Update: Yankees did not place a claim for Cliff Lee

Game 106: Felix
Saturday Night Open Thread

August 4th: Via Danny Knobler, the Yankees did not put in a claim on Lee. Not all that surprising, but c’mon, a man can dream.

August 3rd: Via Jon Heyman and Jon Morosi, Lee has been claimed off trade waivers by the Dodgers. Because the Yankees are in the AL with the second best record in the league, every team other than the Rangers was ahead of them on the waiver totem pole.

August 2nd: Via Jeff Passan, the Phillies have placed left-hander Cliff Lee on revocable trade waivers. This is completely routine, literally hundreds of players will be placed on trade waivers this month. If a player is claimed, he can only be traded to the team that claims him. If he goes unclaimed, he can be traded anywhere.

As Matt Gelb explains, the Phillies were open to trading Lee prior to the deadline but were unwilling to eat any of the ~$95M left on his contract, and they wanted top prospects in return. The Yankees won’t place a claim because they won’t risk having that financial obligation foisted on them, but us fans can dream of a scenario in which they acquire Lee just by absorbing his contract and not giving up any prospects, high-end or otherwise. It would throw a massive wrench into the 2014 payroll plan, but man … that rotation.

Game 106: Felix
Saturday Night Open Thread
  • Edmond

    Fellow Yankee fans, step away and stop drooling! We don’t want him! He didn’t want us last year and now when he needs us, we DON’T want him! Please say no

    • Andrew

      He didn’t want to come to NY two years ago. F him enjoy last place.

    • Andrew

      He didn’t want to come to NY two years ago. Frack him enjoy last place.

    • http://riveravenueblues.com marty l

      agree- f— lee! he’s going on 34, his best years, if not behind him, are right now.

  • LOLCliff

    Hey Cliff


    With love,
    Yankee fans everywhere

  • Edmond m

    Fellow Yankee fans, step away and stop drooling! We don’t want him! He didn’t want us last year and now when he needs us, we DON’T want him!

  • Edmond m

    Fellow Yankee fans, step away and stop drooling! He didn’t want us last year and now when he needs us, we DON’T want him!

    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      Learn how to post once, and then never again

  • yoo-boo

    Phillies will not let him walk for free. Make a claim on him.

    If he is ours then Yankees can ask Lee for deterring some money from 2014 to end of his contract.

    • Steve (different one)

      And Lee would do that because?

      • yoo-boo

        Yeah… Lee loses nothing, Estupido.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          and the Yankees would gain nothing by that

          • yoo-boo

            AJ Burnett’s 8.5mm is on 2014 payroll already so deterring some money from Lee to meet 189mm so yeah, Yanks get relief.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              AJ’s contract ends after 2013. None of his contract affects the Yankees 2014 payroll in any way.
              As for Lee, luxury tax payroll is based on AAV. Deferring money to later in the contract would have no impact on the Yankees 2014 luxury tax payroll because it wouldn’t change the AAV.

              • yoo-boo

                Cot’s baseball contracts say AJ Burnett 8.5mm in 2014 but it is under 2012 payroll. Help me understand this.

        • Steve (different one)

          I guess you lost me. The Yankees have no leverage to ask Lee to restructure his contract. They would be askin him to defer money based on what premise? And Unless they are adding years to the contract at a lower salary, he AAV of the contract doesnt change.

          So I guess what I am asking is this: what are you talking about?

          • yoo-boo


  • jjyank

    I mean I’d take him if it meant giving up some reliever in Charleston or something.

    But really, no. I’ve said this before, bute Tilapia and I (mostly Tilapia) came up with the concept of a “victory lap”. This means that on a high-end contract, you might be willing to absorb a bit if decline in the latter years of a contract if you can extract enough value on the front end. Meaning that the last year or two of a player declining is okay if he was elite for the rest of it. But in this case, the Yankees would be getting mostly “victory lap” and a very minimal front end value.

    I guess if Philly is willing to eat most of the contract and we trade a couple of 25-50 type organizational prospects, go for it. But anything more, and I am against it.

    • yoo-boo

      So you prefer to overpay someone on declining years?

      I go with front end as long as we split payment. It is a lot of cheap to trade or dump an aging player during the end of contract when the salary is lower.

      It does not matter because Cliff Lee is not the one you are referring about.

      • jjyank

        Do you know how to read? Your comment is literally infers that you got literally the exact opposite of what I said. How does that happen?

        • jjyank

          *is literally inferring*. I guess I should spell-check myself if I’m calling somebody out for their inability to read.

          Seriously though, yooboo. How the hell did you extrapolate that from my comment?

