Cliff Lee dominated the Twins last night, pitching seven innings while only allowing three hits and getting run support just in time to win his eighth game of the season. The win ended a five game losing streak, but it feels like the five game losing streak ended everyone’s hopes that the Phillies could make a run at the playoffs in 2013. And in an interview with Todd Zolecki last night, Cliff Lee shared his frustrations, but tried to remain positive.
“I can’t look at it any other way, besides I expect us to win and catch up with the Braves and get into the postseason,” Lee told Zolecki. “That’s the only way you can look at it.”
What else is Lee going to say? You can tell from just reading that quote though, that Lee doesn’t get the feeling that things will realistically turn around. The Phillies are a 32-35 team, that just dropped five of seven to the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins-two of baseballs worst teams. So naturally the idea of rebuilding has been, and should be, talked about. And Lee, who is 8-2 with a 2.55 ERA, is one of the Phillies biggest trade pieces.
I’m sure what his trade value is, means very little to Cliff Lee, who has twice missed appeared in the World Series, and came back to Philly with intentions of getting his elusive first ring. Now that it is becoming clearer and clearer that Lee winning a ring in Philly won’t become a reality, fans are beginning to wonder whether Cliff Lee would be interested in being traded to a contender. Zolecki asked Lee about his feelings on a possible trade and got a normal gamer-type response from Lee.
“I definitely want to win,” Lee said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Zolecki proceeded to ask the obvious follow up question, what if this season doesn’t turn around?
“I want to win,” Lee reiterated. “I don’t know how else to say it besides that. I want to win.”
Cliff Lee isn’t stupid, and while his response to that question was politically correct, he didn’t close the door on a potential trade before the July 31st trade deadline. Lee is 34 years-old and even he must realize that his trade value will likely never be higher, and the fact that it is high, gives him the best opportunity to go to a contender. Not to mention with at least five teams going to be interested and a limited no-trade clause, Cliff Lee may somewhat be able to decide which team gives him the best chance to win and is in the city that is best for his family. And after having a down season last year, Lee should be smart enough to realize that if he blocks all teams likely to trade for him this year, he may have a down year next year, and not have a chance to go to a contender. For Lee a trade is beginning to sound like the best course of action, barring a huge winning streak from the Phillies almost immediately.