Lee staying with Phillies, Amaro says

Posted: August 04, 2012

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was emphatic: Cliff Lee is going nowhere.

On a day the Phillies traded righthander Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named or cash (believed to be a player), reports surfaced that Lee was claimed off waivers.

When asked about the reports, Amaro said he was not at liberty to comment.

Then he added, "It is irrelevant because he is not going anywhere."

Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com reported that Lee was claimed off waivers, and Jon Morisi of Fox Sports tweeted that the Dodgers were the team that made the claim.

The Phillies can pull Lee back off waivers, assign his contract to the team that won the claim, or work out a trade with the claiming team.

Lee is owed approximately $95 million through 2015. The lefthander also has a no-trade clause that prevents a deal to any of 21 teams without his consent.

Leading up to Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, Lee generated plenty of headlines, and that has continued with the waiver period.

Before Friday's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks and before the reports about the waiver claim, Lee said he would continue to pay no attention to the rumors.

"I don't listen to them, and all of it means nothing to me," he said.

He then briefly expanded on the topic.

"I feel I can control what I can control and the only thing I focus on is pitching, and I am not worried about trades," he said.

While it may be tempting to shed his huge salary, Lee is still considered a front-line pitcher despite his struggles this season. He is 2-6 but has a 3.73 ERA, and his 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings is the second-best in his career. Conversely he is allowing 1.1 home runs per nine innings, his highest rate since 2007.

"He's still got it, he is still there, it's just a matter of him being consistent again," manager Charlie Manuel said before the game. "I haven't seen him lose anything."

Manuel says it is one of those seasons for Lee.

"It's just things haven't gone good for him and this year at times he has made it tough on himself, too," Manuel said. "He has had a rough year, but his talent is still there."

Lee, who will turn 34 on Aug. 30, said doing anything other than concentrating on pitching is counterproductive.

"I will continue to go out there and pitch and give the team a chance to win," he said. "It's really that simple."

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