The Unlikely Timeline Of The Cliff Lee Saga

He's baaaack!

Here’s a timeline of what happened on Monday night after watching the New York Giants beat up the Minnesota Vikings:

11:37- the first headline on the ESPN score bar is that the Yankees were officially out of the running for Cliff Lee. Honestly I was happy. You probably think I’m the biggest dope in the world for writing that but let me explain; the Yankees have too many contracts that guarantee too much to guys who will be pushing 40 and won’t be producing the same stats as they did when they signed their deals.

A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixiera, Jorge Posada. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are all signed past the age of 37 and all will be making more than 16 million a season… yep you read that correctly, 3 of our 4 main infielders will be making 20 million plus while staring retirement in the face.

If we would’ve signed Lee to that 6 year, 138 million dollar deal it would’ve been another bad contract that we would’ve had to deal with down the line.

The thing is with this free agency class its so thin that guys like Lee and Carl Crawford are getting way too much money for their services and you wonder if they’re worth it (I didn’t mention Jayson Werth for the simple fact that Hellen Keller knows he got way too much money).

While Crawford is great on bases and in the outfield was 142 million really necessary for a guy whose career high in homers is 19, RBI is 90, a guy that has a career .296 average and a .337 on base percentage?

And in the case of Cliff Lee here’s some facts for you; he’s 32 years old with a lifetime 3.85 ERA. As great as he was with Texas in the playoffs he was 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA. I mean the guy is good but he’s not the superstar stud that his contract and hype are making him out to be… with that said…

12:02- ESPN reports that Cliff Lee has reaches an agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies.

12:05- the following exchange takes place between me and my buddy D.J. who used to play baseball at OSU…

Me- um… The phillies got Cliff Lee
DJ- it doesn’t matter they don’t have enough offense

(5 minutes later)

Me- dude the phillies got Cliff lee, they winning the World Series.
DJ- no they’re not. Their lineup is weak. Who’s gonna score runs for them?

(5 minutes later)

Me- dude the phillies got Cliff Lee
(at this point we’ve both had one too many shots and it becomes clear to him that I won’t shut up about the phillies impending world championship)

For everything that I just said about the Yankees not signing Lee an downplaying his importance as a pitcher, the last team that needed Lee was Philadelphia.

Look at their rotation for next year; Roy Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels and whoever they decide to throw in there as the fifth starter.

And to think, these 3 weren't enough.

Thats arguably the best pitcher righty and lefty in the game with a horse like Oswalt and a former World Series MVP in Hamels as your top four pitchers in your rotation, this makes Miami’s big three look like a walk in the park.

This makes Philly the early front runner for the World Series in 2011. No team comes close to that kind of rotation, not even the pitcher happy San Francisco Giants. Four out of five days a week the Phils are sending out a win in the making. So what they lost Werth to free agency, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are still there and Dominic Brown is waiting in the wings to become their next offensive threat in the outfield.

All they need is two to three runs a game tops with this staff and they’ll be fine. In the NL East the only possible competition could be the Atlanta Braves but their offensive output could be a huge problem. The Reds, Giants and possibly Rockies could challenge them for the crown but I don’t see that happening.

Most importantly for the Lee himself was the comfort level in returning to Philly. It’s no secret how much he loved it there and was disappointed when he was traded last winter. As much as he loved Texas and was enjoying how much the Yankees were throwing at him, Philadelphia still has his heart, which led to him turning down an extra two years and 40 million from the Yankees. In the end it wasn’t about money it was about comfort and happiness and Lee is getting both.

12:40pm yesterday- I texted my boy Scully to congratulate him on his impending world title and to tell him I’m giving up on baseball this year. He reminded me that he still thinks the Giants have a better rotation in his opinion and that the Phillies still have to replace the bat of Werth.

That’s cool, unfortunately that’s hard to believe when staring Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and now Lee. This is the team to beat at the current moment whether you agree with me or not. It’s the best collection of pitching put together in a long time and no one, not me, my buddies or even ESPN saw it coming. 2011 is going to be a long year for the other 29 teams in baseball. Oh well, at least the New York Giants are 9-4.

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About brooklynbuckeye


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