The trading of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence this week signaled that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro came to grips with reality that the team needed an overhaul. But is he perhaps showing a little more fear than we'd like to see in today's decision to place starting pitcher Cliff Lee on waivers?
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
Cliff Lee, heading out again?
By placing Lee on waivers Amaro is providing an option to work some more reconstruction on the roster for the 2013 season. Lee is expected to clear waivers on Friday and despite being out there for a team to claim, the likelihood of Lee leaving Philadelphia appears to be practically non-existent. Why? The Phillies are not going to pay a huge chunk of change in order for Lee to pitch for somebody else, and they have the ability to back out of any proposed deal unless they are completely floored by the offer. If a team is willing to take on Lee's entire paycheck, then we have a different scenario to explore, but at the price tag Amaro placed on Lee prior to the 2011 season, does anyone think that may happen?
All Amaro is doing here is giving himself options and room for improvement. The Phillies will clear some payroll by moving Victorino and Pence, and likely allowing Joe Blanton and Placido Polanco to walk at the end of the year. If a team offers to pick up the tab for Lee then even more room for some high quality free agent signings will be created, and for those who would be OK with a starting rotation of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Vance Worley leading the way maybe that is good news. The Phillies need bats in the outfield and at third base in 2013. Maybe Domonic Brown comes on and finishes 2012 on a high note, relieving the need for one of the outfield position, but it seems more logical to expect the Phillies to try and make some solid signings in the off-season and hope for even a slight push at the plate that way.
Relax. Cliff Lee is not likely going anywhere. Of course, I also said there was no way Amaro would trade Cliff Lee after the 2009 season. Let's see what he has in mind here.