Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee knows the feeling of being traded rather well -- he's been dealt four times -- but until this year he's never had the opportunity to dictate where he was going end up in a deal. The veteran southpaw restructured his no-trade clause over the winter to include 20 organizations -- most of whom are projected to be deadline "buyers" -- leaving the Phillies with just nine options to pursue without his consent, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
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Among the clubs on Lee's no-trade list are the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. The Phillies have yet to give any sort of indication of whether they'll be sellers for a second consecutive year, but Morosi speculates that at least two of the aforementioned clubs -- the Rangers and O's -- are likely to come calling should Philadelphia fall any further out of contention.
The Phillies currently sit 7½ back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East at 28-30, but their large negative run differential (-44) indicates that their hovering around .500 may be the work of smoke and mirrors.
Lee says that he was "the last one to know" he was dealt in his four previous times on the trading block -- learning of the moves via the television -- but this time is likely to be very different. Should the Phillies look to trade Lee this summer, he'll play a big part in where he eventually ends up.
The southpaw is owed a hefty sum over the next two seasons -- at least $62.5 million -- but his stellar performance so far this year could help the Phillies bank a bigger return than is normal for such a highly-paid (and aging) player. The 34-year-old's strikeout numbers are down some from the last few years, but everything else lines up with his norms since becoming an elite pitcher in 2008.