Pictured above is a device that, if it existed, would have justified the Texas Rangers acquiring Cliff Lee from the Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, a flux capacitator that allows for man to travel in time, has yet to be manufactured in any place other than fiction. So, despite the combined brain power of the Rangers and Phillies respective front offices working together, they reportedly could not get back to a moment in time where such a trade would make sense.
I touched on it briefly earlier today, but any team having conversations with the Phillies would have to be willing to do something that they wouldn’t do two years ago, when Lee signed his deal with Philadelphia. On top of that, they would also have to pay an additional price in the form of prospects for the privilege of attaining a contract that they didn’t want to sign only a short time ago, when Lee was two years younger and presumably better.
As I wrote earlier in the day:
Lee’s contract includes a limited no trade clause that would allow him to block deals to all but eight clubs, and he is still owed whatever portion remains of the $21.5 million he’s owed this season, and then another $75 million over the next three years, plus a $25 million club/vesting option in 2016 (that can be bought out for $12.5 million if Lee is on the Disabled List at end of the 2015 season with an injury to the left elbow or left shoulder, and didn’t accumulate 200 innings pitched in 2015 or 400 innings pitched in 2014-15). However, as we’ve discussed in the past, no trade rights are often used as leverage for a player to earn a little bit of bonus money from being traded.
It’s therefore not surprising to learn that the Phillies and Rangers also failed to come up with an agreement that could work without time travel for both sides. I suppose it was fun while it lasted, though.