Cliff Lee threw batting practice to various Phillies teammates today, facing live hitters for the first time since being shut down with an elbow injury in July.
Trade rumors figure to begin swirling again as soon as Lee shows that he’s healthy and it’s possible the Phillies may want to move him quickly rather than risking another injury sidelining the 36-year-old former Cy Young winner.
He’s owed $25 million this season and $27.5 million or a $12 million buyout for 2016, and Lee pitched well last season before the elbow problems derailed things.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to an unnamed executive who says the Phillies “could move” left-hander Cliff Lee as soon as spring training. If he’s healthy, of course.
Lee has been throwing off a mound for a while now and, barring any setbacks, he’s expected to be fully healthy for the start of camp. He’s owed $25 million this season and $27.5 million or a $12 million buyout for 2016, so obviously any interested teams will need to be convinced that he’s over the arm problems that ended his 2014 early.
Before being shut down the former Cy Young winner started 13 games with a 3.65 ERA and 72/12 K/BB ratio in 81 innings, looking more or less like his usual self at age 35.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday that rehabbing left-hander Cliff Lee — who was limited to 13 starts in 2014 due to a flexor pronator strain in his pitching elbow — has already thrown off a mound three or four times this month without experiencing any issues. Lee is expected to be ready for the start of spring training and will become trade bait this summer if he can prove that he’s fully healthy.
Lee is owed $25 million in 2015 and his contract carries a $27.5 million option (with a $12.5 million buyout) for 2016, so he’ll have to pitch well in order for the rebuilding Phillies to get something for him.
The 36-year-old southpaw had a 3.65 ERA and 8.0 K/9 in 81 1/3 innings last season.
He registered a 2.87 ERA and 9.0 K/9 across 222 2/3 innings in 2013.