Well, the unthinkable has happened. Cliff Lee has decided to forego millions to sign with the team that he wants to play for-the Philadelphia Phillies. And the Phillies did not have to give up prospects to get him this time. Lee will join an already excellent starting rotation headed by Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels to fom possibly the best rotation baseball has seen in many years.
Lee has given up the chance to pitch on baseball's biggest stage-Yankee Stadium-and in Texas, for whom he pitched for in the World Series for the second year in a row. Lee will sign a 5 year, $120 million contract.
This a huge win for the Phillies and will make them the favorite tow in the World Series in 2011. The Yankees have now lost out on Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee, and will now turn their attention to trading for another starting pitcher, and convincing Andy Pettite to hold off retirement for another year.
The Yankees have the prospects to make a deal for the Royals Zack Greinke, but not the the up-the-middle prospects that GM Dayton Moore is seeking, Previously, the Yankees have stated they would not make Greinke their second option should Lee sign elsewhere, but one has to think that was a negotiatiing ploy, as they go into the season with Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre in their rotation.
More thoughts after the jump"
Royals GM Moore is certainly in the drivers seat with regard to the market for Greinke now, as its entirely possible that the Yankees, Rangers and possibly other teams could now focus on dealing for Greinke. Should he deal Greinke this offseason, he will certainly get what he is asking for as the Yankees are now seen as desperate for starting pitching.
The Lee signing now gives the Phillies 4 of the top 15-20 starting pitchers in baseball, and 2 of the top 5-6 in my opinion. Can the Phils win 100+ games in 2011. I think so. As a result of this sigining, starter Joe Blanton is now on the trade block, along with outfielder Raul Ibanez. I see Blanton getting traded before Ibanez though.
Now one has to wonder what the Rangers will do now that they didn't sign Lee. Could they go after Adrian Beltre to play 3B, and deal Michael Young? Could the Dodgers, who now have 6 starting pitchers offer Chad Billingsley to the highest bidder?
Who saw this coming? Not me.