The Evster's Top Six Reasons to Keep Cliff Lee

The Evster's Top Six Reasons to Keep Cliff Lee

Full disclosure: I have watched a grand total of five innings of Phillies baseball this year, and four of those innings were on Tuesday night. (I really like that Jeff Mayberry fella!) But despite my lack of viewing, I still follow what's going on, am aware that Cliff Lee has been amazing, and am not a total bozo -- so when I heard last week that Ruben Amaro was shopping Cliff Lee (AGAIN), I had a mini-meltdown.

This is Cliff Lee we're talking about! 7-2, 2.45ERA, sprints off the mound in between innings, Cliff Lee! Why does he continue to be tossed around the league like Alyssa Milano?! Is nothing sacred?!

Ugh.

So here are my Top Six Reasons to Absolutely, Positively, Not Trade Cliff Lee

Reason #1 - Trading for Prospects is Friggin' Dumb

In the past four years, Cliff Lee has been traded three times, and in each one of those trades the team dealing Lee hasn't gotten dick.

In 2009, the Phils traded Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and BIG DADDY LOU MARSON for Lee. If you recall, the Indians WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES do the deal if Carrasco was not involved. Since then, Carrasco has won 10 career games, and is currently TEARING IT UP in the minors. Before being sent down to AAA this April, he posted an ERA of 17.18 for the Indians. Did you read that correctly? Go back and look at that statistic again. The guy had an earned run average of SEVENTEEN POINT ONE EIGHT. If/when Carrasco is recalled, he'll also have to serve an 8-game suspension for repeatedly throwing at batters. Also, Marson is 0 for 3 on the season, and has a lifetime batting average of .219.

Later that year, Amaro dealt Lee to Seattle for 2023 Cy Young Award winner, J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont (he's from Quebec!) and Tyson Gillies, who according to Wikipedia is nicknamed "The Hamster" because of his recurring hamstring injuries.

YOU WANT MORE PROOF THAT TRADING CLIFF LEE SUCKS BUTT?

In 2010, Lee was traded from Seattle to Texas for Justin SMUH-SMUH-SMUH-SMOAKE (.240 -- 3HR -- 8RBI this year), Blake Beaven (real name!), Josh Leuke (aka Josh Puke) and Matt Lawson (currently poppin' bottles for AAA Columbus at a .250 clip).

Trade value schmade value!

Reason #2 - Cliff Lee Actually Wants to Live in Philadelphia

Dude, I know, if you give it your all here, no one will love you more than Philly fans. John's Roast Pork is the greatest. Beanie Sigel actually shoots people. Philly 4 Lyfe. Whatever. No human being in their right mind actually wants to live in Philadelphia. Last week, when it was 93% humidity, I wore seven pairs of underwear in one day. My next-door neighbor has rocked jean shorts for three straight weeks. If it wasn't for your stupid friends and family, you would've moved to Barcelona years ago. Have you ever seen a Catalan woman Flamenco dance? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CATALAN WOMAN FLAMENCO DANCE?

So after playing in three cities in two years, Cliff and his family decided they wanted to settle down. Enough with the moving, the living out of boxes, the kids having to switch schools over and over. And seeing as the Lees could choose WHEREVER THEY WANTED TO LIVE, they chose Philadelphia. The guy and his wife -- actual human beings -- chose Philadelphia. THAT'S WEIRD.

Do you remember how much you hate Scott Rolen? Because for all intents and purposes, Scott Rolen was the QUINTESSENTIAL Philly ballplayer. Do you remember why you hate Scott Rolen?

It's nice to have someone who wants to be here.

And it's nice to not live out of a stinkin' box! The last time I moved was five years ago and I still have no idea where my NBA Superstars tape is.

Reason #3 - That Amazing Catch vs. the Yankees

Doc's reverse scooper vs. the Lakers, Wes Hopkins breaking Ernest Givins's nose, and Cliff Lee's basket catch in the World Series. We already knew he was a pimp, but Lee solidified himself as my wife's favorite athlete of all time after that catch. When I play company softball at the Belmont Plateau, I stand out in left field dreaming of making a play like Cliff's. Last Tuesday, I took a slice of pizza out with me to the field, just to give myself a better chance of making that dream a reality. So there I was, shoveling pepperoni into my face, when a lazy fly ball was hit right toward me. This was the moment I'd been waiting my whole office career for, making a catch while eating dinner. The chicks who I work with were gonna love it, they'd be sending me selfies in no time. And then as the ball came down, I panicked, threw my pizza on the ground and made a stupid, fundamental two-handed grab. Rickey Henderson woulda scoffed. Then a dude came zipping by a 4-wheeler and I screamed like a mule. I have not showed my face in the office since.

