Philadelphia Phillies Fielding Offers For Cliff Lee

Jul 10, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee (33) delivers to the plate during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After six-straight losses, the Philadelphia Phillies are prepared to sell off pieces, though an all-out fire sale seems unlikely.

With the trade deadline coming Wednesday and the Phillies 9.5 games back in the National League East heading into tonight’s game, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is listening to offers on just about everybody.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported the team has been fielding calls on Cliff Lee, among others. From Crasnick’s article Friday:

“I can’t sit here and say I’m not going to trade Chase (Utley), or Cliff, or Michael Young or Chooch (Carlos Ruiz), or any of these guys,” Amaro said. “Some guys are less tradable than others. But I think I owe it to us as an organization to listen. If teams are going to come at us and suggest things, I’m not going to turn off the faucet and stop listening to them.”

Lee was scheduled to start tonight, but is out with a stiff neck. The 34-year-old has been among the better pitchers in baseball again this season, posting a 10-4 record with a 3.05 ERA, 1.01 WHIP. He’s owed $25 million for each of the next two seasons and has a $27.5 million option for 2016 that comes with a $12.5 million buyout. According to Crasnick, Lee can block trades to 21 teams.

It’s possible impending free agents Michael Young, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz are more likely to be moved, though the team is rumored to been in extension talks with Utley. Jonathan Papelbon’s name is also expected to come up in trade talks, but it’s believed his contract is basically untradable (he’s owed $13 million for each of the next two seasons with a vesting option for the third).

The Texas Rangers have already had discussions with Philadelphia about reacquiring Young, and the Yankees and Red Sox are also rumored to have interest.

Friday, however, the Phillies signed 26-year-old Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to the biggest contract ever for an international player. Devoting that kind of money to a player suggests Philadelphia isn’t exactly prepared to hold a fire sale and completely rebuild. The most Philly had previously given to an international player was $1.2 million, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

One thing’s for sure as the countdown to the deadline continues: the Phillies have become one of the top teams to watch.

Raul Valdes takes the hill for Philly tonight against the Detroit Tigers and Max Scherzer. The nightmare road swing concludes for Philadelphia Sunday afternoon in Detroit, as rookie Jonathan Pettibone faces off against Rick Porcello. The team has Monday off before starting a nine-game homestand Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

Topics: Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies

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