The early speculation is that it was the Dodgers who won the claiming rights to Cliff Lee, whom the Phillies recently attempted to place on waivers. Lee, who is owed over $100 million on the remainder of his contract counting the vesting option in 2016, is still an excellent pitcher even if he is having a down season by his recent lofty standards.
The soon to be 34-year-old southpaw is getting hit a little harder this season than he has in the past, but part of that is simply the product of bad luck — his .316 BABIP is 20 points higher than his career mark, and an even 13.0% of the fly balls he’s allowed in 2012 are leaving the park compared to just 8.5% for his career. While Lee’s K/9 rate has dropped slightly from a year ago, it’s still very solid at 8.55, and his control (1.72 BB/9) is as good as ever.
For his part, Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro has publicly stated that it’s irrelevant which team won the claiming rights to Lee because he “isn’t going anywhere.” It appears that while the Phillies are looking to do a little bit of rebuilding, they have no intention of dismantling their expensive starting rotation comprised of Lee, Roy Halladay, and the recently extended Cole Hamels.
An organization that was heavily favored to go all the way a season ago finds itself in the cellar this year with a record of 47-59, a full 16 games behind the division leading Nationals. It’s safe to say the 2012 season has been a big disappointment, but an all out fire sale is as of yet not in the making.