he “probably” not worth 4/100 and/or why would it be “pretty ugly” the last year? if you thought he’d be an excellent pitcher and now into the forseeable future, i imagine any high revenue contender would sign up for lee on that contract. i know i’d want my team to.
Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — August 2, 2012 @ 4:10 pm
The expectation that he’d clear waivers seemed a bit suspect to me as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did clear — but in addition to the Dodgers, the Rangers, Yankees, and maybe even the Angles and Tigers could be fits by similar logic.
I know the authors differ, but it’s amusing that in three days FanGraphs went from “Texas should trade the #31 prospect in baseball, plus two of their other top tens, for Cliff Lee and his contract,” to “Cliff Lee is going to clear waivers, but LA should probably claim him.”
Comment by Kevin Towers — August 2, 2012 @ 4:54 pm
No, the Phils are not looking to give up Lee for nothing. They are not re-building, they are just re-loading/re-tooling. They are more than happy to build around Hamels, Lee, and Halladay and plan on going after less expensive people in the offseasons such as Chase Headley and Choo via trades and Michael Bourn via free agency. They are clearing some money (Victorino, Pence, Blanton, Polanco, …..) to make these moves/attempts.
If they could get an overwhelming deal for Lee that helps fill some of the voids they aim to cover in the offseason, I am sure they would more than listen though.
No, or at least not at the moment. They still believe they can get value for him in a trade. The goal with Lee, like with Pence, is to dump salary while stockpiling young talent. The fact that they do not have urgency to get something done right now gives them some leverage. They can sit and wait for a team that really wants him to make a play, and seem content to keep him if that’s not the case.
That can certainly change, though.
Comment by Continued Success — August 2, 2012 @ 4:59 pm
Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.
I almost commented on that last post about why a pitcher who is being paid so close to what he’s worth has any value particularly given how much resources are going to be tied up in one player … and this remains a question for me? Can someone fill me in on this, and explain the discrepancy between these 2 posts?
Seems like some rebuilding team with room in their budget should claim Lee… especially if he’s going to to for free (prospect-wise, not $).
My other question is … doesn’t Lee have a limited no-trade clause, and isn’t it likely to include the Dodgers (since they’re a big market team)?
Yes it is an overpay, but I think that it may be worth it for the Dodgers. If Greinke signs then anibal will probably get 18M (if he is worth it is out of question). So the upgrade of lee over anibal is pretty significant.
Normally I wouldn’t disagree with this, but the Phils won’t have a ton of money to sign people this offseason. Just to retain most of the guys they want to keep, they will be over 150 million, and that doesn’t include a 3rd baseman, any decent starting OF, a good 4th SP. Someone like Bourne at 12-15 million won’t fit in that budget at all. Headley won’t come cheap, and that farm system isn’t very strong. Letting Lee go gives them money to chase 2-3 guys at around 10 million each.
Where they were, the Phils were slightly under the luxury tax for next year I believe. They got rid of 10.4 with Pence, 9.5 with Victorino, will get rid of 6.25 with Polanco, and 8.5 with Blanton. So that is $25m right there.
Bourne at 15
gives them 10m to play with
and that is without doing anything else. I could see Rollins or Utley being moved and letting Galvis play ….
Point is, I do not think they would give away Lee to free up any more money. Would they trade Lee to Arizona in a deal that includes Justin Upton? Possibly. But I think Lee is a convenience to them right now, not a hinderance.
The Dodgers are about to cash in on about 200-250 Million a year for the next 20 Years with their next media contract. I’m sure 24 mil for the next 4 years is nothing. Plus they already committed to winning this year, and we really need a starting pitcher. Lee suffered more from poor run support!!!
Jeff, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t just subtract the players you let go, and leave all else equal.
Cliff Lee is making almost $3.5MM more in 2013 than 2012. I don’t know how much of Hamels’ contract is paid next year, but he makes $15MM in 2012 and his contract averages $24MM in the future. There’s at least a $5MM increase. Papelbon makes $2MM more in 2013 than 2012. Ruiz and Kendrick are more than an extra million each. Some of their younger players will make more as well.
Suddenly, the savings from Pence and Victorino are gone, just to retain players on hand.
