Phillies Reportedly Sign Cliff Lee: Happi-Lee, Remarkab-Lee, Shocking-Lee

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Sports Irreverence and More from The Other Tip of the Goldberg

This will teach me to go to bed early and avoid the news from 9:00 PM on.

Hey, I was spending some quality time with my two year-old son. We can joyously read and play together until midnight, and my boy will still want more Q-time from my wife and me.

But that’s a whole other story; back to the task at hand. Besides, as much as I love him and there’s no close runner-up there, I can only read and play-act The Three Little Pigs and The Big, Bad Wolf so many times.

On the way back from an evening meeting, I heard one of the local (Philly) sports talk radio hosts conjecture that the Phillies might be in the running for Cliff Lee, who pitched so memorably in his very short tenure with Philadelphia in 2009.

But of course, they were just trying to make Phillies Nation feel better after letting Jayson Werth go to the Nationals.

Surely, this was just idle chatter, or was it? No! There is some fire behind this smoke, and the Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro are on fire.

In case you have not heard the news, it has been reported from multiple sources that coveted free agent left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee has signed with the Phillies for five years, with a vesting option for a sixth year.

According to, the five-year deal is in the $120 million range.

There has been talk that Lee left some money on the table in spurning longer-term offers with the Yankees and possibly the Rangers, who had him for a few months.

But let’s not laud Lee like he’s giving up huge money to work anonymously in the slums of Calcutta.

Three things here:

He is getting $24 million per year until age 37; so what if he turned down a sixth year for another $18 million or so.

When I leave money on the table, it’s a ratty one-dollar bill  and a couple quarters from my pocket.

I’m not bashing Lee at all; truth be told, I’m a lifelong Phillies fan who was in mourning when “we” let him go last year on the same day that we signed Roy “Doc” Halladay (who incidentally may be the best starting pitcher in the sport).

So, I am receiving this news happi-Lee, ecstatic-Lee, shocking-Lee…but enough of the Lee rejoinders and onto something more important.



In the coming days and weeks (and even now, if not in this very space), there will be a ton of analysis about what this deal means for:

  • The Phillies – I guess they are the prohibitive favorites to get to, and win, the Fall Classic next year.
  • Ruben Amaro – Can anyone question him now, as he has now signed Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Lee again in less than two year’s time.
  • Philadelphia – Is this convincing proof that big-time athletes do want to play here, and we’re a second class city (perception-wise) no more?
  • Joe Blanton – Frankly, who cares?
  • The Yankees – I guess that they don’t always get what/who they want.
  • The rest of baseball – The Phillies won’t be viewed like the 2010-11 Miami Heat, unless Lee says that “I’m taking my talents to South Philly.” But yes, the rest of baseball’s true contenders must be sweating about how they can try to match up with Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
  • Cole Hamels -“Wait, I’m now the No. 4 starter?”


Just a few months ago, I proposed the nickname H20 for the Phillies amazing three-headed monster of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt.

I swear on my beloved two year-old’s future that I had never seen or heard that nickname before my column-produced brainstorm, and I’m okay with “H2O” going viral and lots of t-shirts being sold without a nod to my little column on Bleacher Report, or royalties to my son’s college fund.

Well, I’m kind of okay with that, so here goes, and tell me if you heard it here first:

We now need a new nickname for (on paper) the most potent four-man rotation in modern baseball history. They are a rotation of all-world and even inter-galactic proportions and even though I am not a major sci-fi-guy, I am a nickname-meister of sorts.

So, of course, we now have two Roys (or two R’s) and a Cliff and a Cole (or two C’s). The Phillies have now upgraded the powerful H20 to an other-worldly…


It’s crisp, it’s clean, it’s powerful and let the rest of the baseball world and civilization as we know it deal with it. 

All I know is that Cliff Lee is back in Philly.

Well, I’ll know it when I see the press conference. 

That’ll teach me to stop watching the news at 9 PM.


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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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