Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com on Friday afternoon that he is open to trade offers for a range of Phillies players, including left-handed starter Cliff Lee. But that specific situation just got a bit complicated.
According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lee has been scratched from his scheduled start Saturday against the Tigers because of a stiff neck. Raul Valdes will take the mound in his place.
Some have suggested that Lee’s scratching might be part of a sudden push by the Phillies to execute a trade — the 34-year-old ace would be rested and ready to pitch right away if dealt to a new team — but there’s been no indication of that being the case.
Lee, 34, has a 3.05 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 131/22 K/BB ratio in 144 2/3 innings this season for the 49-53 Phillies. He’s owed $50 million in 2014-2015 and carries a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016. Crasnick notes that the Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates, Indians and Braves are seeking a frontline starter.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.