Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’

Lee’s Monday night wasn’t that disastrous

Cliff Lee didn’t help his cause last night, but Phillies fans shouldn’t panic about it.

He struggled in his return from the DL against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park, allowing 12 hits, six runs and failing to command his pitches in 5 2/3 innings. You’d think the guy forgot to pitch, but one scout afterward correctly pointed out that Lee maintained his velocity throughout the night, which indicates he is healthy. The struggles? Most likely the result of a two-month layoff.

If Lee is healthy there is no reason to think he will not return to form as one of the top starting pitchers in baseball. If the Phillies can’t trade him before the July 31 Trade Deadline, perhaps he clears waivers next month. If he does, the Phillies have until Aug. 31 to trade him. If he doesn’t clear waivers, there is nothing to prevent the Phillies from trading him in the offseason.

A couple more months isn’t going to hurt anybody, if Lee is healthy and pitching well. In fact, it would get more teams involved in the offseason because right now the only teams interested in Lee are contending teams.

* ESPN.com reported Lee can be traded to nine teams without his consent: the Braves, Indians, Astros, Marlins, Twins, Mets, Padres, Rays and Nationals.

ESPN.com also reported that A.J. Burnett, who shares the same agent as Lee, can be traded to nine teams without his permission: the Orioles, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Cardinals and Nationals.

* I still think the three Phillies most likely to be traded before the deadline are Jonathan Papelbon, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies are listening, but not actively shopping Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I would be incredibly surprised if any of those three are traded.

- Todd Zolecki

Yankees keeping tabs on Phillies’ Cliff Lee

With 80 percent of their Opening Day rotation on the disabled list, starting pitching is a top priority for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman as the July 31 non-waivers Trade Deadline approaches.

There has been speculation that the Yankees and Cliff Lee could finally be a match after several close calls in the past, with Lee returning to the mound in a 7-4 Phillies loss to the Giants on Monday. Yet the Yankees were “just observers” for that start, the New York Post reported, citing a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking.

Acquiring Lee, whom the Yankees chased twice in 2010, could be expensive. Lee turns 36 next month and is due $25 million next season; the Phillies want the acquiring club to pick up a major portion of the salary. Lee would also receive a $12.5 million buyout if a $27.5 million team option is not picked up for 2016.

Lee has missed most of this season with a left elbow strain and hadn’t pitched since May 18. Another potential roadblock is Lee’s no-trade clause. The Yankees are among the 20 teams that Lee can block a trade to, according to FOX Sports.

– Bryan Hoch

Phillies Busy As Trade Deadline Approaches

The Phillies return to action tonight in Atlanta, and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is 13 days away. The Phillies are busy trying to find trade partners for several veteran players, but just because they have players to trade it doesn’t mean they’ll trade them. They’re not pressured to make something happen before July 31. The front office hasn’t been told by ownership to shed payroll no matter what.

Remember, the Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason.

Let’s repeat that: The Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason. Especially if they’re not getting much of a return in their current discussions.

A report Sunday had the Mariners hot and heavy for Marlon Byrd, but reports since said their interest has cooled or talks have stalled. Keep this in mind as you read countless reports between today and July 31: 95 percent of this stuff is teams kicking the tires and reporters taking a kernel of information and writing it. For example, when you read a team with a need for starting pitching has inquired about Cole Hamels, don’t say to yourself, “Oh my God! The (insert team here) are going to get Cole Hamels!” Say to yourself, “Well, no kidding! Of course they’re interested in Cole.”

A team expressing interest in a Phillies player and a team actually making a legitimate offer are two totally different things. Maybe the Mariners called the Phillies last weekend and said, “We’d really like Marlon Byrd, but we’ll only give you a marginal prospect for him.” In that scenario, Ruben Amaro Jr. most likely said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and hung up the phone.

A few reminders as the July 31 deadline approaches:

  • The Phillies are absolutely open to trading Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The contracts and limited no-trade clauses for Papelbon, Lee, Burnett and Byrd could be stumbling blocks, but I just don’t see the Phillies making deals if they’re only getting a light-hitting outfielder or a middling reliever in return.
  • They would need to receive a huge package of prospects to trade Cole Hamels.
  • Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have 10-and-5 rights and have repeatedly expressed their desire to remain in Philadelphia. The Phillies will listen to offers for Hamels, Utley and Rollins, but they are not going to give them away.

So, yes, the Phillies are not “looking” to trade Hamels. And they absolutely prefer to trade Lee over him. They would welcome a Papelbon trade, and they are willing to part with Bastardo because they have two younger, less expensive left-handers in Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands.

It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks for the Phillies. Like I said, they are active. But like I also mentioned, there are no indications they’re going to just get rid of players, either.

