Team that talked to #Phillies reports only way they’d trade Lee/Hamels is in “win-win” scenario. Take none of $. Get huge return. Unlikely
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 10, 2013
News that the Phillies were looking to trade Domonic Brown at the MLB winter meetings yesterday, really made me question what direction Ruben Amaro is trying to take the Phillies in. This might be even more confusing on that front.
The Phillies have indicated to other teams they are ready and willing to talk about Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in trades.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2013
Wait, I thought one of the biggest reasons that Amaro said that Phillies chose to give Carlos Ruiz a ridiculous extension, was because he had a good relationship with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels? I thought the Phillies still thought they were going to compete in 2014?
CBS Sports Jon Heyman not only confirmed Olney’s report, but he added in another important detail about the Phillies willingness to take on any of the salary still owed to either of the two.
cliff lee and cole hamels are out there on trade market, as buster olney said. further words: phillies wont eat any $.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 10, 2013
Hamels is still owed nearly $113 million through 2018, making the idea of trading him, getting a good return, and not having to eat any of his salary, virtually impossible. He also has a 2019 vesting option that isn’t unreachable, and a limited no-trade clause.
Lee on the other hand, may have a high annual salary, but the 35 year-old only has two years left on his deal, making a trade a bit more manageable.
The limited no-trade clause could be a hurdle in attempting to trade Lee, but he has made it clear that he wants to play for a contender, whether that is in Philadelphia or somewhere else. I think if the Phillies were able to move Lee to a team like the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Tigers, Cardinals, or Dodgers, he would be willing to waive his partial no-trade clause.
I’m not saying that I’m not in favor of the Phillies trading Lee or Hamels massive contracts, because I am. I love both players, but the idea of two guys making almost a combined $50 on a team that hasn’t had a winning record either of the last two seasons, doesn’t make much sense.
Still, by signing 36-year old Marlon Byrd and re-signing soon-to-be 35 year-old Carlos Ruiz, didn’t you send the message that you were still trying to compete next season? You aren’t going to be able to trade Lee, Hamels, or Brown and be a contender next season. Chances are, you won’t be a contender with them either. But if you are trying to be a contender (which it looks like Ruben Amaro is), then trading any of these three makes zero sense.