The Phillies are also about to go into a HUGE TV contract, so money will not be an issue.
To say Cliff Lee suffers from poor run support though isn’t totally accurate. This year he has sufferred from “one big inning” in most of his starts. He will be strolling along with a 3-1 lead in the 7th then give up 4 runs. It’s why his ERA is close to 4. A majority of his innings he puts up zeros. But then he has innings were gives up multiple runs. It’s usually not just 1 run here 1 run there. It’s usually 0 runs here, 0 runs there, the 5 runs!
You are right viva. I am at work so was just working with averages rather than looking everything up.
But i still dont think they are letting him go for nothing.
Like I said, they would trade him for Upton in a deal cuz it fills a future hole. So I think they’d look for a deal like that, otherwise wait til the offseason.
Definitely not going to give him away
I’m not sure I see the Phillies letting him go for nothing, that would completely demoralize their fan base. Not sure what the Dodgers would have to give up in a trade to get him, would Zach Lee be too much?
Reply to viva: no-trade clauses absolutely do count.
However, let’s say for fun that the Dodgers claim him and Lee has the Dodgers on his no-trade list.
If he opts to waive that (his choice), then the negotiations begin. If he opts to invoke his right to block the Dodgers, then the waiver claim is wasted… the Phils have no choice but to revoke the waiver request, for no other team can be involved once one is awarded the claim.
There would be one other opportunity for the Phils to put him back on the waiver wire this month,…. but that’ll get too messy for this comment… let’s see if it happens first!
There is zero chance that the Phillies would let Lee go for nothing. Teams put players like this on waivers and if they clear they then can trade them after the non-waiver trade deadline (7/31). If no one claims him they can then pursue a deal. If someone claims him they pull him back and wait till the off season and look into trading him. Again, there is ZERO chance the Phillies let him go for nothing though I think there is a decent chance they trade him if he clears waivers. So if the Dodgers want him they let him go through waivers then contact the Phillies about a trade, if they calim him the soonest they can get him is the off season.
Viva, with respect to the luxury tax, individual yearly increases don’t matter, it’s the average annual salary tats used for the calculation, so the increases to Ruiz, Kendrick, Lee, et al are already accounted for. Arbitration awards aren’t, but there isn’t really anyone on the Phillies due for a huge arb increase, so thats not an issue either. They’ll have some room to play with, which is good since they’ll have to find at least a CF and SP for next season.
Lilly has lasted because he hasn’t pitched a whole season in 4-5 years. He misses soooo many games every year he is not worth the money. I am a Dodger fan and I can’t wait for them to get another studd pitcher and give Lilly, and Bills the heave-hoe!
If the Dodgers want him, they should claim him. After a team claims a player on waivers, the following 3 things can happen:
1) Original team pulls him off waivers
2) Original team lets claiming team have him
3) The two teams are given a time period to work out a trade (I think 48-72 hours) and if one can’t be agreed upon, the original team keeps him.
So, by claiming Lee, they ensure that either they get him, or nobody does (unless some team with a worse record claims him first. Worst team in the league gets first dibs, best team gets last.)
I think that Ruben might thank the Dodgers for getting him out from under that contract lol. That would given Ruben the financially flexibility to almost anything he wanted in the offseason and correct some mistakes that he may have made in the past.
Its also absolutely comical that the Phils are being talked about like the Dodgers are going to bully them around financially. I think the Dodgers fans are getting a big head. Remember, the Phils are a big dog in the league too.. if they want to keep Lee they can keep Lee. The Phils are under the luxury tax this year so the penalty wouldnt be as harsh next year and I think they have every intentions of going over. The Phillies cleared out major payroll with the trades they just made and are setting themselves up for future years. They have to fill 2 OF positions, 3b, and bullpen for next year.. if they actually did get out from under Lees contract that would be disastrous for the rest of the league with a rebounding Howard and a hopefully healthy Utley. Like I said, I think the Dodger fans are getting a little ahead of themselves beacuse the Phils had a bad year… they will be back.
It’s fun to speculate, but have you seen the books? Angels TV deal is 3 billion over 20 years… Dodgers should be able to beat that, and I imagine they will end up with a decent rate of return on investment.
