The Philadelphia Phillies reintroduced their big free agent acquisition today — one that Phillies fans grew fond of during a World Series run two years ago. Cliff Lee appeared relieved to be back in Philly after being bounced all across the United States over the past two seasons. Lee, who will wear No. 33 now that Roy Halladay has taken over his old No. 34, spoke about the opportunity to join a rotation that could be “historic,” as he termed it. He also praised the fans in Philadelphia and cited them as one of the main reasons he chose to return.
The Yankees needed to get Lee and they couldn’t pull it off, leaving Brian Cashman with a rotation that is full of holes. Lee will likely be praised for leaving money on the table by signing with Philadelphia, but the lefty said it best when he told reporters that “enough is enough” when you hit a certain point. He turned out to be the Yankees worst nightmare in free agency — a guy who actually cares that fans spit on his wife when he visited Yankee stadium as the opposition more than he cares about a longer, more lucrative deal.
Fans in Texas and/or Seattle might be a little offended by one of the more humorous moments of Lee’s introductory press conference, when he alluded to the fact that Philly fans “don’t need a teleprompter to tell them to cheer.” If that’s a shot at Texas, Rangers fans will likely take offense. If it’s a shot at the Mariners, fans will probably be confused and asking themselves what they could have possibly had to cheer for last season.
As far as the money is concerned, Lee will make more per year for the next five than he would have in New York. The truth of the matter is he probably knows he isn’t going to pitch until he’s 40 so a contract that’s loaded with dollars in its final years wouldn’t really be beneficial. However you want to analyze it, the Phillies rotation will be one of the scariest baseball has ever seen.