The Philadelphia Phillies are a baseball team at an existential juncture. They have core of players, that while talented are but a shell of their former selves, and likely not near contention. To go along with their aging core, the Phillies have a barebones farm system that doesn’t look like it will be revitalizing the big league roster any time soon. Luckily for the Phillies, they still have some assets, namely Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels that have enough value that their returns may be able to single handedly return the team from the abyss. Until now it appeared that the team was resistant to such moves, but as Bust Olney tweeted:
The Phillies have indicated to other teams they are ready and willing to talk about Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in trades.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2013
Unfortunately for Phillies fans, Ruben Amaro Jr. is the team’s General Manager. Which means what should be a huge haul of prospects will likely be disastrous.
Which is exactly why the Toronto Blue Jays need to step up to the plate. While either of these two perennial Cy Young candidates would be a welcome addition to the Toronto Blue Jays rotation, the Jays preferred target should be one Clifford Lee.
Over the past 3 seasons, Lee has posted a ridiculous 2.80 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP to go along with an almost unbelievable 6.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While Lee is 35-years old and has 3 years and $77.5-million left on his contract ($25 million in each of the next two seasons, with a $27.5-million vesting option – that features a $12.5-million buyout – for 2016), he has shown no signs of decline thus far, and his pin point control bodes well for his potential aging curve. The exoirbrant amount remaining on his contract shouldn’t be looked at as a detriment, but as a positive, as it likely will act as a deterrent to other clubs and lower the potential asking price.
Hamels would also be a welcome addition, but at 5 years younger than Lee, with 5-years and $112-million left on his contract would be a larger committment that would likely come at a higher price on the trade market.
Given the current pitching market, and the asking prices for both free agents and others available on the trade market, it would be unconscionable for the Blue Jays not to at least check in on the possibility of Lee and/or Hamels. It would (rightly) take a small mountain of prospects to pry either of these guys out of Philadelphia, but given their track record, it would be well worth the cost.
Plus, its Ruben Amaro, maybe we can trick him into taking Kyle Drabek back?