Should the Dodgers Claim Cliff Lee off Waivers?


It’s that time of the year again. The dog days of August are upon us. The cyclical nature of Baseball, recycles every season. August normally means one thing…Waivers. Once the July 31 trade deadline passes, players can still be moved, but they must clear waivers first. Last night we learned that Philadelphia Phillie’s lefty Cliff Lee was placed on waivers.

The Phillies are in the midst of a lost season. They are in dead last in the NL East, and have begun the process of tearing down and rebuilding their aging roster. They have already dealt Hunter Pence to the Giants, and Shane Victorino to the Dodgers. They were trying to unload Lee as well, but couldn’t find any team willing to take on his huge contract.

Should the Dodgers step up, and put in a claim on Cliff Lee?

He would definitely be a fit for the Dodgers. After all, the Dodgers were unable to land Ryan Dempster from the Cubs, who ended up being traded to the Rangers. Cliff Lee is one of the best left handed starting pitchers in Baseball, but would be a huge financial commitment.

Lee is a former Cy Young award winner, and a three time all-star. This year Lee has posted a 2-6 record, 3.73 ERA, 119 whiffs, 24 walks, and an 8.5 whiff per nine rate. Of course we all know that wins and losses for pitchers don’t mean anything, so don’t look at his poor record and think that is any reflection on the way he has pitched. He has been on a lousy team this year, so he hasn’t had much support from his offense , or his bullpen.

Regardless, he would be a great pick up for the Dodgers, but he comes with a hefty price. Lee is owed 21.5 million for the rest of this season, 25 million in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Not to mention a vesting option for 2016, and a 12.5 million dollar buyout. I know this is a hefty price, and a big financial commitment for the Dodgers, but it seems as if the new owners have an endless amount of cash. Perhaps, the Dodgers can flip a prospect or two to the Phillies to try and offset the cost?

Of course I don’t mean Zach Lee, he should be untouchable, but anyone else should be fair game. People put way too much stock on a lot of these prospects. As I have said before I think most prospects have more value as trade chips. Most prospects never even make it to the majors, and most that do aren’t even above league average.

What value can be had from minor leaguers who have been in the minors for four or five years? Come on, those type of guys are expendable. If the Dodgers really want to win now, they would make this move.

Although I can understand not doing it because it is a huge commitment, and we need to spend the money in the off-season on a first baseman that can ya know…hit.

It’s unlikely the Phillies will be able to move him because of his huge contract. However before I sign off, let’s review the rules of the waivers.

1.       A team that puts a player on waivers can pull him back at anytime, or if nobody claims him, he returns to his original team.

2.       If the player is claimed, the team can pull him back, or negotiate a trade with the other team, or just give him as a straight waiver dump.

3.       The player has to be on waivers for 48 hours, after 48 hours, the original team must make a decision as to whether to pull him off of waivers, trade him, or release him.

Remember, just because a team puts a player on waivers doesn’t mean he will be traded or moved. Many teams put a lot of players on waivers for various reasons. Some just want to see what they could get for that player. Some teams just want to do a salary dump. Some teams are looking to make a trade. A lot of trades go down in August, more than you would think. The big hurdle is seeing if the player clears waivers first.

Cliff Lee is 33 years old, but he would still be a valuable addition to the rotation. We all know the Dodgers need another starter right now, because it is unknown when or if Ted Lilly will return this year. It is a big commitment, but worthwhile if the Dodgers are really looking to win this year and upgrade their rotation. It would send another good message to fans. There is just a little over 24 hours until the Phillies must make a decision on Lee. The ball is in the Dodger’s court so to speak. The clock is ticking. It’s your move Blue.