It’s been a season of uncertainty for Cliff Lee. Would the beloved lefty ever win a game in 2012? Lee didn’t win until July 4.
Would Lee be dealt before the July trade deadline? There were rumors that GM Ruben Amaro was offering Lee for a big package? The deal never happened.
Could Lee leave in August? Lee was placed on waivers and, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Dodgers claimed him. Then, Amaro pulled him back.
“A lot of guys are placed on waivers,” Lee said. “I’m not sure why it’s such a big deal about me [being placed on waivers].”
Lee, who was already traded once by the Phillies, has to wonder about his future. He can’t be traded this season. Once a player is placed on waivers and pulled back, he stays with his team throughout the campaign.
“You have to wonder what’s going on in his head,” a scout said. “Was coming back to the Phillies the right thing to do? Should the Phillies deal him since he is the only one of their big contracts that they could probably trade?”
The Phillies owe Lee $87.5 million over the next three seasons. That breaks down to about $29 million a season. Is Lee — 2-6 record with a 3.78 ERA — worth such a contract? Lee has given up a whopping 18 home runs this season.
“If he pitches like the 2008 and 2009 version of Cliff Lee, I think he is worth it,” the scout said. “But he’s not getting any younger.”
Lee, who will turn 34 August 30, wants to remain in Philly.
“I love it here,” Lee said. “I want to stay. I still think we have a chance to win here and go deep in the playoffs with the players we have.”
If Lee remains, he would anchor an enviable starting staff in 2013 that features Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. Lee, who leads the MLB with 11 no-decisions, hopes next season will be better than what he has experienced in 2012. There have been a number of times in which Lee appeared to reach the boiling point.
After pitching yet another strong game without a decision in May, Lee was asked if lack of preparation was the reason for the Phillies’ disappointing play.
“I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m prepared every day,” Lee said as he glared at the reporter.
Who knows what the Phillies will do when it comes to Lee and the offseason?
“All I know is that we’re a better team with Cliff Lee than without him,” Jimmy Rollins said. “I don’t think there’s any debate about that. This has been a difficult season, but I still think we’re a good enough team to be right in it for the next few seasons, but we need guys like Cliff to be part of it.”