The Los Angeles Dodgers were awarded the trade waiver claim on sought-after Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cliff Lee, a major-league source told FOXSports.com, but the sides didn’t consummate a deal during the allotted two-day window.
The Dodgers learned Friday at 1 p.m. ET that they had been awarded the claim, giving them until 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday to work out a deal. The Phillies, though, pulled Lee off waivers before the deadline, meaning he will remain with Philadelphia indefinitely. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters over the weekend that Lee was “not going anywhere.”
The most important takeaway from Friday’s news may be the demonstration of how vast the Dodgers’ resources are under new principal owner Mark Walter. By placing a claim on Lee, the team effectively declared it would be comfortable assuming all of the money left on his contract – nearly $95 million between now and the end of the guarantee in 2015.
Even in a down year, Lee has been viewed as one of the most desirable pitchers on the trade market. He is 2-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 19 starts for the Phillies.
The claim signals that the Dodgers are serious about returning to the sport’s elite – and spending the money to get there. They are a half-game behind the archrival San Francisco Giants in the National League West. Even though they didn’t end up with Lee, the Dodgers will be serious players on the free-agent market this winter – and probably for years to come.
The Dodgers claimed at least two Phillies pitchers on trade waivers last week: They were awarded the claim on right-hander Joe Blanton and agreed on a deal for him Friday, in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
Trade waivers are required for major-league players to change teams after July 31. Claims are awarded in a specific order: the player’s league, worst record to best, and then the opposite league, worst record to best. Once a claim is awarded, the teams have a maximum of 48-1/2 hours to work out a deal, or the player remains with his current club.
In Lee’s case, no National League team with a worse record than the Dodgers placed a claim. It’s possible that the Dodgers were the lone team in baseball that submitted a claim.