Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported yesterday that the Dodgers were awarded claiming rights on Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee. But that doesn’t mean the southpaw will follow his former teammate Joe Blanton to Los Angeles.
According to Paul Hagen of MLB.com, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. wouldn’t confirm or deny Morosi’s report when asked about it last night, but said that it’s “irrelevant” because Lee “isn’t going anywhere.” A deal is considered unlikely, but Dodgers have until Sunday to convince the Phillies otherwise.
The Phillies can simply pull Lee back from waivers, leave the Dodgers on the hook for Lee’s contract or attempt to work out a deal. Lee, who turns 34 later this month, is guaranteed nearly $95 million between now and 2015. His contract allows him to block trades to 21 teams. Players can only be placed on revocable waivers once this month, so if the Phillies pull Lee back, he will remain with the club for at least the rest of the season.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.