Philadelphia Phillies Starter Cliff Lee, A Potential San Francisco Giant Come MLB Trade Deadline?


Apr 9, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher

Cliff Lee

(33) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It seems a bit preposterous on the surface, but last evening after Cliff Lee dominated the Giants, orange and black scribe Andrew Baggarly brought up the notion of Lee joining the Giants in a mid-Summer trade.

Normally, you’d let most trade scenarios like this pass you by – but when Baggarly speaks, you tend to listen.

As Andrew points out, it’s nothing more than an idea – there’s absolutely no huffing or puffing about bringing Cliff Lee to San Francisco, but for the Giants – it could fit a need.

With Tim Lincecum set to be a free agent at season end and both Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong set to meet the same fate if the Giants opt to not exercise their options, the Giants oddly enough would be lacking some arms. And while there are some up and coming pitchers in the Giants’ system, they’re still a few years away in the lower levels meaning the Giants need a couple years of a stop-gap, which Lee would most certainly provide despite being 34 (and 35 before season end). Add in that Lee would be joining both Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner and you have one hell of a three man rotation.

Lee wouldn’t come cheap – both on the prospect and financial levels. Investing in Lee at a minimum costs you $62.5 million dollars (not including whatever his pro-rated salary would be for the rest of this year) for the next two seasons, and that’s with the $12.5 million dollar buyout for the 2016 season. If you wanted to keep him for the 2016 season, you’d be investing around $80 million dollars with his pro-rated salary included. A bit pricey, and that’s not even including the prospects it would take to get a deal done.

One would assume, given the price tag, that the prospects required would be heavily devalued, but the Phillies (despite maybe not wanting to) can afford Lee and it’s doubtful they’d just give him away without getting something of fair value in return – especially if they cover some of his salary, which I’m sure the Giants would attempt to push for.

Is it something that the Giants may potentially look into if the Phillies struggle to stay in the playoff race? I’m sure they will, but frankly, despite how nice it would be to have Lee in orange and black – it’s just far too unlikely, at least right now. Things can certainly change and the Phillies demands in a deal would undoubtedly play a role in if a move could be made, but with limited minor league assets to move and the inflated price tag that come with Lee, it would take the stars to align for something to piece together.