Yep, Cliff Lee is still winless

22 Comments

Cliff Lee will enter July without a win.

At first, this was mostly a ridiculous quick based primarily on a lack of run support, but this isn’t just about the offense anymore.

Lee dropped to 0-5 last night by allowing six runs over 4 2/3 innings as part of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. It was his shortest outing since last July 25 and the most runs he has allowed in a start since last July 3.

Lee has allowed 20 runs in 24 2/3 innings over his last four starts and has watched his ERA jump from 2.92 to 4.13 in the process. His ERA hasn’t been this high this late in a season since 2007 with the Indians when he finished with a 6.29 ERA. The 33-year-old is just the second former Cy Young Award winner to go winless over his first 13 starts in a season, joining Vida Blue, who did it with the Royals back in 1983.

Yes, Lee’s secondary numbers tell us that he has pitched better than the results indicate and he’s bound to go on a nice run here sooner or later, but it’s perfectly OK to say that this is just plain weird.

Josh Harrison wants out of Pittsburgh

Getty Images
2 Comments

In the wake of the Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole trades, Pirates infielder Josh Harrison released a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic today in which he said he’d like to be traded if the Pirates are going to rebuild over the next couple of years.

Harrison said “If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded,” He couched it all in is love of Pittsburgh and his desire to win in Pittsburgh, adding “I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer,” but he said “I just lost two of my closest friends in the game. Cole and Cutch were not just friends, they were the best pitcher and best position player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.”

Harrison is under team control on a very team-friendly contract that has him locked up through 2018 with the Pirates holding pretty cheap team options for 2019 and 2020. He’ll make $10 million this year and if the Pirates want to keep him they’ll owe him $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020, with $1 million and $500,000 buyouts, respectively. Harrison played second, third and in the outfield in 2017 and hit .272/.339/.432 with 16 homers and 12 stolen bases.

Part of Harrison’s statement included the phrase “baseball is a business.” That is correct, and when Harrison signed his deal he had to know that the Pirates could blow things up, trade him or anything else during its term. That’s simply a risk one runs when one agrees to a deal that buys out free agency years. At the same time, it can’t be at all fun to be part of a tear-down process the likes of which is now getting underway in Pittsburgh, and it’d be hard to say any of us would feel differently than Harrison does if we were in his shoes.

All of that said, Harrison may very well get his wish. Rosenthal writes that the Mets, Yankees, and Brewers are among the teams with reported interest in Harrison. There are probably way more who would make a good offer for him given his versatility and given how often recent World Series winners have featured a player with exactly that kind of versatility (think Ben Zobrist and Marwin Gonzalez).

My guess is that he’s either going to be dealt now or at the deadline this coming season.