The details of Cliff Lee’s deal with the Phillies are starting to emerge. He certainly took a discount to play in Philadelphia, but that’s doesn’t mean he isn’t getting paid.. The word is that he will sign a five year, $100+ million deal that reportedly also includes a vesting option for a sixth year.
The rumors were that the Yankees had a 7 year $150+ million offer on the table. So while the Phillies deal certainly falls short in terms of guaranteed money, the per year money probably isn’t far off from the Yankees deal. The question now becomes how the Phillies pay for this deal. The Phillies ownership is nearly anonymous and not much has really ever been known about their finances. Certainly they’ve been making a ton of money over this recent Phillies run (128 straight sellouts) so it’s possible that they’ve just decided to up the budget. However, there are likely to be some other pieces that fall in the wake of this deal. Most of the speculation is centered around Joe Blanton, who is owed $17 million over the next two seasons. The Phillies could look to move his contract now.
The Phils also have a good chunk of money coming off the books in 2011, so it’s certainly possible that a lot of this Lee money is coming form there.