Found June 20, 2013 on Fox Sports Midwest:
Mlb-all-star-home-run
ST. LOUIS - Fewer than six weeks remain until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and you know what that means? The rumor season is about to heat up. Because the Cardinals have a loaded farm system, plenty of financial flexibility and are primed for a pennant run, expect them to be in the middle of a lot of trade speculation. Just remember, distinguishing between fact and fiction can be difficult this time of year, especially when it concerns a team not known for sharing its intentions. OK, with the disclaimer out of the way, let's address some speculation. One player who already has been linked to the Cardinals by scuttlebutt spreaders is Cliff Lee. As with most rumors, the Lee talk makes some sense. If you're the Phillies, you see a 35-year-old making a ton of money on a team going nowhere. Because he's an elite starter (9-2, 2.53 ERA) in a market thin in starting pitching, he could bring the Phillies a nice haul. Lee holds no-trade protection but, according to numerous reports, he couldn't block a trade to the Cardinals. He might not want to. He told Philadelphia reporters early this week that his priority is winning. With the Phillies three games under .500, he knows his chances of winning a World Series would be better in St. Louis than where he is. Lee knows his business-first approach would fit well in the Cardinals' world. The fact he spends his off-seasons next door in Arkansas doesn't hurt, either. From the Cardinals' perspective, pair Lee with Adam Wainwright and no team would have a stronger duo at the top of its rotation. Despite his age, Lee would make more than a short-term asset, too. He's fit, he's athletic and with an easy delivery, he is less of an injury risk than most pitchers. As stocked as are the Cardinals with young pitching, they need another veteran for beyond this season. Jake Westbrook and Chris Carpenter do not figure to be back in 2014 and while 26-year-old Lance Lynn no longer is a youngster, he's not exactly a battle-tested veteran yet, either. When thinking about next year, consider this: If the Cardinals play until late October, their young starters will pile up a lot of innings. Heavy workloads one year often result in a hangover effect the following year, especially with youngsters. Counting on three youngsters behind Wainwright and Lynn in 2014 would be riskier for St. Louis than relying on only two after Wainwright, Lee and Lynn. Now, for the naysayer side. Lee is owed 25 million for each of the following two years with a 27.5 million option for 2016. The option is fairly attainable, too, if Lee stays healthy. Even if the option isn't picked up, he gets a 12.5 million buyout. That puts the minimum he is owed after this season at 62.5 million. Throw him whatever he still would be due from his 25 million salary this year, and he would not be a cheap acquisition. Still, the Cardinals could afford him. Carlos Beltran and Carpenter are in the final years of deals paying them 13 million and 12.5 million. There's a 9.5 million mutual option on Westbrook's contract. Remove that trio from the payroll, pay Westbrook his 1 million buyout and the Cardinals clear out 34 million. A move for Lee would be ideal if he had only one more year on his deal after 2013. But paying him 25 million at the age of 37 is not something the Cardinals would be thrilled to do. The Phillies, however, could eat part of Lee's contract if they returned a better haul of prospects. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. already has made clear that Philly would not unload Lee purely for financial reasons. The price for Lee figures to be at least three upper-end prospects or young players. What a Lee deal would cost the Cardinals is flexibility. While they could afford him and have the young players to make a major deal, they would be hard-pressed to follow up with another blockbuster in the next year or so. Would they want to go all-in on Lee? Or would they want to hang onto their flexibility for when it is needed. I'm not sure cashing in their flexibility for Lee is the way to go for the Cardinals. But he would fit so well in St. Louis that trading for him is worth a lot of consideration, not to mention several weeks of rumors. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cliff Lee: 2013 Cy Young Candidate?

Lee wants to win but may be smiling just like this if he picks up NL Cy Young hardware in 2013. Cliff Lee picked up his ninth win of the year last night, holding the Nationals to a pair of solo homers, striking out nine, and walking none. Lee baffled Nats hitters all night and did so while pitching with a blister on his hand. Lee’s ERA decreased to 2.53 and his xFIP fell to 3.15...

Lee leads Phils to second straight win over Nats

It’s funny how fast things can change. Just two days after finishing up an atrocious road-trip against three bad teams, the Phillies have won two straight against the Nationals, with a chance to sweep the series on Wednesday. Cliff Lee allowed a solo home run to Jayson Werth in the fourth, but the Phillies came back to score four straight runs, which was all they would need in...

