Dodgers trade for Blanton; Claim Lee

The Phillies fire sale continues, as they have traded Joe Blanton to the Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash after the right-hander was claimed off waivers.

In claiming Blanton off waivers the Dodgers committed to potentially taking on his entire contract had the Phillies simply said, “OK, you can have him.” Instead the two sides worked out a swap, although it’s tough to offer much analysis without knowing the identity–or at least general quality level–of the player to be named later.

The Dodgers weren’t done claiming for Phillies as they claimed Cliff Lee. They were expected to put in a big bid for Cole Hamels this winter, a route that is no longer open to them now that Hamels has signed an extension with the Phillies.

In a normal case, the claim would give the Phillies three options: to pull the player back, to try to work out a trade with the claiming team or to simply let the player go on waivers. Lee’s no-trade clause, however, applies to a waiver claim just as it would a deal; if the team that claimed him is one of the 21 teams Lee has on the no-trade, then the Phillies wouldn’t be able to let him go without his permission.

Since the Phillies can now deal with just one team instead of potentially multiple suitors, it’d seem to make a Lee deal less likely. Of course, if they want out of his contract badly enough, they could just let him go, assuming the team isn’t on his no-trade, but indications before the deadline were that they wanted significant talent back in return for Lee.

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