#4 - But Evster, Trading Cliff Lee Will Free Up Lots of Money

Shut up. There's no salary cap in baseball. Money doesn't matter. The Phils organization makes plenty of dough already and can spend as much or as little as they choose.

#5 Name One Person Named Cliff Who You Don't Like

It's impossible. Cliff Huxtable, Cliff Robinson, Cliff Clavin. Three for three, all solid dudes. Plus, my brother's college roommate was named Cliff and when I was 13, he gave me a stack of nudie mags. Yes, most of them were from the 70s and featured ladies wearing tube socks, but they were still women and they were still (almost) naked, and for that I am forever grateful.

#6 Gotta Give the Lee-Halladay-Hamels Rotation One Stinkin' Chance Before Blowin' It Up

The Phillies put this staff together for a reason. Get us to the playoffs and these guys will do the rest. Granted, most of the guys on this team stink (lookin' at you, Laynce), Roy Halladay's arm might fall off at any moment (he'll be fine), and before Wednesday night, Cole Hamels was lookin' more like Carlos Carrasco (figuratively!). So with Lee still in town, combined with KAPTAIN KYLE KENDRICK and a late September pickup of , oh, I dunno, Pedro Martinez, we'll be poised to make another championship run.

That is of course if someone on this team besides Dominic Brown can learn how to hit a friggin' baseball.

Cliff Lee is batting .281 this year by the way.

You tellin' me he can't hit in the 2-hole?

Also, did someone in this world really name their son, Tyler Cloyd?

The Evster writes the blog TV My Wife Watches where he writes about TV his wife watches. Follow him on Twitter @TVMWW. Or look at this picture of a cow. He's a nice cow. 

Instant Replay: Nuggets 106, Sixers 98

uspresswire-sixers-joel-embiid.jpg
USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Nuggets 106, Sixers 98

BOX SCORE

The Sixers were shorthanded against the Nuggets and it showed.

Playing without Jahlil Okafor, Robert Covington and Jerryd Bayless (see below), the Sixers didn’t get enough throughout the game from their offensive leader Joel Embiid. He finished with 17 points, but scored only seven through the first three quarters. 

The Nuggets’ second-half push led them to a 106-98 victory over the Sixers. 

How it happened
The Sixers led 27-18 after the first quarter and led by 10 with 3:27 to go in the first half. The Nuggets, however, closed out the second quarter on an 11-3 run. Jamal Murray scored 14 points in the quarter. 

The Sixers faltered in the third as the Nuggets outscored them 23-17. They shot 5 for 19 (26.3 percent) from the field, including 0 for 6 from Embiid, who scored one point off a free throw. Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton combined for 17 of the Nuggets’ points. After only committing five turnovers in the first half, the Sixers committed seven in the third quarter alone. They dropped to 0-11 when trailing after three.

The Nuggets opened the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run. The Sixers were left chasing down the stretch. Embiid drained a three with 1:15 remaining to bring the Sixers within four, but that wasn’t enough. The Nuggets held them off to improve to 8-14 while they Sixers dropped to 4-17. 

Inside the box score
• Embiid struggled for most of the game, shooting 2 for 11 from the field through the third quarter. He totaled 16 points on 5 of 15 shooting. Embiid did record a career-high five blocks, but also had three turnovers.

• Dario Saric followed up Saturday’s double-double with another strong performance: 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting and eight rebounds.

• Ersan Ilyasova (eight rebounds) and Sergio Rodriguez (seven assists) also scored 17 points each.

• The Nuggets were led by a season-high 24 points from Gallinari. Barton dropped 22 points and eight rebounds, while Murray also scored 22 points off the bench. 

(Lots of) injury updates
Okafor missed the game because of gastroenteritis and will not travel to Memphis. Covington was out his second game in a row with a left knee sprain. Bayless sat out his fifth straight game with left wrist soreness. 