Orbiting Cleveland: The case to acquire Cliff Lee

When it comes to Major League Baseball, there may be no better period than the one ahead. That's right, we are now more than halfway through the month of June, which means July is right around the corner. Of course, that also means that the trade deadline is almost just a month away. For MLB teams, the stakes are high, and there is no more enjoyable time for fans. There's...

Cardinals rumors: Should St. Louis pursue Phillies' Cliff Lee?

The St. Louis Cardinals' rotation was sporting the lowest ERA in the majors entering play yesterday. Couple that with the fact that they have more starting candidates than they do rotation spots, and St. Louis doesn't appear to be a team in need of starting pitching help. However, considering the club could be depending on multiple young arms down the stretch, Bernie Miklasz...

Phillies Nation TV: Hamels’ Heartache, Trading Cliff Lee and Parking Lot Challenge

With plenty of storylines surrounding the 2013 Phillies, Pat and Corey break down the most pressing issues in the latest episode of Phillies Nation TV. The guys cover topics like how to explain Cole Hamels’ season, what it means to trade an ace like Cliff Lee, Ben Revere’s resurgence, and why Kevin Fransden deserves more playing time. Jay Floyd talks with Kyle Simon, the rightly...

Davey: "It's too early for me to watch the scoreboard."

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Nats offense no match for Cliff Lee. Back to 2 games under .500, and a tie for 2nd place in the NL East with the Phillies. According to Davey Johnson in his postgame press conference (video here), no need to think about about the missed opportunity with the Braves losing both games of a double header to the Mets yesterday: "It's a long season...

Amaro says Lee, Papelbon not on trade market

While the Philadelphia Phillies struggle to achieve even a winning record, speculation persists that Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon will be available before next month's non-waiver trade deadline. That's not necessarily the case. ''Absolutely not, because these are guys I'd be better off having on my club than not,'' Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro...

Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee ‘Absolutely Not’ on Trade Market, According to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

While the Philadelphia Phillies struggle to achieve even a winning record, speculation persists that Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon will be available before next month’s non-waiver trade deadline. That’s not necessarily the case. “Absolutely not, because these are guys I’d be better off having on my club than not,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told The Associated...

Eyeing A Sweep: Phils Send Kendrick Opposite Gio In Attempt To Sweep Nationals

With last night's 4-2 win over Washington, the Phillies not only sealed their second straight win, but they pulled within seven games of first place behind the Braves - tying the Nationals. Cliff Lee was superb even after an hour and 14 minute-long rain delay before the game started. Lee...

Michael Young's Three Doubles Back Outstanding Lee in Phils Win

Cliff Lee struck pitched eight outstanding innings, and Michael Young contributed three doubles as the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night. The start of the game was delayed by an hour and 14 minutes, but the game went rather quickly as starters Cliff Lee and Ross Detwiler looked...

Phillies 4, Nationals 2

Cliff Lee struck out nine in eight impressive innings, Michael Young tied a career high with three doubles and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night. Lee (9-2) allowed two runs and five hits to win his fifth straight decision. The three-time All-Star lefty lowered his ERA to 2.53 and helped the Phillies move into a second-place tie with the defending...

St. Louis Cardinals: 5 possible trade chips

The trade deadline is a little more than a month away and we are starting to hear rumors out there of players who the Cardinals could be interested in. First it was Cliff Lee and then it was Jonathan Papelbon. These rumors will only pick up as we get closer to the deadline. I thought I would look at 5 players who could have trade value for the Cardinals and who are players the...

5 Cardinals’ prospects who could be trade pieces

The trade deadline is a little more than a month away and we are starting to hear rumors out there of players who the Cardinals could be interested in. First it was Cliff Lee and then it was Jonathan Papelbon. These rumors will only pick up as we get closer to the deadline. I thought I would look at 5 players who could have trade value for the Cardinals and who are players the Cardinals...

Mike Adams Is Injured Again, Michael Martinez DFA'd; Phillies Turn To Cliff Lee Piece

Mike Adams' injury-rittled season continues. This time, Adams is being sent to the 15-day disabled list with bicep tendonitis. This is Adams' second disabled list stint since signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. Even while on the roster, Adams has been frequently unavailable due to injury. To...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.