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Will Cliff Lee Be Phillies Prime Trade Chip Upon Return?

Cliff Lee (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Cliff Lee (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cliff Lee made a rehab appearance on Sunday that was cut short due to weather. Lee only threw 24 pitches for Class-A Clearwater over two innings. The hampered appearance could lead to a delayed return to the Phillies’ rotation, something that could hinder the team’s ability to use Lee as a prime trade chip.

Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to have softened his “wait and see,” stance and according to some recent comments, looks ready to start making some changes. Could Lee be the most significant change of this trade season?

The Phillies are reportedly targeting Lee’s return for July 19th and the trade deadline is July 31st. Lee would need a few starts back from injury if opposing teams are going to give the Phillies solid value in return. There may be just enough time for that.

According to an ESPN report, teams across baseball expect the Phillies to aggressively shop Cliff Lee in an effort to move his contract which pays him $50 million through the end of 2015 with an option for 2016. Clubs have reportedly been told by the Phillies that the team is willing to eat a significant amount of Lee’s salary.

One New York sports writer wrote that the Yankees would be a prime suitor in a deal for Lee.

Lee went to the disabled list with a 4-4 record and a 3.18 ERA over 10 starts.

 

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