July 31, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee (33) throws a pitch during the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Source: Phillies have placed Cliff Lee on waivers. Executives expect him to clear Friday afternoon, be eligible for trade.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 2, 2012
Unable to deal the former Cy Young winner prior to the trade deadline, the Phillies were expected by many to place the 33-year-old lefty on waivers. There is no knowing whether he will make it through the process unclaimed or whether the Phillies will revoke him before he clears.
With Lee owed at least $75 million over the next three seasons, plus a $27.5 million fourth year vesting option, Passan speculates that the Phillies would likely have to eat $7-8 million a year of Lee's contract in a trade to get prospects of any worth in return.
The big question when/if Lee clears waivers is how much the Phillies will be willing to pay for the left-hander to pitch somewhere else. Matt Gelb of the Philly Inquirer believes that with the reluctance the team showed to take on Joe Blanton's meager $3 million, it is highly unlikely the team will eat much of Lee's salary:
Fair warning: If you think the Phillies will pay Cliff Lee approximately $30 million to pitch elsewhere, you're nuts.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) August 2, 2012
Lee owns a disappointing 2-6 win-loss record in 18 starts on the season, but his 3.73 ERA and 4.96 K/BB ratio indicate he has been more unlucky than bad.
Will the Phillies deal Lee if he clears waivers?