Currently sitting at 28-30, 7.5 games behind the National League Eastern division leading Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies are at a bit of a crossroads in 2013. Do they attempt to improve and try to chase down the Braves, or more likely, try for a Wild Card play-in game? Or do they look towards the future?
One piece that would undoubtedly help them improve for the future is starting pitcher Cliff Lee, who despite being 34 years old, has a 2.45 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.
Currently due $25 million dollars this season and due a reported $50 million dollars combined in 2014 and 2015, Lee wouldn’t come cheap. Even his buyout in 2016 is jaw dropping expensive. The $27.5 million dollar option in 2016 would vest if Lee is not on the disabled list at the end of 2015 and has 200 innings pitched in 2015 or 400 innings pitched in 2014-15 combined. If the said team wants to buy Lee out of that final year, it would cost $12.5 million to say goodbye.
On top of that, Lee has a no-trade clause that has twenty teams on it, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers:
The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles are among the 20 teams that would need Lee’s permission to acquire him, the sources told FOXSports.com.
Of course, no-trade clause or not, all it would take in those scenarios would be Lee’s permission to accept a trade so the clause isn’t as final as it sounds.
But given the money owed to Lee for the next three seasons (potentially), Lee’s permission might be the last thing on the mind of teams attempting to acquire the 2008 Cy Young award winner.