ARLINGTON TX - NOVEMBER 01: Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Source:Cliff Lee is in play in trade talks today. Rangers obviously the most logical landing spot, with 3B Mike Olt as possible centerpiece.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2012
Source about Lee trade talks: "It's not going to be cheap." Meaning that the Phillies want a significant package of prospects.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2012
Like the Josh Beckett deal, this is something that sounds sexy and exciting, and that will generate a lot of buzz and tweets, but that I think is exceptionally unlikely to come about.
If its "not going to be cheap," as Olney writes, and if the Rangers weren't willing to pay (after the 2010 season) what Lee has due to him under his existing contract, why would the Rangers agree to assume that obligation now? They have lost almost two seasons -- what one would expect to be his best two seasons -- and they could have kept him then without paying through the nose in terms of prospects to land him?
You can say that, well, at the time they thought that they might be paying Josh Hamilton, and that's not likely to happen now, but there are still players that the Rangers are going to need to pay, other ways to allocate their resources, and I doubt that Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan & Company think putting almost $100 million towards Cliff Lee over the next several years -- and parting with quality prospects for the privilege -- is a wise move.
I think the Phillies are in a situation where they figure, hey, if someone wants to give up several quality prospects to take Lee and assume all his money, then let's talk. But if not, I can't see the Phillies making a deal.
One other thing to take into account...I think it is unlikely any time puts in a claim on Lee if and when he's put on revocable waivers in August. If he clears revocable waivers, he can still be traded up until August 31, and be eligible for the acquiring team's postseason roster. I don't think Lee gets traded, but if he does, I think it is in August, not in the next two days.