The Phillies won’t pick up starter Cliff Lee‘s $27.5 million option for the 2016 season, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. They will instead pay him a $12.5 million buyout as the lefty will likely head into retirement.
Lee, 37, hasn’t started for the Phillies since July 31 last season. He was shut down with a left flexor pronator strain, but both he and the team believed he could rehab without surgery and return for spring training. Lee made only one spring training start before his elbow issue flared up again. The Phillies shut him down in mid-March, and an optimistic timetable had him potentially returning for a few starts at the end of this season, but that obviously isn’t happening.
Lee, over parts of four seasons with the Phillies after signing a five-year, $120 million contract, compiled a 2.89 ERA with a 1.085 WHIP and a 739/114 K/BB ratio over 747 2/3 innings.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco threw a bullpen session without issue on Saturday, so he’s expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start on Tuesday against the White Sox, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Carrasco went on the disabled list on August 25 (retroactive to the 22nd) with inflammation in his right shoulder. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 3.53 ERA with a 173/32 K/BB ratio in 158 innings this season, following up on a breakout in the latter half of last year.
Carrasco joined the Indians from the Phillies in the July 2009 trade involving Cliff Lee.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has been something of a lightning rod in recent years, getting most of the blame for the team’s fall from grace after the 2011 season. There were a number of poor decisions made under his leadership, including the Ryan Howard extension, the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle, separate trades to acquire Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence which depleted the minor league system, as well as some regrettable public comments with which he insulted Ryan Howard, showed he didn’t understand how OPS worked, and denigrated the value of walks.
The Phillies hit rock bottom earlier this year, when manager Ryne Sandberg quit suddenly due to an inability to effectively communicate with his players. Amaro named Pete Mackanin the interim manager, and the team has played much better and players have effusively praised Mackanin. Amaro also oversaw the overhauling of the Phillies’ minor league system, trading Jimmy Rollins during the off-season and executing trades of Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere, Cole Hamels, and Chase Utley. The Phillies now arguably have one of the five-best minor league systems in baseball.
And that may be reason enough for the Phillies to bring Amaro back for the 2016 season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Amaro’s contract expires after the season, but incoming team president Andy MacPhail — taking over for outgoing president Pat Gillick — may keep Amaro in the GM seat rather than find a new candidate from outside the organization.
Heyman does cite as potential external GM options J.J. Piccolo of the Royals, Matt Klentak of the Angels, and John Barr of the Giants.