Philadelphia Phillies: More Thoughts on Cliff Lee

Mark Swindell@mark_swindellCorrespondent IJune 30, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 29:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

In summary...I was roasted.  Readers told me I was a buffoon, ignorant, idiotic and stupid.

And I agree.  My column, "Phillies Fans Should Be Fed Up With Cliff Lee," was a little harsh and unfair.  Maybe more so to Phillies fans than Lee, but still unfair. Phillies fans have always known when they should or shouldn't be fed up with a player. 

They've booed Schmidt and Bowa, Daulton and Hollins, Howard and Hamels.  They don't need a buffoon like me to tell them they should be fed up with someone.  I imagine though, the small minority who understood what I was saying now agrees with my initial assessment and have reached the point of being fed up.  Those who blasted me are at least seeing a very microscopic truth to my points.

With that being said, the signing of Lee is not looking good.  It will look even worse if signing Lee means that Cole Hamels' future is anywhere else but Philadelphia.  One more odd twist, if Lee doesn't turn around his disastrous '12 season, the Phillies will not see the postseason, which means Hamels will more likely be dealt before the trade deadline.

For $21 million this season, the Phillies have received an 0-5 record with a 4.13 ERA from Lee.  Has he had some bad luck?  Sure!  Has he received consistent run support?  Absolutely not!  But a guy like Barry Zito has six wins with a better ERA playing for a suspect offense.  The Padres' Clayton Richard has five wins for the Padres. Both Zito and Richard have better ERAs than Lee as well.

Lee led the majors in shutouts in 2011.  Obviously with zero wins he doesn't have one this season.  However, Kyle Kendrick and the Astros' Lucas Harrell have one.  Former Phillie Kevin Millwood has one in the AL.  Even Ervin Santana, Philip Humber, Luke Hochever and Clay Buchholz have shutouts and carry ERAs over five! 

What's the point?  A pitcher being paid like Lee—and the caliber of Lee—should take the ball and shove it down the other team's throat from time to time, like he did with the Phillies in 2009, with the Rangers in 2010 and last year.  Where is that this season?

I'm sure some Lee apologists will put together some fancy videos attempting to prove it's not Lee's fault and that's what you gotta do to feel better about the guy who snubbed the Yankees and Rangers to come back to Philly.  Sabermetrics' guys let me hear you again.  I heard you the first time and accept your passion and rationale.

Me?  I'll be wearing my dunce cap, sitting in the corner and hoping Lee turns things around so the Phils can overcome this 10-game deficit.  If he doesn't and Hamels is pitching somewhere else in 2013, I personally will be fed up. Justifiably so.