Friday, August 3, 2012

The Dodgers should absolutely claim Cliff Lee off waivers

As soon as the non-waiver trade deadline passed on Tuesday, people immediately speculated whether Cliff Lee would be claimed off waivers.

Lee was promptly placed on waivers Thursday and the Dodgers should claim him with little hesitation.

Lee, who makes $21.5 million this season (roughly less than $10 million remaining) and $25 million annually through 2015, would make sense for the Dodgers. He also has a $27.5 million vesting option for the 2016 season ($12.5 million buyout).

All told, it'd be nearly a $100 million commitment (with the buyout). But look at it this way: It'd be like signing a major free agent with less than half the season remaining. Plus, they were set to go after Cole Hamels this offseason before his contract was extended. Lee would be a mighty fine consolation prize.

The Dodgers failed to land a starting pitcher before Tuesday and after trading Nathan Eovaldi, there is a hole in the rotation. Now, Ted Lilly is on his way back (no definite timetable), but Cliff Lee is an elite pitcher in this game. If money is truly no matter for ownership, this claim is a no-brainer.

If the Dodgers claim him, they'd be the only team that could trade for him. That means Lee wouldn't go to the Rangers or Yankees (the only two teams who could realistically claim him and his contract).

Now, claiming him comes with a few other notes:
  1. The Phillies could just let him go and the Dodgers could assume all the money in the contract.
  2. The Phillies and Dodgers could attempt to work a trade for Lee, but all players involved on the 40-man roster would have to clear waivers. This means the Dodgers would likely be sending players in the lower minors, which is good for them because it shouldn't take much to acquire Lee.
  3. The Phillies could pull him back and explore trading him in the winter.
So, this is actually a somewhat convoluted situation.

Worse-case scenario: the Dodgers are the same team in a few days without Lee. Best-case scenario: the Dodgers have pitcher 1A to Clayton Kershaw. This would give the Dodgers a formidable rotation for the postseason.

The Dodgers took on nearly $39 million in the Hanley Ramirez deal. Ownership has shown the desire to do whatever it takes to acquire talent for a playoff run right now. I'd be somewhat surprised if the Dodgers don't claim Lee from the Phillies.

Photo credit: Matthew Straubmuller, Flickr 


  1. That's just way too much for a Cliff Lee. Yes, he's a great pitcher who would look nice next to Kershaw but I'd rather save the money and look for ways to patch up some of the holes in our lineup this upcoming off season (1B, maybe LF, maybe SS/3B). Getting Cliff Lee and spending all that money for him now might take away from what we can spend on a bat. Bats are plenty this off season but we might find something through the trade route and taking on more salary ala the Hanley deal. Also, the difference between Hamels and Cliff Lee is age. Hamels is in his prime now. Lee is at the end of his prime years. He'll still be effective for the next few years but he definitely won't be at his peak. It's a risky deal that I would avoid at all possible unless some money is sent our way by Philly

  2. Phillies should Keep Cliff Lee.... pitching isnt problem!!! They let a good solid hitter in Huter Pence go... Thats where they need help!!! Hitting!!! Cant expect to keep winning 1-0, 2-0, they need to produce runs also!!! Trade their entire relief bullpen away cause they blow more then half the games they have actually led.....

  3. Amaro Jr is a clown. He has completely ruined this team and this city. Its only going to get worse. Phillies wont make the playoffs for the next decade.

    1. there is a reason his name is Rube