Cliff Lee Signs With The Phillies: The Fallout

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

For weeks, the baseball world has been waiting on the edge of their seats for the decision by Cliff Lee.  The assumption had long been that Lee would milk his free agency for every last dollar, likely spurning the Texas Rangers, who he had helped lead to their for World Series just weeks earlier, for the New York Yankees. 

The Rangers held out hope that they could sway him, not only with comparable dollars but also with the proximity to his Arkansas home.  At the end of the day, both teams have been left with a huge void at the top of their rotations.

Indeed, there was a “mystery” team in the mix as rumors indicated.  Lee apparently enjoyed his brief stay in Philadelphia so much, as well as the allure of pitching in potentially the best rotation in baseball, to spurn both the Yankees and Rangers.  The appeal was so strong that he took less guaranteed money in the process.

The Phillies likely have some creative bookkeeping in their future in order to make things work, if it is trading away Joe Blanton or Raul Ibanez or another move we have not yet heard about. 

Right now, those are worries for another day. 

Instead, Phillie fans rejoice what should have come to fruition 12 months earlier.  They have their dynamic one-two punch of Lee and Roy Halladay atop the rotation, and have added Roy Oswalt in the process to make up for their previous gaffe.  Of course, that doesn’t mention the presence of Cole Hamels to boot.

From a fantasy perspective, this does little to change Lee’s value.  Sure, the move back to the NL may aid his numbers slightly, but we all had a good idea of the performance he was going to put on.  That’s not the story for today.  The impact on the baseball world and what it does to two organizations are much more pressing.

With Andy Pettitte’s future in limbo, the Yankees are left with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and a black hole for the final three spots.  Can A.J. Burnett rebound?  Can they really trust Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre or some other prospect at the backend of the rotation?

The Rangers, meanwhile, have long been a team looking for pitching.  They paid a hefty price in Justin Smoak and other prospects to secure their ace for three brief months.  Were the rewards worth the premium they paid?  They put themselves in position to challenge for a World Series title, so you have to say it was, but that doesn’t bring solace to Ranger fans today.

This isn’t the end of the story.  I wouldn’t expect either team to stop their pursuit of rotation help as they were both clearly willing to pay a hefty sum for an anchor to their pitching staff.  We will hear the ludicrous (Felix Hernandez or Francisco Liriano).  We will hear the more reasonable (Matt Garza or Zack Greinke or Ricky Nolasco).  We will hear about reclamation projects (Brandon Webb).  We will hear about everything in between

Today, however, is not a happy day for Yankee or Ranger fans.  In Philadelphia, things could not look any better.  They are an aging ball club with a small window left for success.  Yes, Lee is a 32-year old pitcher with back problems.  Maybe in three or four years they will regret the contract they just handed out, but in the here and now they can rejoice.  They have positioned themselves for another run at a World Series title and put the rest of the NL on notice.

While the rest of the baseball world struggles with accepting the fallout from this stunning development, the fans in Philly are getting ready to celebrate what many will say is the inevitable.  Luckily, baseball isn’t played on paper, though that certainly is a tough idea to accept.

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s early 2011 rankings:


Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...