Cliff Lee Press Conference: 5 Key Observations

December 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Cliff Lee was officially introduced as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon in a press conference at Citizens Bank Park. 

Given the extreme interest in the pursuit of Lee, the offseason’s most prized free agent, this comes as huge news to fans of the Phillies and Major League Baseball. 

With the way Lee’s five-year, $100 million deal went down, there were plenty of things to learn in the official introduction of the star left hander.

Here’s what we learned: 

It Was Never About the Money 

We all know that Lee left upwards of $50 million on the table by taking Philadelphia’s five-year, $100 million offer over larger and longer deals on the table from New York and Texas. 

After today’s press conference, we know that it was never about the dough for Lee and his family. He said, “At a certain point, enough is enough with the money.” And given the numerous times he talked about how Philadelphia was the best fit for his family, we should take him at his word.


Lee Pushed the Deal Through 

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. admitted that he wasn’t confident that he could pull off the deal for Lee initially. When talks simmered following the World Series, Amaro said it looked as though they wouldn’t be able to get him. 

It wasn’t until Lee and his wife Kristen pursued the deal with Philadelphia that the talks picked back up. It’s clear Lee picked the place he truly wanted to go. 


The Phillies Have One Year to Win With This Team 

With nearly $300 million committed to Lee, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard, it’s clear that the Phillies won’t be able to retain the services of Cole Hamels and Jimmy Rollins when their contracts expire after Amaro’s comments about next offseason. It’s also worth noting that Chase Utley is signed through 2013 at $15 million per year. 

While the Phillies rotation, with or without Hamels, is perhaps the best in the game, Philadelphia has a limited window to win with this bunch. 


Lee Wasn’t Scared to Pitch In New York 

This is something we certainly believed over the last two postseasons when Lee showed his best stuff while pitching in Yankee Stadium, but the interesting way in which this deal went down, fans had to wonder why Lee wouldn’t just take the money and run. 

It’s clear there were no holdups with playing in New York. Cliff Lee just wants to win. 


The Washington Nationals Made This Deal Happen

It’s clear that if the Phillies re-signed outfielder Jayson Werth, they wouldn’t have had the resources to acquire Lee. When the Nationals signed Werth for $126 million, they, in turn, allowed one of the best pitchers in all of baseball to go to a divisional opponent.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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