A Phillies’ fan’s response to various posts above:
1. The Phillies have a 4th SP (Worley) who is doing well and is under team control for a while (unless the poster was implying Lee is gone, in which case Worley is your 3rd SP).
2. If need be they will absolutely run Kendrick out there as the 5th SP and figure it out as they go along, hoping for a May/Biddle emergence in 2013.
3. They’re not moving Utley.
4. They aren’t trading Lee for salary relief. The only possible trade they’d consider is a Justin Upton type deal which I really don’t see happening.
This is true, pro sports teams have to be insanely profitable. I mean, a team in Cleveland went for over a billion today. Different sport, I know, but I would have had a hard time thinking that the entire city of Cleveland was worth a billion.
I agree with you that Lee is an upgrade over Sanchez, but nobody is giving Anibal Sanchez $18M/year. I don’t think you could even talk Omar Minaya into that. Ha ha…just kidding. Omar would totally do that.
How exactly are the Dodgers going to “dare” RAJ? Phillies lose absolutely nothing by putting him on waivers. Anyone can claim him, but Phillies are not going to let him go without a sizable return coming back.
From my calculations, the Phillies will have about $22 million to get two outfielders, a third baseman, and a reliever. These are luxury tax salaries I’m calculating, and I’m factoring in the roughly $11 million in benefits that count.
They could make a play for Headley at $6 million, get a cheap righty to platoon with Schierholtz for a million, a set-up man for $3 million, and have $12 million left over to go for one of the premier outfielders. Also keep in mind that the Phillies themselves admit that they’ll probably go over the luxury tax next year, so there’s really no reason to give Lee away.
I also understand the Phils plan on paying luxury tax next year… That was why they wanted to clear salary this year, so they won’t be repeat offenders. And with the cap expected to raise th following year, and Halladay’s 2014 option not likely to vest (as i understand it) they will still have some flexibility (if not a whole lot) after 2013.
Too bad the Phillies didn’t make a run at Adrian Beltre when he was a free agent a few years ago, huh? Obviously a much better investment than any of these big money starting pitchers on the Phillies’ payroll.
The Rangers can get a hell of a lot more for Beltre in the offseason, if they choose to shop him, than an insanely expensive Cliff Lee, as good as he is. I have to think that the Rangers will pass on this deal.
Different question: Should the Rangers claim Lee? Probably!
Too late for that, after that idiotic Papelbon contract! I wonder if the Rays have committed as much over the past three years to all of their relievers as Philly committed to Papelbon in one fell swoop. Probably not.
Cliff Lee only has 2 wins! He’s terrible! You stat geeks in you’re grandmothers attic need to watch the game!
Comment by Matty Brown — August 2, 2012 @ 10:24 pm
So, 2013 is going to be the year that Chase Utley gets and stays healthy, and returns to form, huh?
If you really want to secure a World Series championship in 2013, why not sign Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez to round out the rotation? And how good would Wade Boggs look over at 3B? The sky’s the limit!
Utley’s done. He was a heck of a ballplayer. “Was” = past tense!
Well played sir. If somehow grandmother’s attic replaced mother’s basement in the anti-nerd lexicon, you will have advanced the cause. In fact, I demand that you start creating and/or altering Wikipedia pages to reflect the stat-nerd’s proclivity for his grandmother’s attic.
Lee’s contract could be perceived as a bargain for the Yanx. They offered him more, reportedly. Also not incidentally they need a second elite pitcher to survive the playoffs, particularly with Grampa Pettite’s uncertain status.
They absolutely should do it. Even Greinke will cost that much by then. Their outfield is set for next year. (They’re certainly not going to pay Yasiel Puig $7M a year to play A Ball!). Much of the rotation will be there.(Kerch, Lilly, Cappy, Harang, & Bills) (No one will ever take on the Billingsly contract so he may become the most expensive long reliever in baseball!) The bullpen – Guerrier & Choate signed; Jansen, Guerra, Belisario, Elbert, & Hawksworth under control. Lineup – Kemp, Eithier, Ramirez, Mark Ellis, Puig, & unfortunately Uribe signed, A.J. Ellis, Dee Gordon (or Louis Cruz!) under control. Bench – Gwynn & Hairston are signed through ’13. Loney, Rivera, gone. Lee could help them win it all this year and head a much stronger team next year.