- Todd Zolecki

12/10 noon links: Morrison, Balfour, Trumbo

The rumors and speculation continue on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings. Here’s a few of the top stories from Tuesday morning at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.:

  • Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is drawing tons of interest, and it’s almost inevitable he’ll be dealt, but MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that Morrison might not be dealt during the Winter Meetings.
  • The Orioles are trying to get a deal done with closer Grant Balfour, tweets Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Our Brittany Ghiroli writes that no deal is on the table, though that could change quickly.
  • The Angels have been open to dealing Mark Trumbo this offseason, with the D-backs the most-talked about destination. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the White Sox have joined the conversation. In this scenario, the Angels would get pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago from Arizona and Chicago, respectively, the D-backs would get Trumbo and the Sox would receive D-backs outfielder Adam Eaton.
  • The Phillies are willing to talk about left-handers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
  • The Indians are willing to listen on right-hander Justin Masterson and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, tweets Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi. As Morosi notes in a later tweet, the Indians have young shortstop Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings.
  • Third baseman Juan Uribe is drawing interest from the Dodgers, White Sox and other teams, according to ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas, though MLB.com’s Scott Merkin doesn’t see Uribe as a fit.
  • The A’s may not trade left-hander Brett Anderson this week, according to Yanoo!’s Jeff Passan.

- Cash Kruth

Cashman: Yanks aren’t players for Cliff Lee

Two years ago, the Yankees nearly wrestled Cliff Lee away from the Mariners before seeing him head to the Rangers instead. With rumors swirling that the left-hander could again be available for the right price, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman lightheartedly shot down any suggestion that his club would again be involved in the bidding.

It’s not that the Yankees don’t like Lee or couldn’t use him in their rotation, mind you. Cashman pointed out that if the Yankees are going to achieve their goal of reaching a $189 million payroll by 2014, they can’t be taking on contracts like Lee’s. He’s owed a guaranteed $75 million over the next three years.

“I’m not allowed to speak about another team’s player,” Cashman said, “but if there was a hypothetical mythical beast that makes like $25 million a year for the next X amount of years that became hitting the market, we certainly could not participate in that type of level financial talent.”

Cashman added that he is “not at all” optimistic that the Yankees will pull off a move before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waivers Trade Deadline.

“It’s gotten really quiet,” he said. “Things have just gotten quiet all of a sudden. There have been a lot of moves before tomorrow so I’m not going to count anything out. A lot of buyers, not very many sellers.”

- Bryan Hoch

July 18 Late Night Roundup

  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale provided the splashiest rumor of the day, reporting that the Marlins had informed the Red Sox of their willingness to deal third baseman Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell, in exchange for left fielder Carl Crawford and a prospect. But ESPN’s Buster Olney later shot down that idea, tweeting that the proposal “immediately died.”
  • According to our own Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are more likely to explore trading Ramirez during the offseason. Miami, scuffling below the .500 mark, still could look to move the likes of starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson or infielder Omar Infante below July 31.
  • Three different scenarios remain in play for Brewers ace Zack Greinke, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reported at FOXSports.com. The 28-year-old could walk away as a free agent after the season. He could sign a long-term contract to remain in Milwaukee, although the report stated there is “no evidence,” that a formal offer has been made. Greinke also could be traded before the deadline, although he will start only twice more before then, following an extended break.
  • Greinke, along with the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, is a prime deadline target for the Rangers, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Texas also could consider bringing back Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee.
  • Several teams have looked into acquiring third baseman Chase Headley or outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Padres, but San Diego’s asking price for both has been “exorbitant,” reported CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller. The club also might attempt to re-sign Quentin this winter.

– Andrew Simon

Lee returns to Philadelphia

Free-agent pitcher Cliff Lee is headed back to Philadelphia.

The Rangers worked as hard as they could to re-sign Lee, but their pursuit came to an end on Monday when he informed the club that he was signing with the Phillies. Lee apparently took less years and less money to re-sign with the Phillies. Lee agreed to a five-year deal with a vesting option for a sixth season that could bring the total to $120 million.

“Cliff called me,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said late Monday night. “He was very classy. He was very appreciative of the time he was here and how he was treated. He and his family enjoyed his time here. He also enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and liked some of the things that opportunity had to offer.”

The Rangers and the Yankees had been considered the front-runners to sign Lee, but the Phillies have pushed hard since the Winter Meetings and won the pursuit. Lee pitched for the Phillies for the final two months of the 2009 season and, as he did with the Rangers this past season, helped them reach the World Series.

The Phillies traded him to the Mariners last winter. The Rangers acquired him from the Mariners on July 9.

Roundup: Reds locking up their players

The Reds haven’t brought in much outside help this offseason, but they’ve still been among the busiest teams in baseball. Their mission is keeping guys in-house. The club had already inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension. Then, late Thursday night, the club agreed on a six-year, $51 million contract with Jay Bruce, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.

