Cliff has decided that he loves the Phillies organization enough to leave money on the table and go back to Philadelphia. Initial reports say it will be around $120 million for five years, with an option for a sixth.
Both articles praise Lee for valuing his comfort zone more than the dollar sign, as he rejects a six-year, $140 million offer from the New York Yankees.
When ‘the Lee sweepstakes’ (a term that I find is pretty dumb and over-hypes the story) neared its conclusion, everyone thought that Lee will either be resigning with Texas or joining the bombers in the Bronx. I actually thought that he’d stay in Texas, considering he had just led them to the World Series.
Bodley and I’m sure many others are already touting the new Phillies rotation, consisting of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt, as the greatest pitching rotation in baseball history. Personally, I dislike making these claims because it puts tons of (I’m pretty sure) unwanted pressure on the four guys and raises the already high expectations for the Phillies on the upcoming season even higher.
Having said that, I’d be shocked if any of these already-proven great pitchers under performs this coming season, knowing the potential greatness they can achieve.
Keep in mind, though, this isn’t something like the James-Wade-Bosh combo in Miami, where the three big basketball stars have to share the stage night in and night out, and where playing styles and egos might get in the way of good performance. This is a situation where all of the guys are classy, humble, dedicated professionals who put their teams ahead of their personal stats. This is also another reason why this rotation can achieve many great things.
My impression of Lee from watching his demeanor on the field and during interviews is that he’s a guy who knows how good he is, goes about his business, and wins. He’s the quiet guy who loves to be around players whom he can be close friends with. He’s also a guy who has been the center of trade / free agent rumors before.
All of this amounts to a decision that shocked the entire MLB community. He’ll be part of a rotation where he won’t be in the spotlight every time, and he can focus on winning.
Everyone I’ve read and seen so far has only talked about Lee turning down money and wanting to join his friends, but hey, he’s a competitor, and perhaps it really came down to one factor: win the World Series.