The title is not a joke. According to reports, the Cliff Lee sweepstakes are over. Cliff Lee has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for a five-year, $100 million contract. Yes, that's an expensive contract, but I am willing to bet Lee is worth every penny. For a player of his caliber to get $20 million a year is fair value, not the overpriced value that the Yankees give players.
What's so amazing is that the Texas Rangers offered him at least $20 million per year and for six years with a possibility of seven years. The Yankees are rumoured to offer seven years for at least $20 million per year. This means Cliff Lee has foregone at least $40 million. And for what? A championship.
I am one who is extremely vocal that the spending in the MLB has gotten out of control. Where one team gets to spend more on one player than an entire team sometimes. But Lee decided to not accept these mega deals. He decided to be a winner.
I thought he was one of those people who only cared about getting paid. Not that there's anything wrong with that (athletes have a short career so I don't know why people criticize them for following the cash), but I truly admire and respect Lee for taking less money to win.
People are gonna come out and call him an idiot. They are going to say he could have won with the Yankees and gotten more money. To those I simply say one thing: stop letting your loyalty to the Yankees cloud your judgement.
Seriously, there is no way the Yankees are as good as the Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, the Phillies won a couple years ago, so what did they do? They restocked their starting rotation while all the Yankees could do is watch in awe. Seriously, the bluff with Crawford? What the hell was the point? You should have been wining and dining Lee. In the meantime, the Phillies may have become a dynasty.
Now, people won't believe me. To them, I simply respond: have you seen their starting rotation? I'm terrified of it.
First, you have Roy Halladay, the best pitcher in the NL and in my opinion the entire league. Then you have Cliff Lee, a true terror in the playoffs. And finally, you have Roy Oswalt, an ace in his own right. You have these three players—add in Hamels and you have the best rotation for the playoffs, possibly in the history of the sport.
The Red Sox may have created the best offense in baseball by acquiring Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. But remember the Yankees have been down that road before. They spent 10 years stockpiling brilliant hitters, and while they always had the highest budget in baseball they could not win a championship.
The Red Sox have committed to their offense with solid pitching, the Phillies on the other hand have pitching set, and their offense is no slouch either. Ask me who the World Series favorites are now, and I say this move puts the Phillies over the top.
As for Lee, if I said it once, I'll say it again: He is truly a unique player in this day and age. He chose to win over the almighty dollar. People kill for money—it can corrupt even the best of people. If he had taken the most money, nobody would've blamed him. But by choosing the Phillies, he has helped create a dynasty. Thank you.