The Philadelphia Phillies – 43-56 entering play July 22 – have one of the worst records in baseball and are 12 games back of Washington in the NL East and 11 games back in the Wild Card.
Translation: It’s time to make a deal.
The Phillies have two big-name pitchers in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels who they could dangle as trade bait, but there’s no denying which one they’d rather keep.
“I think they probably want to hold on to Hamels,” CBS MLB insider Jon Heyman said on The Morning Show. “It would be very difficult for them to trade him just a year-and-a-half after they signed him to a $144-million deal. He’s still worth that. They probably could get something for him – and I think they (understand) that they need to do a little rebuilding – but I’m not sure they think they need to do that kind of rebuilding, nor do they want to. I think it would be tough for them to trade Hamels. They’d like to trade Lee, but he didn’t help them last night.”
Lee got rocked Monday, allowing six runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings in a 7-4 home loss to San Francisco.
“He looked very, very rusty,” Heyman said. “Didn’t have good location, got hit around pretty hard and (he’s) only going to get one more start before the deadline. (The Phillies are) not in great position with these trades at all.”
It doesn’t help that Lee turns 36 in August and stands to make $25 million next season.
“I talked to a scout after the game and he just said (Lee’s) stuff was flat,” Heyman said. “(He) didn’t look that good. He was throwing 88 to 91 – (just) not spectacular. (He) was not very sharp at all.”
Indeed, the fact that Lee allowed 12 hits is extremely disconcerting.
“That’s a lot of hits,” Heyman said. “Even before he went on the DL, he was giving up more than a hit an inning, but he doesn’t walk anybody, so he could live with that. But not two hits an inning. That’s not going to cut it.”
In the American League, meanwhile, David Price – after months of speculation that he would get dealt – may remain in Tampa Bay, as the Rays (47-53) are suddenly just eight games back of Baltimore in a mediocre AL East.
“They’re definitely talking to teams, but I would say the likelihood of moving him is just moving down and down and may be below 50 percent at this point,” Heyman said. “There had been an assumption he’d be traded a month ago, but eight games out now, they may just hold on to him and try to play this out and look in the winter. They’ve been a team that’s traded in the winter in the past anyway. They seem to prefer that. At this point, I think it’s probably less than 50/50 that they trade him, but certainly the way he’s pitching now, there are teams that are going to be pretty anxious to get him.”
Price is 4-0 with three shutouts and a 0.85 ERA in four July starts.
The teams most interested in Price are the Cardinals, Dodgers and Mariners – all of whom already have stud aces.
“You would think they might have the least need in some sense, but it just so happens they are contenders who have those kind of prospects that could potentially do a deal for Price,” Heyman said. “But as I said, it’s kind of a 50/50 proposition.”