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Amaro says Lee, Papelbon not on trade market

Published June 20, 2013 3:40 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Philadelphia • While the Philadelphia Phillies struggle to achieve even a winning record, speculation persists that Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon will be available before next month's non-waiver trade deadline.

That's not necessarily the case.

"Absolutely not, because these are guys I'd be better off having on my club than not," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told The Associated Press. "Who am I going to replace these guys with to win a championship? These are championship-caliber players. If we think about moving these guys, then I better be getting someone of better or equal value and I just don't see that happening."

Lee is 9-2 with a 2.53 ERA. The 34-year-old lefty is signed for two more years at $25 million per plus a vesting option for 2016. He's already been traded three times, including twice before the deadline.

Papelbon began the year 13 for 13 in save tries before blowing two chances during a three-game series against defending NL East champion Washington. He's signed for two more years at $13 million per plus a vesting option for 2016.

Amaro and other GMs in similar situations — non-contending clubs with high-priced veterans — have to make a tough decision before July 31. Will they be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?