With less than 24 hours remaining in the non-waiver trade deadline, Cliff Lee’s name has surfaced in the frenzy of rumors as the Phillies consider making several moves.
In the recent past, the logical destination for someone of Lee’s stature might have been the Yankees, who would put money aside. But with the new collective bargaining rules and the Yankees’ public commitment of getting their payroll below $189 million, Lee is not coming to New York and that was confirmed by general manager Brian Cashman.
“I’m not allowed to speak about another team’s player,” Cashman said. “But if there was a hypothetical mythical beast that makes like $25 million a year for the next X amount of years that became hitting the market, we certainly could not participate in that type of [high-]level financial talent.”
Besides the type of prospects that it might take in any deal for a well-established pitcher, Lee is making $25 million in 2014 and that figure jumps to $27.5 million when the left-hander turns 37 in 2017.
So it those factors that make the Yankees a non-factor in any trade talks for Lee, which is a contrast to a proposed deal two years ago. The sticking point in that reported deal was Eduardo Nunez and ultimately Lee went to Texas, beat the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS and then signed with the Phillies.
Other trade possibilities include a third baseman especially in the wake of Alex Rodriguez’s lengthy hand injury. Names such as San Diego’s Chase Headley have been mentioned in rumors, but Cashman did not seem to believe he would make a move.
“It’s gotten really quiet,” he said. “Things have just gotten quiet all of a sudden. There have been a lot of moves before tomorrow so I’m not going to count anything out. [There are] a lot of buyers [and] not very many sellers.”
A day after throwing 30 pitches in his latest rehab appearance at Double-A Trenton, Joba Chamberlain was back at Yankee Stadium to play catch, run and lift weights.
After his first appearance in the Eastern League, Chamberlain was even more encouraged about his progression for two reasons.
One was increased velocity on off-speed pitches and the other was being able to get loose, sit down and get loose again before entering into the game.
“My off-speed was a little bit harder than I expected, which was good,” Chamberlain said. “That’s something that we’ve been looking to do as we continue through the process, so that was a good sign.
“All in all it was kind of a different situation, and Shaeffer [Hall] got through the inning without me having to come in. So I got one time to get up, get hot, sit down and get ready for the next inning. So obviously that’s something that I haven’t experienced yet, which was nice to get under my belt.”
Manager Joe Girardi said the reports he has been getting have been good. Most of that has come through written or verbal reports since the only video he saw was one low-quality clip.
Chamberlain, who last pitched in the majors on June 3, 2011, can finally see the end of a 14-month process. The next step that will bring him closer to the majors will be another appearance for Trenton Tuesday night in a game that will also feature Pirates’ top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole.
“It’s kind of gone by quick because there are games and there is always something to look forward to. The first couple of months when you’re rehabbing, it kind of drags a little bit. I was staring at the four walls in the rehab [facility] for a while and it got kind of redundant and monotonous, so it was nice to be able to get out and see some different places and different fields.
“To be able to know that there’s an end in sight is awesome. To be able to know that you’re going to be up here helping the team win and be in whatever role it is, is a blessing.”
Reports of Pettitte setback premature
On Sunday, there were some reports that Andy Pettitte experienced a minor setback in his recovery from a fractured ankle.
Pettitte has been on the 60-day DL since taking a ball off his ankle in a game against the Indians on June 27. The Yankees said that they were not expecting him to return until September and even with the reports, they’re sticking to that projection.
“We said all along that this is a 60-day injury, at least,” Girardi said. “If you think about it, you don’t pick up a baseball and throw off a mound for at least six weeks. Sixty days is pretty tough to get back from because you’re talking about 42 days where you have to build it back up. So as far as a setback, I wouldn’t call it a setback. I think it is part of the healing process.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.