What the Phillies should do with Lee

Updated: August 5, 2012, 11:38 AM ET
By Buster Olney

ST. LOUIS -- Imagine that you bought a new car with the odometer barely moved, and five-year financing made the payments heavier toward the back end of the deal. For almost two full years, you've gotten a chance to run it at full speed.

In that time, you've put a lot of miles on the car. You have started to notice a few pings in the engine. The tread on the tires has started to show signs of wear. Depreciation has begun -- really, from the first day you signed the papers.

Then, out of the blue, someone offers you this deal: They'll take the car off your hands and all the payments, including the whopper balloon bill that's due at the end.

Unless the car came with some sentimental value, you'd take that extraordinary proposal in a second.

In a parallel world, these are generally the circumstances that the Philadelphia Phillies are in today with pitcher Cliff Lee. The best business decision for them is to take the opportunity to dump his contract on the Los Angeles Dodgers. "A no-brainer," said a high-ranking rival official. "From a business standpoint, it's an easy call."