Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 7/29/12

With Cole Hamels’ newly signed contract extension (six years, $144M), the Phillies now have $128M tied up in salary next season for just seven players - Hamels, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. CBS Sports baseball columnist Jon Heyman reportsthat the Phillies do not plan to trade 33-year old pitcher Cliff Lee, instead preferring to keep their aces in tact for a possible playoff stretch run and into the future. While the Phillies can certainly afford to keep their roster in tact, as noted this article by SI writer Joe Lemire, they may still consider trading Lee with market demand for elite, healthy starting pitchers feverishly high.

However, the Phillies believe they have a playoff push still in them. Should they fall out of the playoff race in the next few weeks though, they may revisit the idea of trading Lee at that time. Lee has a limited no-trade clause in his contract and is set to make $25M per season through the 2015 season. He then has a $27.5M team option with at $12.5M buyout for the 2016 season. Only a few teams can afford that kind of contract. The Phillies may be able to pass Lee through waivers and then trade him before the August 31 trade deadline for postseason eligibility.

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