Phillies starter Cliff Lee delivers a pitch against the Pirates during… (Hunter Martin / Getty Images )
Give the Dodgers’ new ownership this, they are backing up words with action.
Two hours after the Dodgers announced they had acquired Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton came word they had also claimed prized Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reported the Dodgers had been awarded claiming rights to Lee, who is owed approximately $95 million on the rest of his contract.
Claiming Lee is a long way from actually getting him into a Dodgers uniform. Now that he has been claimed, the Phillies can pull him back off waivers. And Lee contractually can block a trade to 21 teams, and it’s unknown which teams are included.
The Phillies have until Sunday to work a trade for Lee with the Dodgers.
No one is expecting Lee will actually leave the Phillies, but it was still a strong statement move by the new owners. If this was a litmus test to prove they would spend big to win now, as The Times' T.J. Simers claimed, they've passed.
Since claiming order begins in reverse order of worst records in the National League, the Dodgers at least blocked six other teams from claiming Lee, including the Giants.
Lee, 33, is next scheduled to pitch Sunday.
The Dodgers have already swung deals in the last four days for outfielder Shane Victorino and Blanton with the Phillies, but completing a trade for the former American League Cy Young winner would be an entirely different matter.
The Dodgers lack a frontline starter after Clayton Kershaw. Rotation help was the one area they were unable to address before the nonwaiver trading deadline. Left-handed starter Ted Lilly remains on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and it’s unknown when he will return.
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