        • yoo-boo

          Wait a minute… I was that close? Let me review here.

          You prefer a player with contract of (10, 10, 10, 20, and 20). The player performs like Cy Young first 3 years. It considers as a steal. Last two years, the player declines but it is all right since we get best out of his contract.

          I prefer a player with contract of (20, 20, 20, 10 and 10). The player performed well on first 3 years. He deserved the money, but it is no value benefit for his team. The team traded him away during either declining years because 10 mm is affordable by many teams.

          Do I get it right on nose?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I can tell you two people who probably don’t prefer that:

            1. The player
            2. The agent

          • Adayoff

            Yoo boo. for the purposes of luxury tax, the amount of payment made to a player over the course of his contract is averaged (Average Annual Value or “AAV”). A player could conceivably add a few years to the back end of his contract, especially if it would be for his end-of-career years to drive down the AAV. For example, with Alex Rodriguez, I think that it would be feasible for the Yankees to go to him and add two back end years @ $2 Million. They could then look at a lower AAV for him.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      That’s a hell of a victory lap on Cliff Lee, though. That’s driving the fucking Nurburgring.

      • jjyank

        Right, that’s my point. It’s not worth it if you don’t get the value on the front end, and the Yankees would be missing out on most of it. Victory laps really only work for the team that inks the original deal.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’s one year into the deal, though. It’s not terrible……if the Yankees can leave him on the side of the road after 2013.

  • Billy

    Gun to your head, you take Lee if he is still available down the waiver wire. Say bye bye to Swisher and trade Granderson for parts that will eventually get Yankees a cheap young OF.

    Opening day 2013:


    • Steve (different one)

      Who is in the OF in this scenario?

      • Captain Crunch Sabathia

        Trade Granderson to the Pirates for Sterling Marte and Jose Tabata or to the Royals for Myers and Cain. But in all seriousness, as much as love love Cliff Lee there is no way he gets traded.

        • All Praise Be To Mo

          Neither team would make those trades.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        One REALLY fat guy.

    • MarkDeezNuts

      Don’t forget Pineda

      • MikedJones

        Lol. With that surgery it’s 50/50 he ever pitches again.

        • Steve (different one)

          Nonsense. It might be 50/50 that he comes back to the same level, but he will definitely pitch again.

          • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (former Manny’s BanWagon)

            You know that how, different Steve, M.D.?

            He could tear his labrum again, tear his RTC, injure his elbow in rehab, spring training, etc. Look at pitchers like Prior and Harden who have gotten injured over and over again.

            Any pitcher coming off such a serious injury should never be counted on. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst is the best you could do.

            • Steve (different one)

              I don’t disagree with you, he shouldn’t be counted on. I just think the odds of him NEVER pitching again are a lot lower than 50%. I fully conceded that he might never be the same.

            • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

              He could also get hit by a bus, or even a meteorite

    • CC

      Michael Pineda is a Yankee FWIW

    • Adayoff

      reminds me of the 2012 Phillies.

  • Steve (different one)

    Better discussion: Lee clears waivers and the Phils offer to kick in $20M. Who would you trade for him?

    • jjyank

      $20M per year? Sure, but it depends on the prospects going back. If the prospects are what I want them to be, I doubt Philly does the deal.

    • blake

      sure….but I don’t care about the budget….just that the team is as good as possible.

  • blake

    yea I think they should claim him just to keep him from clearing….Philly will pull him back and then that blocks him from Texas or whoever else might try to trade for him…..and if they don’t pull him back then we have an awesome rotation and Hal can freak out…..

    • captain kiwi

      i think i would kill someone if the rangers made moves for, and wound up getting, cliff lee again.

  • captain kiwi


    • Robinson Tilapia


      • captain kiwi


  • mike

    the Yanks should put a claim in – there is no way the Phillies can let him walk for free, and so unless they chose to do so they have to work a trade with the Yanks ( if the Yanks make the only claim) or not trade him at all.

    this puts philly in an impossible spot, as they are ruining his value if they do not trade him after being claimed, and there will be riots is they let him go for nothing. thus, the yanks could likely make a good trade and not miss quality personnel from their system.

    i could deal with a ghastly missed playoffs or pathetic outfield sans swisher and granderson in 2014 if the yanks have a great 2012 and 2013 with a dominant rotation….knowing in 2015 they will be roaring back.

    there is no way the yanks can find a pitcher of Lee’s quality anywhere for the next few years for nothing but salary….and they were willing to do that when they tried to sign him last year.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      I don’t see how they would ruin his value if they don’t trade him after being claimed. They can always just wait and trade him in the off-season.

