23 Jul

in the crystal ball

Trying to picture Cliff Lee in an Atlanta Braves uniform. … Not seeing it. The former Meridian Community College star would certainly be an upgrade for the Braves’ rotation, taking the spot of either struggling Mike Minor or young swingman Alex Wood. Atlanta is one of the nine teams Philadelphia can send Lee to without the left-hander’s approval. (Washington is another.) And the Braves have some expendable prospects they could deal, including former or current Mississippi Braves like Elmer Reyes, Aaron Northcraft, Kyle Kubitza, Phil Gosselin and Todd Cunningham. But Lee makes a lot of money, and the Braves just swallowed Dan Uggla’s big contract. That’s a snag. Lee is going to go somewhere, just don’t see Atlanta as a destination. Lee, 35, has already been traded four times in his 15-year pro career and been with five organizations, including Montreal, which drafted him out of Arkansas in 2000. That’s a lot of movement for a pitcher with his pedigree. Lee had a rough return Monday from a two-month stint on the disabled list, but his career record is 143-91 with a 3.52 ERA. He is 7-3, 2.52 in 11 postseason games, including two wins in the 2009 World Series, which his Phillies lost to the New York Yankees. Lee is going to go somewhere — and he is going to help somebody make a run at the playoffs.

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