Plenty of scouts were in attendance tonight for Cliff Lee’s first start in the majors in over two months. They likely didn’t come away impressed.
Lee, sidelined since May 18 with a left elbow strain, allowed six runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Giants. He tied a career-high by giving up 12 hits. The first 10 hits were singles, but he gave up a double to Joaquin Arias and a home run to Adam Duvall in his final inning of work. Sitting mostly in the high-80s with his fastball, he threw 59 out of 90 pitches for strikes while walking one and striking out three.
Lee projects to make just one more start before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so he’s running out of time to prove his health and effectiveness to contenders. Of course, a deal could still happen in August, but it’s a bit more complicated. The 35-year-old is owed around $12 million for the rest of this season and $25 million for next season while his contract includes a $27.5 million vesting option or $12.5 million buyout for 2016.
Cliff Lee struggled in a minor-league rehab start Monday at Single-A, allowing eight runs and failing to make it out of the fifth inning as he comes back from elbow problems, but the Phillies have decided he’s ready to rejoin the rotation.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Lee will come off the disabled list to start Monday against the Giants, in Philadelphia. It’ll be Lee’s first big-league start since May 18 and he told Salisbury: “I feel strong and I feel good and I’m ready to try to help the team win.”
At this point it seems pretty safe to assume that the Phillies would love to trade Lee and the $37.5 million remaining on his contract beyond this season, so there should be a ton of scouts in the crowd Monday night. He’ll have time to make two starts before the July 31 deadline, but because of his contract and the likelihood it’ll clear waivers the Phillies should be able to deal him in August without having their options limited.
Cliff Lee is slated to return from the disabled list one week from today against the Giants in Philadelphia, but Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com brings word that his final tuneup in the minors didn’t go smoothly.
Pitching for High-A Clearwater on Monday night, Lee was knocked around for eight runs — three earned — on eight hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. He also hit a batter. Following an error by shortstop prospect J.P Crawford, Lee gave up five runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run. No word yet on his velocity, but that’s an ugly outing no matter what. Lee now has a 5.06 ERA and 8/2 K/BB ratio in 10 2/3 innings over three rehab starts.
Lee hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18 due to a flexor strain in his left elbow, but the timing of his return will allow him to make a couple of starts to prove his health and effectiveness in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Lee, 35, is owed around $12 million for the rest of this season and $25 million for next season while his contract includes a $27.5 million vesting option or $12.5 million buyout for 2016.