In a late night stunner, Cliff Lee agreed to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, as first reported by MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
Early last night, there were reports that the Yankees had fears that Lee wasn’t landing in The Bronx and that proved correct.
Before midnight they were told by Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, that Lee “was headed in a different direction.” Minutes later, Texas was informed Lee was going to Philadelphia.
The Phillies’ offer was five years at $120 million and a sixth-year player option. That’s lower than the Yankees who, according to sources, extended two offers. One was for seven years and $150 million; the other for a guaranteed six years at $138 million with a player option for $16 million in the seventh year that would have hiked the package to $154 million. The Rangers offered a reported six years at $130 million plus an option for a seventh year.
Lee, 32, has a 102-61 record and the 2008 American League Cy Young on his nine-year big-league resume. The last two seasons, he was traded at midseason and promptly went on to lead his new club to the World Series, the Phillies in 2009 and the Rangers last October.
Lee was brilliant in his short time with the Phils, going 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 regular-season starts, then 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason outings, including two wins in a six-game World Series loss to the Yankees.
Philly Blurbs writes,
Back in July, Cliff Lee was telling Phillies players and coaches at the All-Star Game that he had never wanted to leave Philadelphia. He went on and on about how much he loved his half-season here, how disappointed he was to have been traded last December to Seattle on the same day the Phillies traded for new ace Roy Halladay.
Six months later, against all odds, the biggest prize of this year’s free-agent market is returning.
Lee’s return to the Phillies creates one of the most dominant starting rotation in the majors. In addition to Lee, the Phillies have Roy Halladay, the 2010 National League Cy Young winner, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.
Original Post 11:00 PM
It actually pains me to write this, but there is plenty of buzz circulating around the web to suggest that Cliff Lee will sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Yes, the same Philadelphia Phillies that already have Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in their lethal arsenal of arms. If it happens, that might be the greatest rotation I have ever seen in the last two decades, maybe even three.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post is now saying that the Yankees have become “extremely negative” about their chances of signing Cliff Lee, and they believe he will join the Phillies.
How scary is that?
Jon Heyman of SI.com, says that Lee wants to be a Phillie so bad, he is willing to take as much as $70 million dollars less to pitch for them.
Everyone who said Cliff Lee wouldn’t leave a penny on the table is off by a few pennies: 5-7 billion of them.
Jack Curry, formerly of the NY Times said on YES Network a short while ago,
“There is a belief that Cliff Lee is heading to the Phillies.”
What I find a musing is that the Phillies payroll was at about $140 million dollars in 2010. Right now their obligation for 2011 is $146 million. Cliff Lee could take the Phillies payroll up to $170 million dollars or more. No flexibility problems there…
I look at a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels, and I see the Four Horsemen Of The Mets Apocalypse.
I hope this doesn’t happen…