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USAFChief
08-03-2012, 05:39 AM
Every year, teams put all or most of their roster through waivers early in August, just to see who gets through and could therefore possibly be traded.

Let's say Philly puts Cliff Lee on waivers (pretty good chance that happens, BTW).

There is at least some speculation around the internet that Philly would like to get out from under his contract. They are at roughly $170m this year, have a ton of money committed for the next few years, and just signed Cole Hamels to a contract equal to the GNP of several Central American nations.

Cliff Lee is owed $25m in each of 2013, 14, and 15, with a $27.5m option ($12.5m buyout) for 2016 that vests with certain IP marks in 2014/15.

Lee spent a couple weeks on the DL in Apr/May this year, but otherwise has been a durable, 200+ IP horse for every year but one since 2005. Even with his DL stint this year, he has 125 IP, which would easily lead the Twins staff. He has pitched to an ERA under 4 every year since 2008, a WHIP under 1.25 every year since 08, and a K/BB ratio above 4 every year since 08 (including a ridiculous 10+ in 2010.)

Lee will turn 34 this month. He is still the very definition of a top-of-the-rotation starter. The Twins desparately need starting pitching for 2013 and beyond if they are to return to relevance.

So...

1. If you are the Twins, do you put in a waiver claim? (Thereby risking owing Cliff Lee somewhere between $95-109M between now and 2016, but possibly getting a #1 starter for nothing but money)

2. Are there other teams out there that will put in a waiver claim?

3. If you are the Phillies, do you let Lee go to any claiming team just to get rid of the contract?

fatbeer
08-03-2012, 05:51 AM
all he needs is some steriods and he's good for at least 2 more years.

old nurse
08-03-2012, 06:10 AM
For 2013 there would be five things the Twins would need to believe in. Diamond would have to be number two starter. Gibson would have to be ready at the start of the year to be a number three starter. The other two choices for starters would have to be serviceable. Morneau can return to near old self for production. Span, Willingham, and Revere are not having career years and will regress in 2013. If you believe in those 5 things and that Cliff Lee will return to form, you should get him.

sorney
08-03-2012, 07:16 AM
Although sound logic, and as you say, he'd be available for only money...something just doesn't sit right with me re: Cliff Lee. I just get the sneaky suspicion his return to the AL wouldn't be all that great.

On the flip side, with most of the Twins position players in their prime years...it might be time to take the gamble and do it.
Alright, I've talked myself into it.....go get him!

USAFChief
08-03-2012, 07:27 AM
For 2013 there would be five things the Twins would need to believe in. Diamond would have to be number two starter. Gibson would have to be ready at the start of the year to be a number three starter. The other two choices for starters would have to be serviceable. Morneau can return to near old self for production. Span, Willingham, and Revere are not having career years and will regress in 2013. If you believe in those 5 things and that Cliff Lee will return to form, you should get him.

The thing is though, Lee wouldn't be around just for 2013. He'd still be around when the current crop of minor leaguers start to contribute in 2014, 2015, and possibly 2016.

He also doesn't really have to "return to form." He's pitching quite well in 2013, even though his ERA is in the high 3's.

Top Gun
08-03-2012, 07:48 AM
The Twins no. A playoff team for the final push yes. Phillies would want something in return.

TheLeviathan
08-03-2012, 08:31 AM
Depending upon what you have to give up - I think I would. Hell, if they are just trying to get out of his contract this would be a "buy low" move.

Hard not to endorse that.

James
08-03-2012, 10:23 AM
His salary would eat up pretty much all available payroll space for 2013 (assuming that the Twins stick to their stated budget). I think we need more than just one good pitcher to probably be competitive. The Phillies are probably looking for something in return as well. I think they raided their farm system to get guys like Lee, so I would imagine that they would want to restock some.

The dollars per age kind of spooks me too. I know it's Cliff Lee and he's a great pitcher. No question there. But I think he's at that age where he definitely may be on the decline side of things. Now what level does Cliff Lee decline to? That's a different question all together.

I say it's a no go for the Twins. (I might change my mind if he could be had for the just the contract though).

mike wants wins
08-03-2012, 10:30 AM
Tough call. That's a lot of money for 1 player. I don't know if I know the answer. If he was three years younger, I'd probably say yes, even with the money. If they have to trade for him, then I'd happily give up a legit prospect if Philly would pay part of the salary. If the salary could drop to $20MM per year (meaning Philly has to kick in a lot of money, but they still save $20MM per year....), I'd seriously consider it. No one above the Twins in claim order is putting in a claim....

gunnarthor
08-03-2012, 10:42 AM
If I were the Twins and I could get Lee for just his contract, I'd do it. But I'm also a firm believer that the Twins payroll could be substantially higher than what they have stated. If it stays in the 95-100 range, then obviously, it'll never happen.

SpiritofVodkaDave
08-03-2012, 10:45 AM
The Phillies won't let him go for just the money. But if I were the Twins I would put a claim on him just to block their rivals.

If the Phillies for some reason let him goto the Twins for nothing then the Twins should consider themselves the luckiest franchise ever. Lee would bolster any rotation and if you fell out of it early next year you could always trade him for a good haul.

