I sat right down the third-base line at Cliff Lee‘s return last night, and while I’d argue he gave up a lot of seeing-eye singles, giving up 12 hits and six runs in less than six innings, in front of over a dozen or so scouts, doesn’t exactly up your trade value.
So while it seems Lee would have to nearly throw a complete game shutout in his next start to really have a shot to be traded before the trade deadline, teams are always desperate for veteran pitching with playoff experience. Whether that means a July 31st trade or an August waiver deal largely depends on how quickly Lee can prove that he is completely healthy.
Whenever trade talks for Clifton get serious, we know now the nine teams that aren’t blocked on Lee’s partial no-trade clause.
Lee’s deal also includes a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 20 teams. According to a baseball source, Lee has listed Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, Minnesota, the New York Mets, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Washington as the nine teams he can be traded to without his consent.
That information comes courtesy of ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who says there were over 10 scouts on-hand at last nights Phillies’ game.
In Lee’s no-trade clause, he maintained pretty much all of his leverage. He has the Mets, Braves Marlins, and Nationals as teams he can be traded to, which the Phillies aren’t going to do because they are all in the NL East. The Rays are too much of a small market team to make a push for Lee. And the Twins, Indians and Astros, aren’t necessarily teams that couldn’t trade for Lee’s services, but they are all smaller market teams, that normally won’t be able to commit to a salary like Lee’s.
So by listing those teams, and doing nearly the opposite of Cole Hamels, if teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, or Tigers wanted to trade for Lee, he would have to approve a deal. It’s possible in that scenario that Lee doesn’t waive his no-trade clause and decides to just stay put in Philly. It’s possible that he does agree to a deal as he chases a World title in his mid-30s. Or to agree to a trade, Lee could make whatever bigger market team acquires his services guarantee his $27.5 million vesting option for 2017, which could very well be a sticking point in any potential Lee deal.
Essentially though, whenever Lee does get moved, if he does, he all-but gets to decide where he goes, or doesn’t.