Ten days from now, phones will be ringing off the hook as the MLB trade deadline hits its final hours. The Philadelphia Phillies will almost certainly be included in much of the discussion in some way or another.
As the faithful fans continue to clamor for Roy Halladay, but at the same time voice their exceptions to such a deal, the Phillies front office continues to scout all avenues. One such road is Cliff Lee.
Lee won the Cy Young award in the American League a year ago by posting a 22-3 record with a 2.54 ERA. The Cleveland Indians have slide into the abyss, now trailing the first place Tigers by 13 ½ games. A lost season for the Tribe means their big guns are up for sale, including Lee. The problem is, they will be looking for a king’s ransom as well.
Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com (whom everyone is so fond of) wrote that the Phillies are exploring other options besides Roy Halladay. They aren’t throwing all of their eggs into one basket, which is a perfect way to go at this time of the year. Still, is Lee even near the same level Halladay and would he produce the same kind of optimism and trust that the current Blue Jay does? Here are some factors surrounding each player:
- Is having an underrated season on a bad team, so the numbers don’t say a lot
- Being the reigning Cy Young winner is good for something, right?
- Doesn’t have much of a track record: spent part of 2007 in the minors
- To be fair, he did average 15 wins per season from 2004-2006.
- Would playing for a contender rejuvenate him back to his Cy Young ways?
- Is owed only $11.5 million through next year, cheaper than Doc
- Who would the Indians want in return?
- Could also be having an underrated season because of playing in Toronto
- Could have won the Cy Young last year after going 20-11 with a sub-three ERA
- Is the leader in the clubhouse for the Cy this year
- Seems to get better with age: at 32, could be having his best year
- Will he stay long term or is he a rental? That could play into the decision
- Toronto wants a metric ton for him: they will hold on to him if necessary
If you have dedicated countless hours to the Roy Halladay situation, this just further cements the fact that you cannot get any better than the Doc. There appear to be too many questions surrounding Lee, as he does not have the same track record Halladay has. Added to that mix are the indications sent forth by Cleveland that they too want a lot in return. How much remains a mystery, but the bounty will surely cost the Phils a top prospect or two, at the least.
So is Cliff Lee worth it? Fans are drawing up the signs as we speak: “Halladay or Bust.”