The Dodgers were awarded the waiver claim rights on Phillies Cliff Lee today.
This means that 10 other National League clubs decided not to try and put in a claim to block the Dodgers.
Also, indicating that those clubs saw the possibility of the Phillies dumping Lee and his salary to the team who claims him.
Likely? No. However, no team below the Dodgers were willing to take that risk.
The Phillies have until Sunday to complete one of the three actions:
- Work out a trade with the Dodgers, not including anyone on the 40 man rosters.
- Send Lee and his full salary to the Dodgers.
- Pull Lee back off waivers and not trade until after the season.
Lee is due at least $97.5M through 2015 and possibly more. Claiming Lee is a big risk from any club, yet the Dodgers make this claim without even blinking.
Five Reasons Why I Feel Phillies Move Him:
1. Hamels’ Huge Contract Extension
Signing Cole Hamels to a huge contract of up to $158M over 7 years, has them investing over $64M in 2013 to three starting pitchers. These same three pitchers total $56.5M this year. This might not seem like a lot, but for a team trying to shed payroll it hurts.
2. Lee’s Back Loaded Contract
Cliff Lee still has over $95M coming his way through 2015 and possibly even more. He makes $21.5M this year, but jumps up to $25M in 2013, 2014, and 2015, with a $27.5M vesting option for 2016. This is not the most team friendly contract, especially now that his first year at $11M has passed.
3. Salary Needs For Other Positions
The Phillies spent the deadline shedding salary in Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton. They have many holes to fill in 2013 and Lee’s $25M could go a long way.
4. Attempted To Move Already
After signing Hamels to his gigantic extension, the Phillies were open to the idea of moving Lee, but refused to eat any salary and demanded prospects in return. Those demands are fine prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
5. Phillies Are Out Of Contention
This season is done for them. If they were looking to move Lee already, but failed, are the Phillies really going to eat $10M on Lee this season just to try and trade him this winter? His salary doesn’t get any better.
It’s simple. The time to deal Lee is now.
The Phillies should do their best to get a package of prospects for Cliff Lee, maybe even eating a little salary to do so. If not, walking away from this contract isn’t a bad idea for them.
Doing so will give the Phillies a chance to be big players this winter in signing free agents.