New Philadelphia Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg sent Cliff Lee and some other players a message last week. In Lee's case, he told the left-hander that he was part of the team. He also let the media know that he had done so.
One of the new directives that 'Ryno' put in place was that he wants his players to support their fellow Phillies during games. So, it was interesting to see what appeared to be the entire red pinstriped squad on the dugout rail during one of their late-game comebacks. The entire team that is except for Lee, who was sitting on the bench.
While Lee's mound efforts have generally been solid during both of his Philadelphia tenures, some personality points have been questionable. Anyone who has a public position can be overly critiqued, but in this instance it appears as though the 12-year veteran is passively-aggressive.
Basically, the veteran hurler chose the Phillies over the New York Yankees when he signed as a free agent in December 2010. Whether he regrets that specific move, or not, isn't the question heading into this off-season.
The left-hander has a limited no-trade clause, which allows him to block deals to a majority of major league teams. When one considers improvements that must be made to this roster and the fact that Lee is guaranteed to make $25 million in 2014 and 2015, with at least a $12.5 million buyout in 2016, suggesting yet another potential trade rumor isn't an overreaction.
Lee's reticence to walk Sandberg's early line is something that general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is surely aware of. With limited financial options available and an undercurrent of tension now raised, both sides might be willing to part ways this time around.