Youre the shepherd of a contending team.

Posted by Abbey Pendleton on September 27th, 2017

dedicated to Cole Hamels. Hes their best player, theyre a clear seller, and the all his contract is a bit of a discount in accordance with the present market price for frontline starting pitchers. Obviously, those last two factors also mean that the Phillies selling price continues to be quite high, as they search for multiple young prospects in exchange, using the acquiring team also absorbing the entirety from the remainder of his contract. For reasons that have been covered ad nauseum, nobody continues to be willing to give up that sort of talent while also taking on million in salary commitments, and thus for the time being, Hamels remains in Philadelphia.

At some time earlier than later, now that spring training is starting, pitchers are likely to get hurt. Pitchers on contenders. Guys that win-now teams were counting on are going to report some stiffne s within their elbow, and after a couple of days of a suming its just normal dead arm, theyll find out they require Tommy John Surgery. And then the rumors will start to enjoy, and that team can get mounted on Hamels as a potential suitor, and finally, Hamels will have a new home. At least, as long as he isnt among the guys complaining about dead arm anyway.

From now through the trade deadline, the asking price for Hamels probably only goes up. The Phillies are already paying the cost in awkwardne s of bringing him to spring training, so theres pointle s to allow them to give in and have a deal similar to what theyve been offered by this time. Amaro is betting on injuries depleting the supply of arms on contending teams, pushing the demand for Hamels higher, allowing him to obtain the type of return hes been seeking all winter. So long as Hamels stays healthy, it'll probably work.

But Cole Hamels isnt the only interesting piece of trade-bait in Philadelphia. And actually, if I was a team such as the Red Sox or the Padres, I would actually target Cliff Lee instead.

Given his age and the fact that hes coming off a season affected by elbow problems, the Phillies simply arent capable of make the kinds of demands for Lee that they are for Hamels. And while theyve apparently been against reducing Air Jordan 12"The Master" any one of Hamels salary to obtain better talent in exchange, theres basically no doubt that theyre going to need to send cash with Lee in almost any trade. Because Air Jordan 10"Chicago" of the remarkably high .5 million buyout on his 2016 option, Lees remaining contract can either be looked at as 1/.5M or 2/.5M; that's not to accept remainder of that deal without some financial relief.

With their savings and lack of talent, the Phillies ought to be out to use their payroll to buy younger players they wouldnt have the ability to sign through free agency. When they might have their reasons for hesitant to use Hamels in a way, Lee is definitely an obvious candidate for this type of move, since the question isnt if the Phillies will include money in a Lee trade; its how much theyll use in to maximize their return.

And this is when I believe an offer for Cliff Lee might be perfect for a lot of teams, especially teams who might already be running up against their 2015 budgets. The Phillies have previously budgeted for Lees salary this season, and unle s theyre thinking about being a late player in the market for Cuban defectees, there arent really ways to redeploy his salary to upgrade the roster in different ways. And most teams dont treat their MLB payroll and international acquisition budgets as you pool, so even when they did reduce your cost by trading either of their star pitchers, its unclear that cash could be immediately open to bid in the Cubans anyway.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox payroll currently sits at approximately 0 million, so theyre bumping right up against the luxury tax threshold. The Padres are extremely likely out of money after signing James Shields, moving that was only permitted because the Dodgers are paying the majority of Matt Kemps salary in 2015. By continuing to keep Lees 2015 salary on their own books, the Phillies could instantly turn him right into a fascinating target for all those contenders who've already spent their cash elsewhere.

Lets the Phillies went along with this plan, and agreed they would pay 100% of Lees 2015 salary, leaving the acquiring team only on the hook for either the .5 million buyout or the .5 million salary in 2016 if his option vests which it does with 200 innings pitched this year, so long as he doesnt end the growing season on the DL or they picked up included in the trade. At that point, the danger towards the acquiring team is very low, because they will pay only the .5 million buyout if Lee doesnt meet expectations, and it would be applied to next years budget anyway.

And if Lee does pitch well, going back to prior ace-like form, the million marginal cost difference to get him to in 2016 might Air Jordan 9"Barons" be something of the bargain anyway.

The lack of risk a sociated with short-term deals drives higher annual average values, so while Lee probably isnt worth million the coming year, it might really be closer than wed think. The typical cost of victory on long-term deals was around million this winter season well enter into more next week also it isnt crazy to think that a healthy Cliff Lee could be a +3 WAR pitcher for every of the next two years. ZIPS projects him for +2.4 WAR in 140 innings this season, while Steamer reaches +2.7 WAR in 170 innings, so both project him in exce s of +3 WAR per 200 innings in 2015. You cant count on getting 200 innings, obviously, but prior to last season, hed been a sturdy workhorse; were not talking about Francisco Liriano here.

And just being on the hook for either the buyout or even the 2016 salary provides the acquiring team significant insurance against another injury. The .5 million salary only is nece sary if Lee stays healthy and pitches well, in which case a team could be buying 2 yrs of quality performances for the similar AAV that Ervin Santana signed this winter season. Even though Lees results werent exceptional last year, there are plenty of reasons to prefer him to Santana-type pitchers for the next few years.

Keep in mind, Lees struggles in 2014 were all BABIP-related. His 81 xFIP- ranked 15th in MLB among SPs with 80+ innings pitched, sandwiching him squarely between Madison Bumgarner and Jon Lester, and in front of Max Scherzer, amongst others. And while its entirely reasonable to think that the elbow problems that led to diminished stuff also led to harder contact allowed, its still minimal predictive result a pitcher can theoretically control. Betting on Lee isnt betting on a divided pitcher returning to prior greatne s; its simply betting that hell eat well enough to not allow a .358 BABIP again.

And if hes not, well, then it costs you .5 million in next years payroll to make him go away. If hes healthy enough to simply Air Jordan 10 Retro"Bulls Over Broadway"get some BABIP regre sion and keep the majority of his 2014 performances, hes still likely a very good pitcher when hes around the mound. And perhaps not all that much worse than Hamels, at least in the short-term.

This is the type of low-risk, high-reward, short-term acquisition which has the Red Sox written all over it, but its also a kind of a perfect play for any team like North park or St. Louis too. With the 2015 salary from the table, it wouldnt be a challenge whatsoever to see a real bidding war commence, and once Lee strings together several good spring training outings where hes flashing his pre-injury velocity, you could start requesting legitimate prospects.

No, youre still not receiving Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart, but basically almost every other name that has been bandied around for Hamels is probably not too far off a good return for any subsidized Cliff Lee. You wont get two of those guys for Lee, even reducing his salary, but million buys a very good prospect, as well as in the day and age where Brett Anderson gets million in guaranteed money, asking teams to be the hook for Lees .5 million buyout isnt outrageous at all.

If Im Boston, San Diego, or St. Louis, Lee is the type of upside play Id be looking for. With Hamels, explore only absorb the price in prospects surrendered, but you spend the following four years hoping that his elbow doesnt fly out. Under this scenario, theres very little downside for that acquiring team. Which reduced risk is exactly what drives prices up.

With Lees contract immovable without some financial considerations, the Phillies should just go whole-hog and his entire 2015 salary on their books. Theyll still get the flexiblene s of reinvesting the savings next year, and if they create him a free-for-2015 pitcher, they could land the type of deal theyve been surfing for those winter.

Abbey Pendleton

About the Author

Abbey Pendleton
Joined: September 7th, 2017
Articles Posted: 21

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