That, of course, is also the main reason Lee opted to sign with the Phillies as a free agent before the 2011 season. He expected the team to contend every season while he was here, but since the Phillies won a club-record 102 games in his first season, the team has struggled to play .500 baseball.
"I don't think anyone could have expected the way we played last year and being under .500 this year," Lee said. "I think it's a surprise to a lot of people, myself included. But there is still a lot of season left."
Lee is no stranger to deadline rumors and trades, beginning with his move from Cleveland to the Phillies in 2009. He moved from the Phillies to Seattle that offseason, then from the Mariners to the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline in 2010.
He shocked everyone after that season by signing with the Phillies even though the Rangers and New York Yankees reportedly offered him more money. Lee's deal with the Phillies includes a limited no-trade clause.
"I've got small control," he said. "I've got like nine teams I can choose to go to. If choose to do it, that's out of my control, but the other 20 teams I can say no, so it's still somewhat out of my control."
According to Foxsports.com, the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Orioles are among the teams that would need Lee's permission to make a trade for him.
Lee, 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA that ranks eighth in the National League, said his primary focus is getting the Phillies' season turned around.
"You can 'what-if' and do that all day, but until something is real and I'm approached with it, it's really a waste of time to even think about or talk about," he said.
Ruiz gets closer
Three cases of Carlos Ruiz bobbleheads were placed next to the catcher's locker Tuesday. He could not play on his bobblehead day, but Ruiz is optimistic about a return within two weeks from a strained right hamstring.
He is targeting a return for June 17, when the Phillies arrive home after a long road trip. Ruiz ran Monday and took swings in the cage Tuesday for the first time.
"It feels good," Ruiz said. "I feel real close."
He will accompany the team to Milwaukee and could head to either double-A Reading or triple-A Lehigh Valley for a rehab assignment from there.
Brown lags in voting
Domonic Brown was not among the top 15 outfield vote-getters in the National League when Major League Baseball released its first All-Star Game balloting update.
The lone Phillies player among leaders at his position is Chase Utley, who ranked third at second base. Utley, who has been on the disabled list since May 21, trailed Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips by 495,021 votes.
Brown leads the National League in home runs with 17. There is time, of course, for him to mount a charge to start the 84th Midsummer Classic on July 16 in New York. Balloting ends June 28 in stadiums. Fans can vote online until July 4. If Brown is not voted into the game by fans, he stands a good shot of making it as a reserve.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee said he did not know whether John Lannan (strained left knee) would pitch in an extended spring training game or begin his official minor-league rehab assignment Thursday. As it stands, it appears Lannan will require more than the original eight weeks prescribed April 18 for his recovery. . . . Roy Halladay was scheduled to see Michael Ciccotti, the team's physician. Halladay will provide an update Wednesday on his recovery from shoulder surgery.