This is undoubtedly the coup of the offseason. Multiple sources are reporting that Cliff Lee has will sign a five year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. SI’s Jon Heyman has confirmed it. Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News confirmed it. Now even the Texas Rangers are confirming it... This is real.
Rumors started to gain steam as a “mystery third team” entered the bidding for Lee late. Before then, it was seen as fait accompli that Lee was just deciding between the Rangers and Yankees. The news that the Phillies were the mystery team broke this evening.
Then it got crazy. One MLB writer after another started saying Lee was leaning toward the Phillies and would reportedly even be open to leaving as much as $50 million guaranteed on the table because he and his family enjoyed their previous time so much. Even then though, you had to wonder whether it was just his agent looking to get some extra money out of the Yankees… A modern ballplayer can’t possibly take less money to go somewhere he loves right?
Turns out that was wrong. Cliff Lee is a Phillie once again and he immediately gives the Phillies the unquestioned best starting rotation in baseball. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, & Roy Oswalt.
For once, a player is going to stand at a podium and say it wasn't all about the money... and he's going to be telling the truth. Remember what Cliff Lee said when he was traded away?
"I enjoyed my time there. I had as much fun playing baseball there as I ever have in my whole life. So that’s how strongly I feel about it. It was an unbelievable situation, it was a lot of fun, and I loved everything about it.”
Congratulations to Lee for doing what he thought was right, congrats to Reuben Amaro for being the sneakiest SOB in baseball and pulling off the coup of the offseason, and congrats to us for being lucky enough to be Phillies fans right now.