What About Lee for Outfield Help? – Phillies Nation

What About Lee for Outfield Help?


Cliff Lee-for-Matt Kemp. Crazy? Really crazy? Perhaps I’m too immersed in sports, because last night I had a dream that a deal like this went down. I need a hobby.

It’s assumed the Phillies are now in selling mode, and rightfully so. Lee, previously unavailable, now has his name in lights as the deadline hits tomorrow. Where will he go? Nobody knows.

Boston and Los Angeles are two common destinations, although it has been noted by several media outlets that the Red Sox are loathe to part with top prospect Xander Bogaerts. If he’s not included, forget about it. There are likely other teams talking with the Phillies, but Lee holds the keys with a limited, yet still lengthy, no-trade clause.

Searching outside the box for a dance partner leads us west. The Dodgers have been red hot lately and they can attribute much of their new success to Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, and Adrian Gonzalez. One notable name missing is Matt Kemp. The oft-injured outfielder has struggled mightily this year around the ailments and remains on the 15-day DL.

Could Kemp-for-Lee work? Not sure Matt Kemp alone would be enough to entice the Phillies, and it’s probably just as unlikely the Dodgers would want to move a 28-year-old borderline superstar for a 34-year-old pitcher. But why not?

The Dodgers are stacked offensively right now – not to mention in the outfield – and getting zero from Kemp. They’re paying him over $20 million this season and through 2019. That’s a ton of coin. However, it would give the Phillies a dual-threat player in the middle of the order, something they clearly lack.

By acquiring Lee, the Dodgers would have an almost unbeatable rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Grienke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Cliff Lee.

The risks involved are many on each side: The Phillies taking on roughly $140 million until the end of this decade. Plus, Kemp isn’t healthy right now and hasn’t hit all year. How bad is his shoulder injury? Will that return? And what will his 30+ years look like? He’d play 2015-19 at 30+, making $107 million.

(Note: The shoulder injury alone makes him almost un-deal-able right now, however if the Phillies do hold onto Lee, and Kemp’s healthy returns, what about the offseason?)

The Dodgers run the risk of unloading an all-star caliber player for a mid-30’s pitcher, which on the surface is never a sure thing.

It’s such an intriguing fantasy-baseball-like deal that’s almost certainly too wild to take seriously. But with Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ned Coletti, anything is possible. The Phillies handed out $20 million contracts over the last three seasons like mints and the Dodgers have doubled their salary to $216 million in 2013. Anything is possible.

Again, no rumors here, just throwing around a wild scenario and roughly $250 million of other teams’ money haphazardly. That’s what we’re here for, right? I’d rather trade him for the top prospects in the Red Sox organization (looking at you Xander and Jackie Bradley Jr.), but these two names together – Lee and Kemp – do get the blood flowing.




  1. Chuck A.

    July 30, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I don’t know… “intriguing” is a great word for this, Pat. I’d rather get the top prospects as well but having someone like Matt Kemp in your lineup every night would be amazing.

    However, right away two things tell me “No”.. 1) The exorbitant amount of money owed to Kemp at age 30+ (isn’t that a problem we already have?) and 2) the injury thing with him.

    I think they have to hold out for a Boston-type package that you mentioned. Otherwise, no trade.

    • hk

      July 30, 2013 at 7:37 am


      Playing Devil’s Advocate on your first point, the Phils owe Cliff Lee $62.5M for his age 35 and 36 seasons. The Dodgers owe Kemp $134M for his age 29 through his age 34 seasons. Since players of Kemp’s athletic ability and build typically peak around age 32 or 33, IF (capitalized for emphasis) Kemp is healthy, the Phils would get ~4 seasons before his peak. Factor in expected baseball salary inflation and the present value of Kemp’s salary doesn’t look so bad compared to the present value of Lee’s.

      As to your point #2, I have no idea if Kemp is injury prone or not, but they should not do such a deal if their doctors have any fear that he might be.

    • Bob

      July 30, 2013 at 8:54 am

      No way would I take Kemp for Lee , injuries have plagued us for the past 3 seasons why would we risk our best pitcher who is healthy for an unhealthy maybe will return in good shape and maybe will get back into good hitting and fielding ,,, No Way too many Maybes for me …

      • hk

        July 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

        Maybe because Lee is older and older players have a tendency to start getting injured more. Two years ago, you would have scoffed at trading Halladay because he was “our best pitcher who is healthy” at the time. Look at what happened with Roy once he reached age 35. I’m not saying that this is going to happen to Lee, but if it does like it has with many 35 year old P’s before him, the team will be even more screwed than it is now.