Comment by The Black Spur — August 3, 2012 @ 12:18 am
Phillies are not going to let him go. What is hard to understand about that?
My sentiments exactly. Lee is good for a team that views itself as a contender over the next 3 years. Cubs are realistically expecting to contend by the end of that time frame, while the mets are still trying to accrue capitol after some bad contracts and the madoff disaster.
Because the Phillies could do a lot to rebuild their ravaged team with the $81M saved. They put Lee through waivers first because it forces the decision on both sides. They could have initiated their waivers with anyone else and they can only revoke once. It makes sense for both teams and no other team except the Dodgers could take on that contract. Yet it’s cheap, just 3+ years left on the tome. Ideal for the Dodgers who are averse to long term deals. Greinke is going to take at least 6 at at least $22M. That, my friend, is a substantial savings. Greinke is going to be in the same age range at the end of that six that Lee is now. The Phillies are several years from being competitive again and Lee won’t be a happy camper for that long. And if he is not a happy camper, just how well will he be pitching for all those dollars? Not so well, I would imagine. Then what would keeping him get you?
Comment by The Black Spur — August 3, 2012 @ 4:00 am
The answer to my rhetorical question is: Nada. Just ask the Red Sox how much fun it is to pay millions to unhappy campers. (Or, I guess you could ask a certain Mr. Epstein why he had to change the color of his sox.)
Comment by The Black Spur — August 3, 2012 @ 4:12 am
I Know fangraphs love sample size. He’s thrown 100 innings and is about a 2.5 WAR. He posted by far the best season of his career in 2011. 3 years 95 millionish isn’t an over pay for Cliff Lee it’s a down right bargain. By the time the contract ends we will be seeing 200 million dollar pitching contracts. If Lee gets claimed someone is coming back to the Phillies and that guy will be a top prospect.
Yes, it would give him financial flexibility. It would also leave him without a key piece to the rotation who has been worth ~6.9 WAR per season over the prior 4 seasons and worth 0.15 WAR per start (4.8 WAR for a whole season of 32 starts) in this sub par (for him) season.
Utley has played 27 games (1/6 of the season) after no Spring Training and a minor league rehab and he’s been worth 1.0 WAR due to a .352 wOBA, very good defense and good base running. He also claims that the new treatment makes his knees feel significantly better than they did all of last year. Now, I’m not saying that Utley will ever return to being an 8 WAR player, but to call him “done” is simply absurd.
Niese, Gee, Harvey, Wheeler plus whatever Santana and Dickey can still bring in the next 2 – 3 years…As a Met fan I’d hope that they would use whatever funds they have to keep Wright and upgrade the OF as opposed to getting Lee.
My guess is that you couldn’t swing a trade, since there’s a no-trade clause, so you’d be forced to give him up on waivers for no return. Unless there is language in the contract (or the CBA) that would grant him his unconditional release under those circumstances, which would of course make some sense.
anyone know what the numbers are on stat nerds living in grandmother’s attic ?
Comment by joe burbidge — August 3, 2012 @ 11:21 am
you forget about Kershaw…they still need to pay him and its going to take a Lee-like contract. So they’d be committing $50m to 2 southpaws. Not sure that’s the best place to put their money. Great move for the short term…waste of resources in the long term. Pains me to say it, because they are basically going to die by the current pitching they have sans Kershaw.
I am a stat-nerd who lives in my mother’s bedroom. No, I am not from West Virginia. She moved to the smaller bedroom but banned me from the living room. I also have to do all household chores and be her chauffer.
It’s not such a bad deal–I have the master bath, my computer, TV, bed, a stuffed rocking chair and ignorami like you to laugh at.
Since, Bills is pitching better these days, it could be that Lilly could go to the pen, at least for a while.
Comment by The Black Spur — August 3, 2012 @ 3:00 pm
The Mariners should claim Cliff Lee.
“But the Mariners need a bat more than a pitcher!” you say.
