By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke to 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on Wednesday, he told them the Phillies were never looking to trade Cliff Lee. Perhaps that has changed.

READ MORE: Amazon Looking To Hire 3,900 Workers Throughout Delaware Valley Ahead Of Holiday Rush

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Phillies have placed Cliff Lee on waivers. Assuming he clears waivers by Friday (also from Passan), the Phillies will be able to trade him. Jim Salisbury of Comcast Sportsnet also reported Lee has been placed on waivers.

More from Passan:

Lee’s placement on waivers and clearing was 100% expected. Question now is whether Phillies willing to eat $ to deal him.

Speculation is Phillies would need to swallow somewhere in $7-8M-a-year range to get premium prospects back. They’re in a tough position.

Here’s how this works: if no one claims Lee’s contract and he clears waivers, the Phillies would be able to negotiate a trade with any team. If he does get claimed, the Phillies could either allow that team to take his contract, or work out a trade with that team. As well, if Lee gets claimed and the Phillies decide they’d like to keep him, they can do that as well (waivers are revocable).

READ MORE: Colin Powell's Death From COVID-19 Highlights Risks Millions Of Americans Still Face

To be clear, this does not necessarily mean the Phillies want to trade Lee. It also doesn’t mean they have absolutely no interest in trading him either.

Certainly the Phillies position as a last place team means that exploring options such as this is good business. It’s not rare (in fact it’s commonplace) for teams in that position to put players on waivers just to create potential flexibility.

Your verdict is: this is not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean Cliff Lee is getting dealt. It does mean they’re keeping the window cracked open to the possibility though.

MORE NEWS: Man Killed, 16-Year-Old Student Shot In Head Near Lincoln High School, Philadelphia Police Say