Cliff Lee Agrees to 5 Year Contract With the Phillies
In a stunning development that has all of baseball in a daze the Philadelphia Phillies have come to terms with free agent lefthander Cliff Lee on a reported 5 year contract worth $100 million.
The Phillies now have a rotation with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in it; I feel sorry for the entire National League, not just the NL East.
The Yankees and Rangers both reportedly offered 6 guaranteed seasons with an option for a 7th year but the Rangers were the high bidder as their option would have made Lee's deal $161 million.
So much for Lee being all about The Benjamins.
As for Lee I have only one reaction at this point and that's good for him and good for baseball.
In a game where high profile free agents chase the biggest contract, Cliff Lee took a significantly smaller offer to go to the team he really wanted to play for.
He turned down the Yankees who always get their man and he turned down the team he helped reach their first World Series in franchise history despite both offering more guaranteed years and much more money.
Nothing wrong with that, in fact there's a lot right about it.
A small piece of consolation for Rangers fans is the way Lee told the Yankees and Rangers they were out of the race.
Lee called Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels personally to tell him he was going to sign with the Phillies; his agent called the Yankees.
Lee's feelings about the Rangers were genuine and had the Phillies not come in at the last moment and offered a contract he likely would have announced his return over the weekend.
As for where the Rangers go from here things get a little interesting.
They could go hard after Adrian Beltre and Vladimir Guerrero to finish off the offense.
They can also trade four top prospects for Zack Greinke or Matt Garza, a move I highly expect at some point to solidify the top of the rotation.
They could even go into the season giving the kids like Derek Holland and even Neftali Feliz or Alexi Ogando a shot at the rotation.
We'll have extended coverage as the Rangers move on but the clear losers tonight are the New York Yankees.
Unless Andy Pettitte comes back they have some serious questions in the rotation and Boston reloaded big time at the Winter Meetings.
Should Texas repeat as champions of the West at least they won't face a Yankee rotation with C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee going in the first two games.
The Rangers also saved a bunch of money they can now use to extend players like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus without breaking the franchise.
Jon Daniels will have an answer to this and I bet anyone he's already got plans B, C and D all lined up ready to go.
We'll have coverage of each move the team makes and will pass along anything we hear both on Let's Talk Rangers as well as our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
In closing I want to wish Cliff best of luck and thank you for helping this franchise reach the World Series for the first time.
And of course for not signing with the Yankees.