cliff lee getty

The Yankees are “lucky” they didn’t land Cliff Lee? Really?


Joel Sherman in the New York Post, where all stories in baseball are viewed through the lens of Yankees fandom whether it has anything to do with the Yankees or not:

The current rotation concerns of the Yankees and Rangers could be worse — Cliff Lee could have accepted one of the two highest total bids in December 2010.

The argument is that, now that Cliff Lee is breaking down, it sure would’ve been a bad thing to have signed him. Which, frankly, is kind of silly.

Cliff Lee’s contract is not fantastic — and as I mentioned yesterday, giving anyone an option buyout of $12.5 million is silly — but it’s not like Cliff Lee has been chopped liver over the life of his deal. Between 2011 and 2013, Lee averaged 31 starts, 222 innings, 222 strikeouts and a crazy-low 34 walks. His ERA over that span: 2.80. Do you not think that the Yankees could’ve used that in 2011 when they lost in the LDS or 2012 when they lost in the LCS? You don’t think one more ace may have gotten them to another World Series?

More fundamentally, would the money left on the back of Lee’s deal plus whatever was lost last season when Lee had to have been shut down really changed the Yankees’ fate today? They already have tens of millions in bad money sitting on the books. Would a few million more make a difference?

Sometimes it’s not all about the Yankees. And even if it is, it’s not always as dramatic as the all-about-the-Yankees crew likes to make it sound.

Cliff Lee has a tear in his flexor tendon

Cliff Lee

Jon Paul Morosi reports that an MRI confirms that Phillies starter Cliff Lee has a tear in the flexor tendon of his pitching arm.

This comes two days after Lee experiencing discomfort in his left elbow after throwing two innings Thursday in his Grapefruit League debut. And a year in which he was limited to 81 and a third innings due to elbow soreness. The Phillies are saying that this is not the sort of tear that would require Tommy John surgery but, I mean, tears in elbow tendons aren’t exactly wonderful when you’re a pitcher.

Lee, 36, is due $25 million this year. If he does manager to pitch 200 innings this year and not end the season on the disabled list due to elbow problems, he’ll trigger a $27 million vesting option for the 2016 season. Even if he doesn’t — which seems quite likely — he has a $12.5 million buyout because Ruben.

Cliff Lee feels renewed discomfort in left elbow

cliff lee getty

Veteran left-hander Cliff Lee was limited to 81 1/3 innings (13 starts) last season due to elbow trouble, and he’s apparently not done with that battle.

Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Lee is complaining of discomfort in his left elbow after throwing two innings Thursday in his Grapefruit League debut. Jim Salisbury of says Lee had an MRI on the elbow Saturday and it showed no structural damage to his ulnar collateral ligmanet. It’s a flexor pronator problem — the same thing that plagued him in 2014.

Lee was supposed to be trade bait this spring or summer for the rebuilding Phillies, but it’s hard to see a team biting from this current vantage point. The 36-year-old is due a $25 million salary in 2015 and his $27 million vesting option for the 2016 season carries a whopping $12.5 million buyout.

Cliff Lee throws two scoreless innings in Grapefruit League debut

Cliff Lee AP

In his first game action since last July 31, Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee threw two scoreless innings this afternoon in his Grapefruit League debut against the Astros.

Lee, who was limited to just 13 starts last season due to a flexor pronator strain, allowed two singles while walking none and striking out none. He threw 16 out of 22 pitches for strikes. According to Jim Salisbury of, Lee said that his elbow felt “normal.”

“I don’t have any uncertainty,” he said. “I definitely have confidence and expect to go out there and be successful, and I’m doing everything I can to prevent something like that from happening again. That’s really all I can do. There’s no worry or uncertainty or anything like that. I’m just going to go out there and be confident and expect to have success and not really even think about it, to be honest with you.”

It’s unlikely that anyone will trade for Lee based off a handful of starts in spring training, but he’s an obvious candidate to be moved if he proves his health and effectiveness during the first half. The 36-year-old southpaw is owed $25 million this season and $27.5 million or a $12.5 million buyout for 2017.

Cliff Lee scheduled to make spring debut next Thursday

Cliff Lee AP

In what will be his first game action since last July 31, Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee is set to make his Grapefruit League debut next Thursday against the Astros.

Lee finished last season on the disabled list with a recurrence of a flexor pronator strain in his elbow, but Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure told Jim Salisbury of that he’s healthy and ready to go.

“Cliff is right on. He’s throwing well. He feels good. So he’s right on schedule,” McClure said.

Lee is expected to pitch two innings, which is pretty standard for a spring debut. He’ll get stretched out in subsequent outings in advance of the regular season. A healthy spring might not be enough to convince someone to trade for him, but he’s obviously someone who could get moved at some point this year.

Lee, 36, is owed $25 million this season and $27.5 million or a $12 million buyout for 2016.