The Philadelphia Phillies must be realizing that it is time for a change. With aging veterans who are oft injured, as well as a manager who is in the final year of his deal and an emerging candidate simply waiting in the wings, the Phillies are not going to contend for a playoff berth in 2013. Playing in the National League East behind the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals certainly only complicates matters, and that is why it is time for Philadelphia to continue dealing away some of its more valuable assets. In 2012, it was Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton. The Phillies attempted to unload Cliff Lee last season by placing him on waivers, but they were unsuccessful in dealing him after he was claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. But with Roy Halladay most likely out for the rest of this season, as well as a plethora of dinged up struggling players, the time is now for the Phillies to trade Lee, with the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels two teams who would likely make a strong pitch to acquire the 34-year-old southpaw.
Granted, it will have to be quite the coup for either team to pull off a deal to obtain Lee. Not because of what it would cost them in return, but because of what it will cost them to add Lee’s salary to their payroll, while also convincing the ace to accept a trade to their squad. He does, after all, have a no-trade clause in his contract, with is only in the third year of a five year deal worth $120 million. Acquiring Lee will not come easily. Nor will it come cheaply.
Still, to make a big move in the standings, teams must often make a big move in the transaction wire. Trading for Lee would certainly qualify such a move.
The Angels have been throwing around money like drunken yuppies for quite some time now. Two offseasons ago, they signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. They missed the playoffs last season. This past offseason, the Angels signed Josh Hamilton. They are in fourth place in their own division, currently eight games below .500 and 10.5 games out of first. Needless to say, things are not going as planned, and part of the problem is the team’s starting pitching. Jered Weaver is expected to return soon, and will make a solid 1-2 punch along with Wilson. Still, the Angels need some more consistent arms in the rotation, as well as the bullpen. They may need to make yet another big splash in order to compete with the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics in the American League West.
The Orioles are not in the same boat as the Angels. While they have tried to throw big contracts out to marquee free agents, they have been rather unsuccessful in landing some of the bigger names via trades and free agency. While they have done an outstanding job developing their own home grown talent, especially on offense with the likes of Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, the Orioles are still weak on the mound. While calling up Kevin Gausman for tonight’s game could give Baltimore a boost, the team still needs to upgrade its rotation in order to keep up with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. Trading for Lee would immediately place the Orioles right in the thick of things in terms of postseason contenders.
Lee has already told reporters that he wants to win. It does not appear as if that will occur in Philadelphia any time soon. If Lee is going to win, and the Phillies are finally going to realize that they need to rebuild, then a trade is the only resolution to helping both achieve what is in the best interest of both parties.