Jon Heyman is reporting that "Cliff Lee is available" actually means "we want the Bartolo Colon trade return"
However, the price tag on the veteran left-hander is exteremely high, leading some to speculate that ulatimately the Phillies may keep him.
"He's telling people it'll take you three or four best prospects, plus you'd have to take all the money," one competing executive said of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro.
Actually, it's worse than that, because not only would have to strip-mine your farm system, but also completely take on the $74.5M (at least) left on Cliff Lee's contract. And that's Philadelphia's right to do so, as Lee is one of the best pitchers in the game. But those demands effectively mean that unless the Red Sox, who have both the prospects and the payroll to pull it off, would be willing to part with Xander Bogaerts + Jackie Bradley + two other top prospects, Cliff Lee is staying with the Phillies.
The Indians would probably have to part with Lindor, Salazar, and a couple lower-level but promising prospects such as Luis Lugo or Dorssys Paulino to land Lee, plus somehow try to fit Lee's salary in the payroll. That just isn't happening.
And you know what? I'm ok with that. That means the balance of power in the AL shouldn't be changed a whole lot. Jake Peavy may be the only real difference maker traded this deadline, and if he gets dealt to the National League, the balance of power in the AL won't change. And given where the Indians are, that would be a very good thing.
Speaking of Peavy, although the White Sox are publicly saying that they are fine building around him, they have brought up a pitcher (Andre Rienza, who would be the second Brazilian to pitch in the majors) in preparation for a Peavy deal. I think the Indians will be facing Rienza and not Peavy tonight.