Tuesday, December 14, 2010
It's beginning to look a lot like Cliff-mas...
Yes, the rumors are (apparently) true. Clifton Phifer Lee has turned down offers from the Rangers and Yankees to sign with that "mystery team" we've been hearing about all along: many fans assumed it was a ploy from agent Darek Braunecker, but it turns out that the mystery is for real, and it resides in Citizens Bank Park In Philadelphia.
This is literally the best-case scenario for Red Sox fans. I've been saying for weeks that I wanted Lee to go to the Rangers if given the choice between his two suitors, despite the fact that I was SURE he would be in the Bronx - and that what I wanted most of all was for him to end up in the National League.
Generally, I'm a giant skeptic, but Santa has really made a believer about of me this year, first with Gonzo and Crawford, and now this fantastic outcome in the Lee fiasco. Seriously, we Red Sox fans should be kissing Cliff Lee's feet, both for distracting the Yankees for long enough for the Sox to sign Crawford (surely he was their Plan B heading into the offseason), and for ultimately spurning the Yankees offer to return to Philadelphia, thus ensuring that our batters won't see him until the World Series or during interleague play in June.
Apparently, the Yankees had offered Lee $138 million over six years, with an option for a seventh year (for another $16 million), the Rangers offered "a menu of contract options," but it was the Philly's offer of five years, $120 million, with a vesting option for a sixth year for a whopping $27.5 million if he pitches 200 innings in 2015, or 400 combined between 2014-15.
It is interesting to note that the Lees turned down New York, not in favor of being closer to their Arkansas home while playing for Texas, but to go back to someplace Cliff felt comfortable. Lee is really a stand-up guy: we all heard about how uncomfortable Mrs. Lee was in New York for the ALCS, with Yankees fans apparently spitting and throwing beer from the upper decks into the visiting family section, and it seems the couple has taken that into consideration.
It certainly wasn't the money that sent Lee to Philly, so it seems we have no choice but to take it at face value when he claims to simply feel like he belongs there. Lee's former teammates in Philadelphia from the 2009 title run are thrilled to have him back, and rightly so, as he brings the number of aces in their rotation up to four.
I don't know about you, but I'm very glad Cliff Lee will be in the National League for the foreseeable future. Usually I'm a secularist when it comes to holidays, but this year I'll be celebrating Cliff-mas with all of Philadelphia.