        While Kemp has been injured in each of the past two seasons, I don’t know enough about his injuries to say whether he’s injury-prone or suffered fluky injuries. Prior to last season, he had 657 or more plate appearances over four consecutive seasons.

        As I stated above, Kemp’s deal is a much better contract. Using a 5% (which is probably low) discount factor, the present value of the money the Phils owe to Lee is $66.12M for the remainder of this season plus 2 more seasons while the present value of the money the Dodgers owe to Kemp is $114.90M for the remainder of this season plus 6 more seasons. Factor in Kemp’s age and his deal will be much better for his team than Lee’s will be for his IF Kemp stays reasonably healthy.

      • Lefty

        July 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        I agree with you hk, I think it’s a risk they should take if available. As I said before, Kemp’s injuries sure seem like a bunch of bad luck to me. Three trips to the DL in one year is almost improbable, and nothing seems to be chronic or long lasting. I doubt something this crazy would happen again

  2. Alex Lee

    July 30, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Very intriguing. I’d definitely consider it. A healthy Kemp would fill the biggest of the missing pieces that this offense needs and at 28, still should have 4ish high-level years left. But obviously, as you pointed out, there a plenty of risks too.

    Also, you can forget Boegarts. Zero percent chance they trade him for anybody, much less someone they also have to absorb $70MM with… he might be the best prospect in baseball. I’d even say Jackie Bradley is a long shot.

  3. Nick

    July 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Id rather have Giancarlo Stanton. Send Lee and Young to Boston, Middlebrooks and xander to Miami and Stanton to Philly

    • Alex Lee

      July 30, 2013 at 8:08 am

      Boston isn’t trading Boegarts. No shot.

    • scorekeeper

      July 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Now we are talkin! 3-way deal with prospects to Miami, Lee to bosox, and Stanton to Phils!Heck lets throw paps out there for the sox too!

  4. Dave

    July 30, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Great…so we get an injured outfielder for 20 million a year and our rotation going into next year would be Hamels and three #4/#5 starters. That’s not a good trade for us. I still think you need to build your team around pitching. It didn’t work out this time, but I think it does more often than not. Ruben’s failure was forgetting to build a bullpen.

    • George

      July 30, 2013 at 8:41 am

      I have to agree. The Phils have enough injured or old and potentially injured players already.

      I will say, however, that one of those #4/#5 starters might actually turn out to be a #3 minus.

      • Dave

        July 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

        I hope so George…but I’m not confident they will. I’d say Pettibone has the most potential since he’s young and still learning how to pitch. Lannan and Kendrick have been around long enough that you know what you’re getting. I’m not even sure you bring Kendrick back for the 10 million he’s going to command. There might be a better deal to be had (Gavin Floyd comes to mind). If he can save you 3 million, that could be the difference in another bullpen piece.

  5. GMoney

    July 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Ummmm Ruben, this would be bad. This is a terrible trade. Trading a great pitcher for someone who is ALWAYS injured and probably plays less than Ryan Howard and Chase Utley….DO NOT BE STUPID RUBEN!!!

  6. Dave

    July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    On a side note…Asche hit 2 home runs last night for the Iron Pigs. We need to get his bat up here and see what he can do. It might bring some excitement to an otherwise dreadful season.

  7. Bring Back Pat

    July 30, 2013 at 8:54 am

    So i give Ruben credit for bringing in Lee in 09, Doc and Oswalt in 10, Pence in 11 but I think its time we get a new GM. It seems that we have a major issue with our minor league. None of those prospects that we traded have come back to bite us and to me thats a major problem. Ruben has been unable to find those free agency gems like how St.Louis does how Pat did for the Phils, They dont use any Moneyball stats to help decide on players. Look at the team right now. Your telling me that we couldnt find an OF in the minors to come fill in for Revere. We have a lack of young bullpen development.

    If I was David Montgomery I would order Rubin to trade Lee, Papelbon, Ruiz, Kendrick, Rollins, M.Young. Then after the season I would let Charlie retire and become a consultant for the minors down in Clearwater. Fire Rubin and then backup the money truck to Tampa and grab Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon.

    • Chuck A.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

      The second paragraph HAS to be some sort of joke. Either that or you’re starting happy hour a tad early.

