Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lee to Yankees: "Thanks, but no thanks..."

Cliff Lee to rejoin Philadelphia Phillies
The most intriguing negotiation of the hot stove season came to a stunning conclusion late Monday when Lee, 32, spurned bigger offers from the Yankees and Rangers and agreed to a five-year, guaranteed $120 million contract with the Phillies, sources said. The deal includes an "easily reachable" vesting option for a sixth year, a source said, and most likely will ensure that Lee finishes his career in a Philadelphia uniform.

Odds and ends...
  • As of December 14, the Boston Red Sox are the favorites to win the AL East.
  • As of December 14, the Philadelphia Phillies are the favorites to win the NL East.
  • The Yankees' plan was to go into the season with Sabathia and Lee at the top of their rotation. They knew - they didn't think, they knew - that they'd sign Lee. Now it's on to plan B. (Actually, plan B was apparently Crawford, so I guess they're on to plan C, now.)
  • This is, obviously, great news for Yankee haters all right-thinking people, at least in the short term.
  • The people at the players union can't be thrilled about this, as Lee reportedly left a lot of money on the table. It makes it harder for some other pitcher to get more than five years and $100 million.
  • The next question is, who do the Yankees go get, and what does he cost? As mediocre (or worse) as Javier Vazquez was, he gave them 26 starts and 157 innings that need to be replaced. There's, at this time, no guarantee that Pettitte will be back. Sabathia, Burnett and Hughes is not enough of a rotation to strike fear into the hearts of anyone. So where do they go? Greinke's apparently available but no one thinks he can pitch in New York. It's hard to believe that Felix Hernandez would be available, no matter what they offered. Cris Carpenter's headed into free agency, but why would St. Louis part with him now? Where's the good starter on a bad team that they might be able to pry away who could make the difference? I don't know, off the top of my head, but I'd bet that they'll do something major (not just re-signing Pettitte) between now and the beginning of April. They'll at least try to do something major, because they don't have the starting pitching to win the East, and they know it.

Thank you, Cliff. You've given millions of people a wonderful Christmas present...

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