Wow! Just as I am trying to finish the semester (only one more day!) another can’t miss story comes along. Like the results of the World Cup voting, how can I not comment on the Philadelphia Phillies signing one Clifton Phifer Lee for $120 million over 5 years (with a vesting option for a 6th year)? I mean seriously! Did this really happen!? Things like this never happen to Philly teams. Generally, free agents have spurned teams from Philadelphia, especially the Phillies. I guess the winning culture developed over the last several years has started to pay dividends beyond the World Series title and 4 straight years in the playoffs. The Phillies are now a destination for free agents.
The most interesting part of the Phillies signing Cliff Lee is that he left money on the table to sign with them. Both the Yankees and the Rangers offered more cash and more years. According to Phillies beat writer Randy Miller, Lee’s wife played an important role in him signing with the Phillies. She was reportedly spit on and harassed during the ALCS. Looks like the stupid New Yokr fans may have cost the Yankees. All I can say is thank you Yankee fans!
I am almost too excited by Lee joining the rotation to write anything coherent! Think about this, Lee, who won the Cy Young in the AL in 2008 joins a staff that includes: reigning Cy Young winner Roy Halladay; 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels; and 3-time All-Star Roy Oswalt. What other team can match that pitching depth? The answer – NONE!
I know that Lee, Hamels and Oswalt did not have great records, look at the other stats! Ridiculous. Also keep in mind that when Oswalt was with the Phillies he was 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA. The Phillies now have the best pitching staff in the league. The only other team that could even make an argument would be the Red Sox with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and John Lackey, but a couple of those guys have some questions marks and underperformed last season.
Assuming the Phillies can score runs for their Big Four, a problem at times last year, they have to be considered the early favorites to win the National League and the odds on favorite to win the World Series.
For more information on Lee’s signing with the Phillies check out:
Todd Zolecki with MLB – Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff …
Bill Baer at Crashburn Alley – Cliff Lee Signs with Phillies
Jeff Fletcher at FanHouse – In Spurning Millions, Cliff Lee Shows Value
Jayson Stark at ESPN – Cliff Lee’s return simply stunning