Lee has been the most sought after free agent this MLB off season. Many speculated that it would come down to a decision between the money rich New York Yankees, who could offer him top dollar, Or it would be the AL champion Texas Rangers, who he could help get back to the world series and win.
Many people, including myself, thought that Lee would sign with the Yankees. But late last night, many were shocked to find that the Yankees had dropped out of the running.
Sports fans all across the country had just finished watching Baltimore defeat Houston in overtime on Monday Night Football, and then expect to see that be the headline on the following Sports Center. But then the headline hit and the New York Yankees have said they will not sign Lee.
At this point, it seemed that Lee will stay a Ranger, but then more news hit that Lee will sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Its been reported that the Rangers and Lee could not agree on the seventh year, which ultimately kept him from re-signing with Texas.
As we remember in 2009, Lee was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Phillies at the trade deadline in order to help them make a deep run in the playoffs. While a deep run did happen, the Phillies lost to the Yankees in the World Series.
Before the 2010 season began, Toronto Blue Jay's pitcher Roy Halladay was on the trade block and the Philles struck a deal to acquire the talented right-hander. But the Blue Jays were not the only team in on the deal, and the Seattle Mariners made a move. In the three way trade, Halladay went to Philly, but in one of the most shocking moves many can remember in baseball, Lee went to the cellar-dwelling Mariners.
In Seattle, Lee dominated posting a 2.34 ERA. Him and Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez were arguably the best 1-2 punch in the AL. But Seattle was not winning due to the teams tendency to not be able hit, at all. And Cliff Lee was not a good fit in the Mariners future plans to rebuild. While it was nice to have Lee, the Mariners made the smart move to trade him.
Two teams were in the running, and they happened to be the two teams who seemed to be chasing him the most this off season, the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. The Rangers won out and acquired the star pitcher for 4 prospects including the best prospect in baseball, Justin Smoak. But the Rangers wanted to win now, while the Mariners were in future mode, so it was a good fit. Lee was outstanding as a Ranger and led helped them to the franchise's fist World Series appearance. But they fell short to the San Francisco Giants. Lee then became a free agent.
And that brings us back to where we are now. Cliff Lee going back to where he was originally traded, Philadelphia. So many teams in just two years, its hard to remember that Lee was an Indian just two years ago.
While Lee was a Ranger, the Phillies added another pitcher who would fill the spot that Lee. This being Roy Oswalt, who like Lee in Seattle, did not fit the Astro's plan and was traded. But Oswalt is still a Phillie, and so is Hallday. It looks like the Phillies just built the baseball verison of the Miami Heat's "Big 3."
In all, the Phillies just made the biggest and most shocking move of the off season and boosted their all ready high World Series chances. As of now, they are my favorite for the World Series. Even with the loss of Jaysen Werth to Washington, they have one of the best rotation's in history. And are well on their way to a second title in four years.
|Cliff Lee while with Texas|
The New York Yankees added all-star catcher Russell Martin today. The former Dodger has not returned to his form in 2007, but the Yankees have hope. Good move for hitting.