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Cliff Lee’s agent: we didn’t force a trade

Early yesterday it was reported that Cliff Lee was demanding $23 million a year. A few hours later, Philly fans’ hopes of a 1-2 punch of Halladay and Lee were shattered, Lee was on his way west, and Mariners fans were jumping for absolute joy. The conventional wisdom that has emerged: Lee’s extension demands were way more than the Phillies wanted to pay him, and rather than rent an increasingly brooding Cliff Lee for 2009, they flipped him for prospects to cover for those that were sent north to Toronto, turning what would have been an audacious move into a merely good, albeit decidedly lateral move.

Not so, says Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker:

At no point did we make any sort of financial demands. The negotiations were in the very preliminary stages. As recently as [Monday], both sides would have characterized the discussions as encouraging. Unfortunately, something transpired that we had no control over that dictated this move . . . Since the end of the postseason, his intent was to remain there beyond next season. That’s been the goal. Unfortunately, some circumstances transpired that we couldn’t control.”

Braunecker says that they didn’t get very far down the road with Philly, so that the reports that have Lee’s demands forcing the trade are inaccurate.

But “something transpired that we had no control over that dictated this move”? "[S]ome circumstances transpired that we couldn’t control”? All that sounds rather funny, doesn’t it? It’s the sort of detached language one uses to try and distance oneself from trouble without putting too fine a point on specific blame.

Like, say, describing someone getting up and storming away from the negotiating table without admitting that they got up because you were being crazy with your demands.