Nelson applauded
St. Joe’s alum Jameer Nelson received a warm welcome from the Sixers’ crowd when he checked in for the Nuggets. The 13th-year NBA veteran was a leader on the 2003-04 Hawks team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and went 27-0 in the regular season. Nelson played high school basketball in Chester, PA. On another St. Joe’s note, Nelson’s former teammate Dwayne Jones has been helping the Sixers rebound during shooting drills at practice and pregame warmups. 

Up next
The Sixers are traveling to Memphis Monday night to play the Grizzlies (13-8) on Tuesday. The team will continue on to New Orleans to face the Pelicans (7-14) Thursday.

Cesar Hernandez remains a person of interest as Phillies look to improve

Cesar Hernandez remains a person of interest as Phillies look to improve

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Phillies have completed the signing of veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit to a one-year, $7.5 million contract (see story). The deal could be announced Tuesday and will require the club removing a player from the already-full 40-man roster.

Benoit is one of three additions that the Phils have made to their bullpen this offseason — the club traded for veteran right-hander Pat Neshek and picked up lefty David Rollins on waivers — and more will likely come, probably on minor-league contracts, before the team reports to spring training.

Now that the bullpen has been addressed, let’s take a look at what could be next for the Phillies this winter.

• The addition of Benoit could create enough back-end bullpen depth that GM Matt Klentak could look to trade either Jeanmar Gomez or Hector Neris. Gomez saved 37 games in 2016, but struggled down the stretch. Neris showed great promise in recording a 2.58 ERA and striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings in 79 games in 2016. The hard-throwing righty is young (27), talented and inexpensive so the Phils would have to be overwhelmed by an offer to move him. Last year, Klentak moved a young closer in Ken Giles for a significant return from Houston, so he has history in making these types of moves.

• In addition to more potential comings and goings in the bullpen, the Phils will look to add a backup infielder and maybe a backup catcher in the coming weeks. Andres Blanco could return as that extra infielder. A.J. Ellis could return as the catcher. But nothing is firm. In fact, Klentak hinted Monday that he’d be comfortable bringing Andrew Knapp up from Triple A to be the backup catcher next season.

“I don’t think we need a veteran backup catcher,” Klentak said. “If it works out, we’re open-minded to that. But Andrew Knapp just finished his age 25 season in Triple A. He has a full year of at-bats in Triple A. At some point for both he and (Jorge) Alfaro, we’re going to have to find out what those guys can do at the big-league level. During the 2017 season, we’ll have to find out — not just about those two guys — but others.”

• One of the biggest remaining issues facing Phillies management this winter centers around the outfield and the offense. Basically, Klentak and his advisers are weighing the merits of adding another veteran hitter — the club already traded for Howie Kendrick — to improve the offense or giving a significant playing opportunity to a promising youngster and potential future core piece such as Roman Quinn in what currently projects to be one opening in the outfield.

“That topic is the one that we have spent the most time discussing, not just here but this offseason, about striking the right balance between adding a veteran bat or veteran free agent to this team to make our team better, but again, not taking playing time away from players that need the playing time.

“That’s part of the dynamic that we have to consider there. Roman Quinn came up at the end of the year and, at times, looked like a legitimate major-league contributor. But we also have to be mindful of the fact that he hasn’t logged a single at-bat at Triple A yet.

“This doesn’t have an obvious answer. We are continuing to talk about trade acquisitions and talk to agents for free agents to see if the right opportunity exists to blend all those factors together. But what we do not want to do is bring in so many veterans that we are denying opportunities to our young players.”

This brings us to a situation that could potentially satisfy the team’s desire to improve the offense without taking away a playing opportunity from Quinn.

J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers is an outfield bat that the Phillies like. They like his production and the fact that he’s signed for just 2017. In other words, he wouldn’t block a young prospect’s pathway to the majors, at least for long.

Martinez, owed $11.75 million, which is very affordable for the Phillies, is a serious trade candidate for the cost-cutting Tigers and the Phillies have spoken to Tigers officials, dating to the early part of the offseason.

According to sources, the Phillies and Tigers could be a trade fit if the Tigers were to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler. If the Tigers move Kinsler, they could look to move Martinez to the Phillies for second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Phillies officials have said they are in no hurry to deal Hernandez, but the team does have depth at second with a pair of prospects (Scott Kingery and Jesmuel Valentin) on the way and a ready-made stopgap in Kendrick at the position. 

So keep an eye on Kinsler. If he moves, the Phillies could pursue the veteran bat that would make their offense better. And it would not cost Quinn an opportunity as he could play left field with Kendrick moving to second.