Cliff Lee Signs with Philadelphia Phillies - Baseball World in Shock
No Thanks, New York!
Just to prove there are no guarantees in sports, Cliff Lee signed a 5-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies last night and will become part of the best pitching rotation in baseball.
Phillie fans, feel free to clear your schedule in October for playoff baseball as I think it is pretty likely your team might make an appearance.
Almost no one in the baseball world from fans to the media believed that Lee would play for anyone but the New York Yankees in 2011. The Texas Rangers had an outside shot, but really, when the Yankees are said to be interested in a player the Yankees usually get their man.
Cliff Lee with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009
Therefore, it is extremely shocking to see Cliff Lee deny the New York Yankees and brush off the Texas Rangers to return to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he played during the second half of the 2009 season after a trade from the Cleveland Indians and helped lead the team to their second straight World Series appearance.
In those playoffs, Lee carried the load for Philadelphia and compiled a 4-0 W/L Record along with a 1.56 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 33 K, along with two wins in the fall classic against the New York Yankees.
Now he won't have to carry the pitching staff all on his own in 2011 as he joins reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner Roy Halladay, along with Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in a pitching rotation that is certainly the best this decade and possibly one of the best the MLB has ever seen.
Combine the pitching rotation with one of the best offense in not only the NL, but all of baseball as well. Hitters like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino will have little pressure to perform knowing it will likely only take 2-3 runs to win a baseball game on most nights.
It is hard not to envision the Philadelphia Phillies in their third World Series since 2008.
Cliff Lee Poll:
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New York Yankees Fans Left Asking, "Why?"
According to numerous reports, the New York Yankees final offer to Cliff Lee was somewhere in the neighborhood of seven years, $148 million, making Lee one of very few athletes in recent history to leave money on the table for another option.
In my opinion, Cliff Lee never wanted to play for the New York Yankees. Lee doesn’t seem to feed off the spotlight like so many pro athletes do. While Philadelphia is not a small market by any means, it might as well be David to the Goliath that is the Yankees fan base and the New York Media.
It is also possible that the reported verbal taunts toward Cliff Lee’s wife from New York Yankees fans during the 2010 ALCS could have played a role in the decision. If his wife truly was offended, it is very possible that that turned the pitcher off from the team and its fan base.
Whatever the reason for the decision, it is refreshing to see a player like Cliff Lee who could have demanded the moon from any team, instead go with his heart and choose a team he felt comfortable with and excited about playing for instead of just looking to cash a monster paycheck.
Although, $120 million isn’t too shabby.