      • Bring Back Pat

        July 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        Hey Chuckles why dont u get your head out of your #$#. You make a strong enough offer Friedman and Maddon would come. To see what those two have done down in Tampa would love to see what they could do with a team flush with cash like the Phils.

  8. Pat Gallens Puppy

    July 30, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Your an idiot. Pat I would ask my coworkers what they thought before posting stupid sh*t like this.

  9. Lefty

    July 30, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I’m trying to look at it from the dodgers POV.

    I’m not sure what they think of their own player, but he did have an MVP type season, I guess they may be tiring of the constant health issues, but it just looks like a stretch of bad luck to me.

    Lee seems like overkill to me in that rotation. I would think the Dodgers will be active, but their needs are more geared to a second baseman than an SP. I would think they’d be interested in Utley more than Lee.

    • Ryne Duren

      July 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Any deal involving Lee and the Dodgers will have to include Pederson. Period. HK mentioned in an earlier comment that peak years are 33-34? How is that? when most of our guys were 31-32 according to every body and their brother they were declining and getting old. Kemp IS now in his peak years and he’s injured. We don’t need another Howard contract. Go for the young studs. By the time the Phils are ready to content again both Lee and Kemp and Howard are either done or close to it.

      • wbramh

        July 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        Just caught up with your comment and as I wrote below I’m pretty much in agreement.
        The Phillies will likely gain nothing since they very likely won’t be competitive again until Kemp is as old or older than Lee. Hence the deal would heavily favor the Dodgers who are very much in the hunt for a championship this year.

        For the Phillies to benefit, they would need those potential future stars in return and try to get Kemp as the “throw-in” player in that deal. I say “throw-in” not in talent but no more than that when you consider the Phillies long-term needs (as you have). IMO, Kemp’s sole value would be his ability to sell a few seats while the team rebuilds.

        The other question is, while Lee would likely be happy to go to LA would Kemp want to come to Philadelphia? Has he earned any no-trade clauses of his own?

  10. NCPhilliesFan

    July 30, 2013 at 9:10 am

    “The oft-injured outfielder has struggled mightily this year around the ailments and remains on the 15-day DL”

    And again – we would want to do this why?

  11. Bring Back Pat

    July 30, 2013 at 9:11 am

    wouldnt it make more sense for the Dodgers to try for Papelbon and solidify the bullpen?

  12. Andrew

    July 30, 2013 at 9:24 am

    This might sound crazy but i had a similar experience. My sub conscious envisioned Cliff being dealt to LA for Kemp today.

  13. Bart Shart

    July 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I think Kemp is similar to Fred Lynn, of former Red Sox fame. He was extremely talented but as he matured, he became a liability because he was always hurt. Moreover, Kemp seems to be a Hollywood type. Philly would not make this guy happy at all.

    • Don M

      July 30, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Kemp is from Oklahoma – seems like the Hollywood type, because that’s where he plays . . . . but he’d be the king of Philadelphia if he came here.. Phillies fans would love him, girls would forget about Chase Whatshisname .. and you would finally have a RH power threat, …

      Brown, Kemp, Revere in the OF would look pretty decent

      • wbramh

        July 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        Everybody is FROM Oklahoma.

  14. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    July 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Lee for the oft injured, aging Kemp? That is a bad, bad trade. Keep Lee lose Kendrick and Lannan and give these young starters some work.

  15. Don M

    July 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I like the people who think it matters if Cliff Lee is here or not . . . like he’s been carrying us to great thing the past few seasons. If you’re trading Lee, you look for the best possible return. if the dollars match or don’t matter . . . would you rather have Kemp, or an unproven prospect?

    I’d take Kemp, … Revere, Utley, Kemp, Brown .. you’d still ahve Hamels, can resign Halladay, the new Cuban, Kendrick .. and either give one of the AA-AAA guys their shot, or go sign a FA #3-5 starter …

    • "Big Ed" Delahanty

      July 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      I disagree on what Lee has done. He was fantastic the first time we traded for him, and he has been excellent since the trade to bring him back, despite a weird won/loss record last year that is not indicative of how he pitched, and that one bad game against the Cards in the playoffs. Hamels, while an excellent pitcher in his own right, has not been the paramount of consistency. Kemp is aging and this team is the prime example of aging stars: declining performance and nagging injuries. I would want a proven player also, but one a little younger and that has been mostly healthy in their career and the current year. Just my two cents. : )

      • Don M

        July 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        My point is that it takes more than 1 dominant pitcher every 5th day… the Orioles don’t have an ACE … but they have a great lineup… Give me the everyday player instead of the guy that plays in 35 games per year.

