The trade deadline is but nine days away, and one of the big names that's almost certainly on the market—if anyone wants him—is Phillies starter Cliff Lee. Lee made his return to the mound yesterday after more than two months on the DL, and everything was wet and loud and messy.
Yes, there's video. Sit tight.
Lee got whacked around by the Giants for a career-high 12 hits, 10 of them singles, and six runs in five-and-two-thirds innings in San Francisco's 7-4 win. His velocity looked fine, his fastball touching 90, and Lee said fatigue wasn't a factor, but he admitted he had control issues.
"I felt good physically, I just wasn't able to locate," said Lee, who will make one more start before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. "Hopefully, I can iron that out between now and my next start."
The Phillies too hope he can iron it out. If other teams think Lee can recapture even a phantom of his previous form, he may fetch a quality return. But he's owed $9.5 million this year, $25 million next year, and a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016 that'll cost clubs $12.5 million to buy him out. That's an awful lot of money for a guy turning 36 next month, and who just missed two months with an elbow injury.
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.