Now, they’re apparently turning their attention to Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto.

The Reds have been wanting to sign Votto, the reigning National League MVP, to some sort of extension, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick believes it won’t be for the six years that Bruce got. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have also had preliminary discussions with Cueto about a long-term deal.

Here’s more from around the league on Friday …

* All was quiet on the Cliff Lee front as of Friday afternoon. The Rangers on Thursday presented Lee with a wide array of complex offers, and now, they wait. The Yankees had recently upped their proposal to seven years, but good friend CC Sabathia will give Lee his space, too. Is the ballyhooed left-hander agonizing over his decision right now? C.J. Wilson doesn’t think so. He thinks Lee is deer hunting.

* Young, non-tendered catcher Russell Martin could be close to making his decision. The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays have been reported to have serious interest, with New York taking “an aggressive approach,” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter. He is said to be deciding between those three American League East teams.

* The Orioles made potential closer Kevin Gregg a two-year offer worth $8 to $10 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. Gregg seems to be negotiating with several teams right now. The question is whether the O’s would give him a chance to be their ninth-inning man.

* A few signings made today: The Royals got Melky Cabrera to be their center fielder; the Orioles resigned veteran infielder Cesar Izturis; the Brewers picked up catcher Wil Nieves; and the Braves officially signed lefty reliever George Sherrill.

* According to Olney, Jorge Cantu is one of the first basemen “seriously being considered” by the Diamondbacks. Cantu was a solid run-producer in the middle of the Marlins’ lineup the last two-plus years, but struggled while playing sparingly with the Rangers towards the end of the 2010 season.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Roundup: 1B locked up in Windy City

Day 3 of the Winter Meetings saw a couple of slugging first
basemen land in Chicago, as the White Sox resigned
their captain
, Paul Konerko, and the Cubs took
a chance on Carlos Pena
.

The Konerko deal was somewhat surprising, considering talks between the two
sides seemed to be on life support just a day ago. But even after signing Adam
Dunn
, Chicago was able to give Konerko a three-year, $37.5 million to form what looks like one of the best lineups in baseball for 2011.

With the Cubs, Pena is reunited with his old esteemed hitting coach, Rudy
Jaramillo
, and receives what super-agent Scott Boras referred to as
a “pillow contract” — because, as Boras said, it’s comfortable for both
sides. That deal is for one year and $10 million, as Pena will try to rebuild
his worth after hitting 28 homers but batting below .200 in 2010.

Here’s more from around the league on Wednesday …

* No more fooling around for the Yankees. They’re ready to make ballyhooed
free-agent starter Cliff Lee a
preliminary offer
of six years and between $140 and $150 million, MLB.com’s
Bryan Hoch confirmed. Will that be enough, considering reports of mystery teams
offering seven years?

* The Rangers met with Carl Crawford‘s agent, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

* Adrian Beltre is still open to signing with the Athletics, according
to Boras. Boras also said negotiations for his third-base client are moving
quickly, and that the Angels are a very possible suitor.  

* There had been several reports that the Red Sox would be interested in
trading for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. But Boras, who represents
him, says Beltran plans
to be a Met
in 2011. That’s significant, considering he has a no-trade clause.

* Five teams are seriously pursuing Zack Greinke while another three are
“on the periphery,” according to FOXSports.com. It still seems like
he’d be tough
to move
, however. The Royals are specific with what they want: pitching and
up-the-middle help.

* The Red Sox, according to CBS Sports, are zeroing in on Magglio Ordonez
to fill their outfield void, which would not be good news for Crawford. The Tigers are also checking.

* The Twins continue their
interest
in resigning Carl Pavano, but they have competition. The
Brewers, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, have
also met with Pavano
. The Nationals are another club known to have
interest. 

* In less-heralded one-year deals on Wednesday, the Mariners signed
non-tendered designated hitter Jack Cust
; the Royals brought
in outfielder Jeff Francoeur
; the D-backs were reportedly on the verge of signing catcher Henry
Blanco
and veteran lefty Mike Hampton (Minor League deal); the
Braves acquired non-tendered lefty reliever George Sherrill; and the Dodgers were close to bringing back Russell Martin
 

– Alden Gonzalez 

Looks like slow going on the Greinke front

It looks like a slow-go on the Zack Greinke trade front. General manager Dayton Moore indicated late Monday afternoon that the Royals would “move slow with it” until they get the right kind of deal – if they ever do.

The scenario seems to be that the Royals will wait until the Cliff Lee decision comes and then see what monster offers might come their way.

Moore is hunting for a right-handed power hitter and, as it has for the last two or three years, outfielder Jeff Francoeur’s name has popped up. That’s because Moore was in on the scouting and signing of Francoeur when he was with the Braves.

--Dick Kaegel.

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