The news broke late last night, the mystery team was real after all and it proved to be the Phillies. There were reports that Cliff Lee let it be known in recent days that his first preference would a return to Philadelphia, and the two sides worked out an agreement for 5 years and 120 mil, with a reachable 6th year option. Here’s some quick reactions:
-For potential trade targets (and a glimpse at next year’s FA class) check out the MLBTR 2012 Free Agent list. It’s not a great class, but with Pujols looking for a monster extension maybe someone like Chris Carpenter can be had on a 1 year rental. Most of the rest of that list is either old, uninspiring, or unlikely to be had with the various contract options attached.
-Until Andy Pettitte comes back, as Yankee fans we have to admit the Red Sox are clearly the better team. The lineups are comparable, but the rotations aren’t close as things stand right now. Even once Andy comes back, I’ll give the edge to the BoSox. But at least then it’s a fight, right now it isn’t. Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova simply aren’t as good as Clay Bucholtz and Dice-K.
-No faulting Brian Cashman here. He met with Lee twice and offered him more money than anyone else. MLBTR has the details:
Crasnick hears the Yankees offered a deal that guaranteed Lee $132MM over six years, plus a $16MM player option for a seventh year (Twitter link). At $148MM guaranteed, that was the highest bid. The Rangers offered $138MM over six years, and their proposal included a vesting option that could have brought the value of the deal to $161MM, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown (Twitter links).
I must admit I’m surprised at how aggressive the Rangers were, but it didn’t matter. Lee just didn’t want to pitch here or in Texas, and took anywhere from 28-41 mil less to go back to Philly.
-As depressed as you might be right now as a Yankee fan, think about rooting for the team across town. The Mets plan on doing nothing this off season, and already project to be at the bottom of their division. Now the best team in their division just got MUCH better. The Met rebuilding plan should target 2015 as the next year they have a realistic shot at winning the division.
-Philly must be a great place to play and/or their GM Ruben Amaro has a knack with getting great 32 year pitchers to sign below market. First Roy Halladay signs a below market deal, now Cliff Lee. Their rotation is now unstoppable with a top 4 of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels. That’s easily the best top 4 in the game, and paired with their offense all they need to do is stay healthy and the National League is almost a forgone conclusion. Never know in a short series, but that’s as good as it gets. Their only question is age, seems like most of the key elements are 32 and older, but they could be a dynasty for the next few years.
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