If you don’t remember, the title of this post was based on one of the best signs ever at Veterans Stadium. It simply said “Travis Leeve” which referred to Travis Lee, probably the most un-Philadelphian player ever to put on a uniform. The bizarro Chase Utley and Brian Dawkins, if you will. There’s no way anyone would do that for Cliff Lee, one of the most beloved Phillies player in recent memory (people seem to have forgotten when he blew that 4-run lead against the Cardinals in the 2011 playoffs).
However, today there was an excellent article speculating on the value of Cliff Lee as trade bait. The author, Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly makes several excellent points. He believes Lee’s value is “immense” at this point. I tried to argue a similar point last year, but was pooh-poohed by some. To be fair, his value is higher this year because he is having a better year. Seidman begins by looking into his trade clause and determines that St. Louis would have the best chance of the teams not on the list. According to Seidman:
St. Louis has the best record in baseball (41-22) and the best farm system in baseball. It’s almost unfair. The Cardinals just keep churning out top-notch talent from their farm system. A quick look at this year’s roster makes that abundantly clear – Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, David Freese, Allen Craig, Jon Jay, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Jason Motte – all of these players are homegrown and most of them are studs.
The Cardinals have the top prospect in baseball in outfielder Oscar Taveras. The 20-year-old Dominican has hit .320 in four minor-league seasons, and last year in his first full season hit .321/.380/.572 with 23 homers, 94 RBIs and 37 doubles. He’s off to another hot start this year, and critics both inside and outside the organization are calling him the best prospect since Albert Pujols.
When thinking about dealing Lee, this is the type of player you must acquire. Lee cannot be sold for anything less than 100 cents on the dollar. Or even more. He has more trade value than any player in recent years because he’s a difference-maker who would affect not one, but three pennant races.
I must admit I do not like St. Louis for a few reasons, but I they do seem to never run out of talent and are always in the race. Seidman then wonders if the Phillies would trade Lee as Amaro stated that “there’s no blowing up the Phillies”, meaning he’s not looking to dump a lot of players and start all over. Amaro referred to the Red Sox and how they made a few adjustments instead of starting over. I have thought about this as well and recently said in a conversation that it might be a good idea to keep Lee, as that would be their best chance of competing next year. Seidman makes a good point about this when he writes:
But Boston rid itself of terrible contracts to add valuable players this past winter. Plus the Sox kept Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz – four key cogs in their primes. The Phillies simply aren’t in that position and no team in baseball would take Ryan Howard’s contract the way the Dodgers took Adrian Gonzalez’s
This is true, but LA did take on Carlos Crawford’s contract (he’s having a decent year) and Josh Beckett’s contract in order to get Gonzalez. But the overall point is correct is that the Red Sox had better pieces to work with.
Whether to trade Lee is a tough question and I guess it will depend on what the Phillies can get in return. We shall see. You can read the full article here.