Philadelphia Phillies Sign Cliff Lee and Fix Mistakes of the 2009 Offseason

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Nearly one year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies ownership and general manager Ruben Amaro were making tough decisions regarding the future of their team and superstar pitcher Cliff Lee, whom they had acquired from the Cleveland Indians.  

Despite some unbelievable performances against the New York Yankees in the 2009 World Series, the Phillies decided to turn the page by trading Lee to the Seattle Mariners and acquiring superstar ace Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Facing the anger of their fans, Phillies management seemed to immediately regret their decision, going so far as to trade for another star pitcher, Roy Oswalt. Like Lee, Oswalt succeeded with the Phillies, and certainly was not the cause for their disappointing defeat to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.

Their defeat was blamed on their hitting, which could not come through in the clutch. 

Entering the offseason, it could be argued the major concern for the Phillies was improving their offense, especially when outfielder Jayson Werth signed a lucrative deal with the Washington Nationals. 

Meanwhile, the entire baseball world watched as the Texas Rangers and Yankees fought for Lee’s services offering contracts of upwards of $160 million dollars.

What people were not watching however, was that the Phillies were preparing to pull one of the bigger swerves in recent sports memory. As the news continues to leak, it appears the Phillies brass was lurking in the shadows, plotting a surprise attack on both the Rangers and Yankees.

And boy did they succeed!

With the world believing it was a two team race, the Phillies shocked everyone and signed Lee to a five year, $120 million contract. 

What’s interesting is the contract is for only five years when many baseball analysts believed that Lee wanted seven. It’s a bit of a gamble for Lee if he struggles; however, if he keeps the form he’s shown the past several years, he’ll still be young enough where he could land one more major deal in 2016. 

The signing will create shock waves in the American League not only for 2011, but potentially for years to come. It’s been an awful past few months for the Yankees, who lost to the Rangers in the ALCS and now failed to sign not only Lee, but also Carl Crawford, who signed with their bitter rival the Red Sox.

It would seem that a major shift of power has occurred in the AL East as the Yankees were seemingly beaten at their own game. 

But this story isn’t about the Yankees. It’s about the fact that the Phillies have made good on fixing the mammoth mistake they made last year, by trading away Lee in the first place.

It’s really amazing to think how last season could have played out if Lee had never left Philadelphia. The Phillies would have had possibly the two best pitchers in baseball, but Roy Oswalt would be on another team and the Rangers almost certainly would not have played in the World Series. 

While Philly fans may be upset they lost to the Giants in the NLCS, they now can salivate at the prospects of 2011.

The Phillies have possibly the best pitching rotation this league has seen in decades with Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP. Add to the fact they did acquire three prospects when they traded Lee to Seattle last year and $six million in cash from Toronto, the Phillies have to be enjoying life.

With the signing of Lee, the Phillies have made the 2011 season perhaps very boring in the national league. 

No team has a pitching staff that comes remotely close to the new arsenal the Phillies will be deploying. Of course, it’s pretty hard to find any team that has literally an entire All-Star team in their starting rotation.

There will be some fans who will be worried that the team may want to deal Oswalt and save some money, as they will have over $60 million tied up to just three pitchers. Not even the Yankees can claim that.

Some others will talk about the fact that they have not addressed the absence of Werth, considering their offense was the reason they did not go to the World Series for a third straight year.

But for the vast majority of fans, while they might wake up to 20 degree windy weather and flurries this morning, they may very well believe that the title of a popular FX television show is true. 

It indeed is always sunny in Philadelphia. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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