Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers for RHP Martin Perez, SS Leury Garcia and 3B Mike Olt
The Rangers need to overpay for a front-line starter to keep up with the Angels’ acquisition of Zack Greinke. Halladay, who is trying to rebound from injury, isn’t tradable, leaving Lee as the logical impact piece to move in order to add three pieces for the future. If they can get Olt to play third base (and he should be expendable with Adrian Beltre signed long-term in Texas), a middle-of-the rotation starter like Perez and a future shortstop like Leury Garcia (who is stuck behind Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar), the Phillies would be adding three potential future starters.
As I tweeted a little bit ago:
Just so we're clear on the Lee contract, he's owed ~$8M for rest of '12, $25M/yr in '13-15, then a $27.5M option in '16 with a $12.5M buyout
Just so we're clear on the Lee contract, he's owed ~$8M for rest of '12, $25M/yr in '13-15, then a $27.5M option in '16 with a $12.5M buyout— Joey Matches (@BBTiA) July 30, 2012
So, that's a total commitment of ~$110.5M thru '16 if the option vests/is picked up ($25.3M AAV), or ~$95.5M thru '15 if not ($28.3M AAV)
So, that's a total commitment of ~$110.5M thru '16 if the option vests/is picked up ($25.3M AAV), or ~$95.5M thru '15 if not ($28.3M AAV)— Joey Matches (@BBTiA) July 30, 2012
Let's say Philly kicks in $40 million. That brings you to a ~$70.5 million obligation through 2016 IF the option vests/is picked up ($16.1M AAV), or a $55.5 million obligation through 2015 if the option doesn't vest and is declined ($16.5M AAV). Per Cot's, the option "becomes guaranteed if Lee 1) is not on the disabled list at end of 2015 season with injury to left elbow or left shoulder, and 2) has 200 IP in 2015 or 400 IP in 2014-15." I think it's likelier than not that the option vests, but that's just me.
So, that's $16-plus million per year for a mid-30s Lee, somebody who is having a very good but not great year peripherally speaking, but who still seems to be considered a front-line arm, and who has a clean bill of health and has held his velocity over the last couple of years. That's still a pretty substantial sum of money; the $40 million subsidy would at least give the Rangers a good chance of extracting some surplus value out of the deal, but, on the other side, you're giving up the second- and third-best prospects in one of baseball's strongest farm systems, so that's a ton of value going back Philly's way (plus Garcia, who has a shot at being a light-hitting but strong defense/speed shortstop in the majors).
For Bowden's proposed deal to have any shot of happening, I feel like Philly needs to kick in AT LEAST $30-40 million, and even then I'm squeamish over the possibility. And I just don't know that either the Rangers or the Phillies are going to be able to find anything resembling a middle ground here, regardless of whether Olt/Perez are involved in the discussion or not.