        Matt Kemp is 28.. with career avgs of .293, .350 OBP, 26 HR, 27 Steals, 96 Runs, 94 RBI

        And, because someone mentioned it below.. Jayson Stark didn’t mention this yesterday at all… but he openly wondered why the Dodgers aren’t looking to deal Kemp .. and we all already know that the Dodgers covet Cliff Lee … it’s not as far fetched as some might think

      • George

        July 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        I notice that the Orioles may not have an ace, but they’re also only in 3rd place. Great lineups can’t always make up for a lack of pitching, especially when the teams around you have both.
        There’s no one alive who can tell me that Kyle Kendrick will beat Gio Gozalez on a consistent basis, even with the poor performance of the Nat’s lineup this year, and even with Kemp batting for the Phils.

      • schmenkman

        July 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        One dominant pitcher certainly isn’t enough, but I don’t see how replacing Lee with Kemp is a net positive in helping the Phillies win games, even if Kemp is healthy.

        It may make the team hit better (and pitch worse), which will make it more interesting for some fans, but Lee has been the better player, with the lone of exception of Kemp’s great 2011.

      • wbramh

        July 30, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        I’m vetoing this Lee for Kemp deal right now.
        Discussion over.

        You want a good trade that helps both teams?
        Kendrick for Kemp, straight up.

        LA gets a decent 4th/5th starter that could help them go deep in the play-offs this year while Phillies fans get some interim thrills (if Kemp is healthy) while the team rebuilds.

        This example from just 1 month ago:


  16. Ken Bland

    July 30, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I’d like to see the BoSox take the plunge and give up Bradley and Bogaerts, though I must confess I know more about Bradley. That’s from a Phils perspective, slanted though it may be. It also assumes Cliff wants to go, and to Boston. It’s easy for me to see that as a real favorable move, but I’m as much in his corner as the team’s standing.

    I’m wondering if Ruiz and Mike Young to the Yanks for Phil Hughes might not be appealing to the 2 sides.

    This guy better do something. I hope it comes across as positive.

  17. Mazinman

    July 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Kemp? Don’t we have enough high priced players that are always injured?

    There are only two kinds of deal I am interested in for Lee. I want either a top prospect or two or lesser prospects but the other team has to take on Howard as well. If Ruben can’t get either one then keep him.

  18. Jeff

    July 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Or perhaps you simply saw Jason Stark suggest the same thing yesterday.

  19. Jay

    July 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Anyone else think Chuck A is a blog bully?

    • Lefty

      July 30, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Not sure I’ve ever heard the term “blog bully” before, but if there is such a thing, I don’t get that vibe from Chuck A.

      In fairness we are friends and have been for a very long time here, so maybe I’m not the right one to answer your question. But IMO- He’s an upstanding PN citizen and a good man. There are times we snip at each other, I mean, it’s what we do here. But bullying? Not sure that’s a part of it.

      He stands up for things, and so do I. And many times we don’t agree, but there is no animosity between us. I think he treats people with plenty of respect for a comment board, maybe even more than is customary. But you have to remember that difference of opinion is what this place is all about.

  20. wbramh

    July 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Forgetting any cap considerations and just looking at field improvement, I think a Kemp for Lee deal would at best be a wash for the Phillies – hurt them in the short run but likely buy them a few extra years of above average talent assuming Kemp does recover from his injuries. In short, if I had to bet, I’d say a late 20s outfielder has more shelf life than a mid-30s pitcher. The one positive is the Phillies don’t really need a healthy Kemp this year since they’re going nowhere. Assuming they can rebuild the team within two years, Kemp could be a valuable part of that process. Personally, I I think it’s going to take the Phillies at least 5 seasons to become competitive again. If that’s turns out to be the case,the addition of Kemp will likely be meaningless.

    Conversely, the Dodgers are competitive now, hence adding another tough pitcher to their already strong rotation iwhile trading a guy who isn’t playing is a great move. They have to play it for one year’s championship with the addition of Lee and hope it turns into two years, but we know how hard it is to repeat. When you’re as close as the Dodgers you go for it.

    Looking at it that way, the Dodgers should throw in a prospect or two along with Kemp.
    Then I’d see more upside for the Phillies to pull that trigger.

  21. Pat Gallen

    July 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I think Pat Gallen’s Puppy is a blog bully. I’m telling mom.

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