Cliff Lee is set to return to the Phillies rotation after the All-Star break. More importantly, he's also available for trade.
"Teams that have spoken with the Phillies say the club has indicated it is willing to eat a significant portion of Lee's salary if it gets the right pieces back in a trade."
His contract is $25M this year and next, with a vesting option (for 200IP in 2015 or 400IP in 14-15) for $27.5M in 2016. If the option vests, then it would't be a bad thing based off that criteria. Or he could always be re-traded. If the Phillies eat enough money to make him a $13-15M pitcher, he'd be a perfect addition for this season for a team looking to contend, and he'd also bridge the gap to Kingham/Taillon/Glasnow group by stabilizing a rotation that can only relay on Cole, Morton, and Locke for next season.
Now what are the right pieces? Let's presume they want near major league level talent with some high-ceiling prospects.
How close does a package of H. Ramirez + Jacoby Jones + 2 of Cumpton/Worley/Pimentel + 2 of A Sampson/L Heredia/O Castro/J Rodriguez/C Dickson get us?
This would keep the farm in very good shape and add a great piece. It would probably take adding Austin Meadows to the equation considering the amount of money paid by the Phils, but that wouldn't be too devastating given our current OF. Reuben loves high-upside prospects, so Jones, Heredia, or even a Willy Garcia type could be more appealing to him than others.
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