Well, no. The Mariners’ offense, actually, is almost certainly close to fine. Take the median road wOBA offense (Red Sox, .310 last I checked), then look at the line the Mariners’ pitchers have allowed in Safeco (.270 wOBA). Consider that the Mariners’ rotation includes Jason Vargas as a #2, plus actually-replacement-level Blake Beavan and (for half the season) atrocious disaster Hector Noesi, and that their pitching staff is ranked around 27th on the road by most FIP stats despite an excellent bullpen. If the Red Sox played half their games agains the Mariners’ (very bad) rotation in Safeco, they’d be putting up a ((.310+.270)/2)=.290 wOBA… which is pretty much exactly what the Mariners have. The Mariners have been facing better pitchers than their own, which is why they’ve been losing games. So consider that, adjusting for Safeco’s funky one-year park effect, the Mariners have been basically average with the bats, and then consider that next year Figgins won’t be getting any playing time (like he did at the beginning of this year), Ichiro will be gone, and Olivo will not be extended. That’s the three worst hitters off the payroll. Then factor in that the Mariners’ offense has done this without much help from Dustin Ackley or Jesus Montero, both of whom have been improving after first-half struggles. The offense isn’t really the problem.
Yeah, they’ve got three good rotation prospects sitting in the minors, but you can’t bet on all three panning out. The team needs a #2. Vargas isn’t it, and Hultzen, Walker and Paxton aren’t ready to be it next year either.
Ichiro and League just left town, and that’s $23 million of payroll opened up from this season’s already-low-for-the-Mariners payroll. Coincidentally, Lee is owed $25M. Not many teams have that much free payroll space to throw around at the moment. When the new guys need arb, Figgins and Gutierrez will be off the books to free up the cash.
Cliff Lee would make the rotation great next year instead of below average without costing the Mariners any prospects, and there’s evidently not very much competition to acquire him at this particular moment in time. They already have a ridiculous bullpen (everyone in it has an above-average K rate and below-average FIP, and almost everyone in it is young and cheap and controlled) and a ridiculous defense (only Thames (who is only playing because death-to-flying-things Gutierrez is injured) and the catchers are below average, plus the SS is Brendan Ryan). The offense is mediocre but has all of its worst members leaving next year, Nick Franklin waiting in the wings, and Ackley and Montero expected to improve.
A rotation composed of Hernandez/Lee/Vargas and then two of Hultzen, Paxton, Walker, Ramirez, and even Beavan if necessary would be great-not-good, as opposed to this year’s bad starting five. Lee fixes the biggest hole on the team by replacing replacement-level Beavan with another Felix.
The Mariners should claim Cliff Lee.
Comment by ThirteenOfTwo — August 3, 2012 @ 3:07 pm
Comment by Seattle Homer — August 3, 2012 @ 7:20 pm
Well? Actually, the trade probably won’t happen because the Phillies probably won’t let him go for nothing and I doubt the Dodgers will let go of their top prospects but it’s nice to contemplate. But what it effectively does is block any trade of Lee to any Dodger competition this season. Because, as you know, they can’t pull him back but once. I see this really as a big blocking move to prevent any team that did have the prospects to trade. And only the Dodgers had the $ to pull the big bluff (and maybe cajones as well!)
Comment by The Black Spur — August 3, 2012 @ 7:45 pm
Lee for Crawford and Ciriaco? Boston gets a top line SP and shortens their payroll timeline, Philly gets a guy that if healthy is what they need in the OF and the top of the order. CC is a NL style player and Lee keeps the ball down and in the park….amounts on contracts left are close….
Lee’s either going to be paid ~$110M through the 2016 season or ~$95M through the 2015 season. Having him for the final 2 months of this year for ~$7M is so much more valuable to the Dodgers than to the Phillies that it makes sense for both teams to find a common ground for a trade. From the Phillies’ perspective, since this season’s over for all intents and purposes, if they keep him, in effect they’re going to pay him that ~$110M for the next four seasons (~$27.5M per year) or an even higher AAV if the option doesn’t vest. Because of the Dodgers’ current place in the standings, one could argue that from their perspective, they would be getting the equivalent of closer to 5 years than 4 of Lee for the ~$110M.