Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported yesterday that the Dodgers were awarded claiming rights on Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee. But that doesn’t mean the southpaw will follow his former teammate Joe Blanton to Los Angeles.
According to Paul Hagen of MLB.com, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. wouldn’t confirm or deny Morosi’s report when asked about it last night, but said that it’s “irrelevant” because Lee “isn’t going anywhere.” A deal is considered unlikely, but Dodgers have until Sunday to convince the Phillies otherwise.
The Phillies can simply pull Lee back from waivers, leave the Dodgers on the hook for Lee’s contract or attempt to work out a deal. Lee, who turns 34 later this month, is guaranteed nearly $95 million between now and 2015. His contract allows him to block trades to 21 teams. Players can only be placed on revocable waivers once this month, so if the Phillies pull Lee back, he will remain with the club for at least the rest of the season.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.