      • jjyank

        Right, it doesn’t ruin anything. Most players get put on waivers. I’m sure the Yankees will out Cano on waivers. It means nothing. Some of those players will get traded, sure. But most are put there just to gauge interest and see how other GMs value a player.

  • blake

    yea it doesn’t really ruin his value….everybody puts everybody on waivers and most of the time they just pull the players back if somebody claims them. I think Philly is bluffing….I don’t think they’d just dump him if somebody claimed him….they are hoping he clears so they can attempt to deal him to all teams

  • Nice Scheister

    Pretty sure Cano was placed on these waivers a few years back. Eh, it prob mean squat. But I can dream…

    • RetroRob

      I read somewhere that pretty much all players are placed on revocable waivers in August. Nothing to lose, perhaps a lot to gain. All the noise on the wire at once also sometimes masks a player that teams really are trying to slip through.

  • RetroRob

    Lee is owed, on average, $29.1M per year the next three years, when factoring in the $12.5M buyout. He’s getting older and his performance has not been top notch this year.


    • RetroRob


  • pistol pete

    I would definately put in a claim. If the Yankees are truly about winning in October then you go and get him. Do you really think we’re going to win in October with CC Kuroda and Hughes, please. I know Andy might be back but that’s a crap shooot. He might be as good as CC in the playoffs. He really hasn’t pitched that badly this year, is in a lousy park for leftys and Yankee Stadium will definately help him, is not afraid of the spotlight and I think he’d be a great addition.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      The Cardinals won a World Series with Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, and Anthony Reyes included in their postseason rotation. Anything is possible.

  • pistol pete

    Lee’s postseason stats are a win percentage of 70% at 7 and 3, a 2.52 ERA, a whip less than 1, and a batting avg against at just 214. Not bad, a lot of money but what Yankee do you see that we have that has ever had stats like, or for that matter will in the future? The closest is Andy and who know what he’ll return like and he’s much older than Lee.

    • DT

      I’d feel more comfortable with Lee being our 3rd or second starter for the next 3 years than say Nova or Hughes even. (Assuming Kuroda leaves)

  • Wayne

    We need to lower our salary because of the new bargaining agreement stipulations that will take place in a few years. We are going to need to develop starting pitchers. So there is no way we should pay this guys contract. If Philly is willing to eat most of his contract then I would only give up Bryan Mitchell , banuelos, betances ,Shane Greene, zach nuding, and Evan rutckyj for cliff lee

  • Grover

    Claim him and offer nothing of value save for Freddy and other garbage. If they pull him back Cashman will have kept him on a last place team with no chance to disrupt the Yank’s playoff run. If they let him go for nothing, solve for 2013 before worrying about 2014. Starting pitching in the playoffs is paramount and we all have more confidence in Lee than Hughes, Nova or even Andy coming off an injury. Put Swisher, Martin and Freddie on waivers if Levine is too cheap to add additional payroll this year. I’ll not saying no brainer, as payroll concerns and current long term deals make plugging another $25M+ extremely difficult but available premium starters for nothing are when you take that risk.

  • Eddard

    With Hal’s austerity measures there is no chance we can pick him up. Too bad because he really would have solidified our postseason rotation. If only George were still running things…

    • The Ghost of Joe Dugan

      Yes, we all remember how great the 80’s and early 90’s were. Not to mention how the Yankees stopped winning the World Series when he went back to his old ways.

  • Nathan

    The way I feel about Cliff Lee is the way Cliff Lee views the Phillies:

    You shouldn’t like the other side because they’ve burned you in the past yet you favor them, irrationally.

    Ever since the failed Lee-Montero trade, Cliff Lee on the Yankees is like something that should have happened but got the rug pulled out from under. And I know getting Lee does not help the whole payroll issue but the guy is still a stud pitcher, regardless of his stats this year.

    I do get a little sick satisfaction with this whole Phillies trying to rid themselves of Lee for a second time when it was just two years ago that teams were fighting for him. Serves him right for the whole process with the Yankees/Rangers/Mystery 3rd Team-Phillies.

  • TH

    Fiscal responsibility? Pfft. Get Lee.

  • The Real Greg

    But remember, Cliff Lee has no trade clauses to 21 of those teams. That limits the options a bit

  • Kevin G.

    If it turns out the Yankees claimed him than it means Hank found Cashman’s cell phone again. Come on Cash,gotta put a password on that thing.

  • The Real Greg

    And I don’t think it s the Dodgers because they just picked up Joe Blanton from the Phillies.

    There are rumors saying that Lee has already been pulled off of waivers, so I don’t know.

  • Joe

    I believe that Mike outlined how we could have signed Cole Hamels and stayed within the 2014 budget, so the same basic calculations would apply to Cliff Lee.