None of this will happen though as the Phillies will at least need 1 blue chip prospect in return.

DPJ
08-03-2012, 10:55 AM
So the Phillies expect a team to take on the whole contract and give up a top prospects...suck it Ruben.

old nurse
08-03-2012, 11:17 AM
The thing is though, Lee wouldn't be around just for 2013. He'd still be around when the current crop of minor leaguers start to contribute in 2014, 2015, and possibly 2016.

He also doesn't really have to "return to form." He's pitching quite well in 2013, even though his ERA is in the high 3's.
The outfielders mentioned are under Twins control for two more years. By then Arcia would be ready to play.True you might have Morneau for only one more year. The reason you would claim and keep a Lee is the belief you can make a run in the playoffs. Memory is that Lee steps up in the playoffs. It has been a while since the Twins had someone like that. Going deep and maybe even winning it all would solve the added expense of Lee

TheLeviathan
08-03-2012, 11:24 AM
Actually, the reason I'd claim Lee is the hope for a bounce-back and him turning into an attractive trade option.

johnnydakota
08-03-2012, 11:29 AM
The Phillies won't let him go for just the money. But if I were the Twins I would put a claim on him just to block their rivals.

If the Phillies for some reason let him goto the Twins for nothing then the Twins should consider themselves the luckiest franchise ever. Lee would bolster any rotation and if you fell out of it early next year you could always trade him for a good haul.

None of this will happen though as the Phillies will at least need 1 blue chip prospect in return.
if the phillys took hermsen and hernandez , i'd trade for him , but i would talk to the dodgers 1st.see if they want lee for wheeler?the twins would pay about 7 million of lee's contract this year then trade him this winter...if we were to draft wheeler in 2013 we would end up paying a 7 million dollar bonus any way

diehardtwinsfan
08-03-2012, 11:32 AM
I would be willing to put the claim in on him, but also understand that in so doing, this would drain the entire free agent budget for this team, so it's a big risk. My gut says Philly wouldn't give him away, but if they are serious about rebuilding, then they just might if the teams cannot work out a trade. The problem with that scenario from the Twin's standpoint is that they need at least 2, if not 3 pitchers... not 1 really expensive one. They might be able to get a prove it contract signed for a Rich Harden type pitcher, but you cannot rely on this, so unless Terry Ryan has an excellent DSpan trade lined up, getting Lee will help, but wouldn't be the missing piece.

USAFChief
08-03-2012, 11:40 AM
If I were the Twins and I could get Lee for just his contract, I'd do it. But I'm also a firm believer that the Twins payroll could be substantially higher than what they have stated. If it stays in the 95-100 range, then obviously, it'll never happen.

I agree with all of this.

TheLeviathan
08-03-2012, 11:42 AM
Rich Harden

We should probably find a new example for this. He's failed to be the "cheap ace"...three different times now I think?

biggentleben
08-03-2012, 12:16 PM
if the phillys took hermsen and hernandez , i'd trade for him , but i would talk to the dodgers 1st.see if they want lee for wheeler?the twins would pay about 7 million of lee's contract this year then trade him this winter...if we were to draft wheeler in 2013 we would end up paying a 7 million dollar bonus any way

Say what?!

Wheeler? Dodgers? Huh?

biggentleben
08-03-2012, 12:17 PM
We should probably find a new example for this. He's failed to be the "cheap ace"...three different times now I think?

How about Ben Sheets?

kab21
08-03-2012, 12:46 PM
I would rather overpay for Lee than overpay for Anibal Sanchez but I would prefer to stay away from 34 yr old owed close to 100M.

diehardtwinsfan
08-03-2012, 01:16 PM
We should probably find a new example for this. He's failed to be the "cheap ace"...three different times now I think?

agreed... it's just an example. I would have said Bedard except that he's had a decent season and should be rewarding accordingly.

Jamballa
08-03-2012, 01:40 PM
I'm confusedů the only thing horribly wrong with Cliff Lee this year seems to be his win total. Which is to say, nothing. Maybe he hasn't been elite all year, but he's been as effective as Zack Greinke, for one.

LaBombo
08-03-2012, 02:38 PM
We should probably find a new example for this.[Harden] 's failed to be the "cheap ace"...three different times now I think?

I submit Brandon McCarthy for consideration as the new "cheap ace" example, even though he's maybe more of a #2, even after his 'breakthrough' 2011 season. Sore shoulder discount may entice the Twins. There's speculation he'll be waived, since he's a free agent after 2012 anyway. Flame away.

Btw, does anybody else wonder if the Twins are probably one of Lee's 20+ no-trade teams? It's certainly possible he'd waive that, but what evidence would he have that the Twins will spend what it takes to compete in 2014/15, other than that they claimed or traded for Cliff Lee?

In addition to Lee's huge impact on the overall payroll, I'd imagine the Twins would be worried about the huge risk that his contract represents. It's hard to see the Twins gambling on mega-contract like Lee's when they've spun the wheel of fortune once already with Mauer, and are probably still sour on the way Morneau's contract has played out.