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Cliff Lee shocks the Baseball World and goes back to Philly

By Gary W. Marchese Jr.

Philadelphia, PA (Dec 14) – Cliff Lee made his decision known right around midnight Monday night or Tuesday morning, depending on how you look at it. The Yankees and Rangers had been the front-runners all the way through. Everyone pretty much thought it was a two-team race but the last couple of days there were whispers of a mystery team.

Jon Heyman the writer from SI.com, WFAN and MLB Network had kept saying it but either no one believed him or they thought it was a fabrication by the agent to drive up the price. The thing you heard about Cliff Lee was that he was very greedy and no matter what would take the last penny he could get, guess what he shocked everyone and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Lee had played for the Phillies in 2009 after being traded from Cleveland. He made it to the World Series with them and lost to the Yankees but not because of him. He pitched brilliantly winning two games. Lee loved playing in Philadelphia and wanted to stay but they traded him in the off-season to Seattle thinking that there was no way they could afford to resign him, they suspected what everyone thought during these last few weeks, that he was going to take as much money as he could get.

The funny thing is that he loved his time in Philly so much that he wanted to find a way back there and he did. Philadelphia gave him a five-year contract for 120 million dollars and now he teams up with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels to arguably field the best rotation in the history of baseball.

The Phillies are becoming the Yankees of the National League and after losing to the Giants last year in the NLCS they want to make it back to the World Series for the third time in the last four years and of course win it this time with Lee. The question now becomes what is next for the Yankees and Rangers. What are the ripple effects felt throughout baseball?

The Yankees say they are not devastated and they will move on, they have a great team and will look to add other pieces to help them. The Yankees though are facing this reality; if Andy Pettitte retires, their rotation is C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and Sergio Mitre. This is not what the Yankees had in mind and they certainly will not let that happen. The thing is the drop off from Lee is enormous; the Yankees are not going after Carl Pavano.

They have been down that road before, Zack Greinke is available but for a steep price and the Yankees do not feel he could handle New York. I personally do not think he would be a good fit at all either. What are the Yankees options then?

Well there really is not anything too appealing, but maybe the Yankees could make a trade for Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, or Mark Buehrle. I have no idea what they are going to do and they may even go with what they have, see where they are at in July, and then make a trade.

I think they gave a glimpse of their feeling though today when they signed Russell Martin. Martin is still young; he has been plagued by injuries the last couple of years but has a lot of talent. They could just feel like Montero needs some time to grow in the position and they do not want to just give it to him but they could also feel he is a good trade chip and use him to get a superstar pitcher. I think they are going to use him as trade bait or maybe Austin Romine who is slated to start the year in AAA as the Scranton Wilkes-Barre starting catcher.

Martin has to complete a physical before details of the deal come out. He is 27 years old and is a two-time all-star. He was known as one of the best catchers in the National League in 2007-08 before having a down 2009 and then being injured last season.

The Yankees also signed Mark Prior to a one-year minor league incentive laden deal. Prior was one of the Cubs highly touted arms back in 1998 with Kerry Wood. If Wood resigns, they could be reunited with the Yankees but this time in the bullpen. It is a long shot that Prior actually makes the team, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2006 but it is a low risk high reward move for the Yankees.

The Yankees will now await Andy Pettitte’s decision and talk to other teams about trade possibilities I am sure. It will be very interesting to see where they go from here but remember the Yankees were a 95-win team last season without Lee. I actually think it hurts the Rangers more and the New York Mets who are in direct competition with the Phillies.

The Boston Red Sox have made plenty of moves this off-season to improve their team but they are the ones chasing the Yankees. The off-season got very interesting last night and suddenly the Yankees are not the only big market bully in baseball anymore. The Phillies and Red sox have joined the party and the other teams are chasing them.

gmarchesej Posted by on December 15, 2010. Filed under Mets,MLB News,News and Sports with Gary W. Marchese Jr.,Rangers,Sports,US Sports,Yankees. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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