    Bottom line – we have a better chance of winning #28 with Lee than without him.

  • Joe

    I believe that Mike outlined how we could have signed Cole Hamels and stayed within the 2014 budget, so the same basic calculations would apply to Cliff Lee. Bottom line – we have a better chance of winning #28 with Lee than without him.

  • The Real Greg

    Now poeple are saying that he wont be traded. So that ends that.

    • The Real Greg

      Never mind

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Dodgers would be the logical choice since their pitching and suspect and their ownership seems to have no problem throwing money at players. I could see them offering to take all of Lee’s salary and not add prospect.

    • The Real Greg

      But remember the Dodgers just picked up Blanton so are they still in the market?

      • RetroRob

        New ownership looking to make a splash. Money to spend. I say Yes.

        Even if he slipped past the Dodgers, I really don’t see the Yankees pulling the trigger. If they did, they pretty much confirm that the 189M payroll for 2014 is all talk.

  • RetroRob

    The only scenario I can envision the Yankees claiming is Lee is a pure block move. Let’s say Lee is still there and the Yankees know the Rangers, a likely foe in the postseason, claims next. The Yankees claim Lee to block him and then basically tell the Phillies they won’t give anything beyond absorbing his salary. Phillies probably don’t bite and Lee gets withdrawn and the Yankees prevent the Rangers from grabbing him.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Yankees and Rangers are tied now. The Rangers would win the waiver claim if both teams claimed Lee by virtue of the Rangers having a worse record than the Yankees last year. The Yankees are currently dead last in waiver priority for any NL player, so they wouldn’t be able to block a Rangers claim.

  • Arya

    Flags fly forever. If we can get Lee to win a WS this year then we should do it.

    • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com Bryan V

      Although the saying is correct, the Yankees as is have an opportunity to win the World Series. There’s no reason to go over the top like that. Besides, the pitching staff is just fine. Cliff Lee would not be that big a difference over what we currently have, especially not for the cost.

    • Ted Nelson

      Flags, plural, means you think beyond one year

  • M1kew

    “Because the Yankees are in the AL with the second best record in the league, every team other than the Rangers is ahead of them on the waiver totem pole.”

    as of 8/2/12 –

    NY Yankees 61 43 .587
    Texas 61 43 .587

    Mike can you explain why the Rangers fall in behind the Yankees? My guess is that the Rangers were the team or one of the teams to put a claim in. Regardless whether the Yankees has the opportunity to claim Lee I doubt that they would do that.

  • The Real Greg

    So this deadline for the Dodgers:

    Shane Victorino
    Hanley Ramirez
    Brandon League
    Joe Blanton
    Cliff Lee (potentially)

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (former Manny’s BanWagon)

      They’ve taken off the gloves when it comes to spending money. How far it’ll take them is anyone’s guess but can’t fault them for trying.

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle
  • Jorge R

    Forget Lee, bring up Banuelos and let him pitch, the rookies are wasting away in the minors.

    • Get Phelps Up

      You know Banuelos is hurt, right?

    • Adayoff

      Question for Mike. How would Danny Knobler know whether the Yankees put in a waiver bid for Cliff Lee.

    • Adayoff

      Manny Banuelos last pitched on May 18th.

      This has been a very poor year for the top Yankee prospects as they were rated at the beginning of the season. IMHO, the major bright spot has been David Phelps. Maybe David Adams. Dante Bichette is playing well, but who’s looking at “A” Ball. Banuelos, Betances, Mason Williams all suffering injuries. Adam Warren, bad year. Brandon Laird, regressed. Austin Romine disabled most of the season (back!). Nunez, lost year due to hand injury.

      I cannot name one young player on the Yankees AAA team who is knocking the door down to be on a MLB roster. There was a lot of optimism going into this year as the Yankees farm system was upgraded by a lot of scouts relative to other organizations. However, nothing has panned out.

      When a player is doing well in Charleston or Tampa, particularly Charleston, he is pitching to or hitting against, untested talent. If you are not weighting prospects by the expected arrival on a MLB roster, you are deceiving yourself. Most of the “Scranton-Wilkes Barre” leaders are old hacks who are trying to get back to the MLB. Ramon Ortis, Jack Cust, Manny Delcarmen, Russell Branyan and Nelson Figueroa. Add to that Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, Brandon Laird, Chris Dickerson. Some of these guys are gone.

      • JohnnyC

        Wow, Debbie Downer.

      • sandusky

        i love young players

  • MannyGeee

    Go get ur man, Magic. For real dude is spending money like he dying fro….. Ohhhhhhhhhh. Awkward.