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Cliff Lee Returns to Phillies 56

Posted: December 13, 2010, 1:42 AM ; Updated: December 14, 2010, 11:57 AM

By Jon Heyman, SI.com

Almost a year after they traded him, Cliff Lee is headed back to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Lee, the most highly sought pitcher on this winter's free-agent market, turned down more lucrative offers from the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers to return to the team he helped pitch into the World Series in 2009.

Lee reached a preliminary agreement on a $120 million, five-year contract, plus a vesting option for a sixth year. The deal is subject to the 32-year-old left-hander passing a physical.

The Yankees had offered Lee six years at $22 million each, plus an option year for $16 million, for a total of $148 million over seven years. The Rangers' offer was for $120 million over six years, plus an option.

The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner apparently could not bypass the chance to join the Phillies' already stellar pitching staff of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. With Lee, it becomes the most formidable rotation in either league.

The Phillies are now in serious talks with the Red Sox about trading pitcher Joe Blanton to clear payroll space for the Lee deal.

The Phillies weren't even known to be in the hunt for Lee until earlier Monday, when they were revealed to be the "mystery team" that was pursuing him along with the Yankees and Rangers.

But just hours later the Yankees and Rangers both received telephone calls telling them they were out of the running.

Lee is said to have absolutely loved his brief time with the Phillies in 2009, when he won two World Series games against the Yankees. People close to Lee say he envisions himself as No. 2 in a rotation with Halladay at the top, Oswalt pitching third and Hamels fourth. Now they may well have the best No. 1 pitcher in baseball, the best No. 2, the best No. 3 and the best No. 4.

Philadelphia offered him a three-year deal for about $54 million after the 2009 season. When he turned it down, the Phillies dealt him to the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 16 as part of a four-team, nine-player swap while simultaneously acquiring Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays and signing him to a new contract that added $60 million over three seasons.

Lee is 102-62 with a 3.85 earned run average over nine seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Phillies, Mariners and Rangers.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2000, Lee is has excelled in the postseason, going 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA for Philadelphia and Texas in the past two years, including 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA against the Yankees.

Lee won 18 games for Cleveland in 2005, then got hurt in spring training in 2007 and was demoted to the minors. He returned to the big leagues, finished 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and was left off Cleveland's postseason roster. He rebounded to go 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 2008 and was voted the AL Cy Young Award.

He was 14-13 for the Indians and Phillies in 2009, and 12-9 for the Seattle Mariners and Rangers this year.

With Lee's departure, the Rangers could move closer Neftali Feliz from the bullpen to the rotation and may attempt to acquire 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in a trade from the Kansas City Royals.

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56 Comments

Thats rigged, Lee should have stayed with the rangers!!! But then again, Im just thankful he didnt go to the Yankees. :)

did you know that when cliff lee walked into a steakhouse in philly and everyone appauled him.

my dad and i are sad that you left you were a good pitcher the guys need you

Don't get your hopes up. Lee has never pitch good during the regular season after his Cy Young and dident even pitch good in the world series so whats with this Cy Young talk? Also don't be surprised if Halladay goes down with an arm injury and Cole Hamels is infective. Besides right now there offense is even weaker with Jason Werth gone and with the Red Sox retooled with Gonzalez and Crawford, not to mention there top notch pitching of Lester, Bucholtz, Beckett, Lackey and Papelbon I don't see the Phillies winning the world series but then again. If the Giants can win the world series anything is possible but with a contract like that it wouldn't be a surprised he busts. Bottom Line: don't spend 90 million dollars on a pitcher because he'll just get hurt and the Phillies might learn that the hard way.

SANTA CLAUSE(MLB COACHES) NOW:DEREK JETER,ALBERT PUJOLS,carl crawford,cliff lee,roy halladay,ichiru suzuki,prince fielder,and Buster posey.LETS TAKE OFF MY RAINDEERS ITS TIME TO BE ON THE FIELD NOW LETS GET AS MANY OUTS AS WE CAN!

whats with all these comments

Merry Cliffmas, Happy Halladays and Roy to the world!

P.S. What do we call the Phillies' rotation now?
A. R2 C2
B. Phantastic 4 (Im a Philly boy, its gotta be Ph instead of F)
C. Phour of a Kind
D Figtin' 4

thats good

Twas The Night before Cliffmas and all through the Park,
Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels embark,
On a new training session to start off the day
And attempt to erase the memory of the black,orange and gray.

The rest of the Phillies asleep in their beds,
With visions of Championships playing in their heads.
The Phanatic on his 4 wheeler and Charlie in his cap,
Looks down his line-up, and batting 5th there's a gap.

When all of a sudden, arouse such a chatter,
ESPN was on the scene to see whats the matter!
Away from the Rangers he flew like a flash!
Flipped off the Yankees and told them to keep their cash!

When what to our wondering eyes should appear!?
A familiar face of a man who was just here!
With a nasty curve ball and a fastball that's quick,
an addition to a rotation that's already sick!

The most powerful rotation that's ever been seen!
The Big 3 is now 4, cause Cliffs back on the team!
Now Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt and Lee!
Victorino, Howard, Rollins and Utley!

From the NLCS to the World Series we'll go!
100 win season? Ask Rollins he'll know!
Cliff came to our team cause he said it felt right,
Merry Cliffmas to all and to all a good night!

Ha Ha lol

I didn't make it up. My uncle got it from someone else, and he emailed it to me. I just copied and pasted it.

How long did it take you to make that up, cause that's epic.

THATS SO COOL I AGREE WITH U

yeah go ahead

that was awesome! the phils need some hitting

I absolutly love this! Can I pu this o my twitter account?

Cliff Lee, you r a traitor and need to write an apolgie saying:

Dear fellow Texas fans, I am terribly sorry and am a big baby. I know I have crushed some hearts and you will probaly never forgive me. Also I think that money is more important than a World Series. I am terribly sorry all you people i have hurt.

Signed,
Cliff Stinks.

Netdude5, honestly, you have no idea what you are talking about. You claim that Cliff Lee took more money and forsook a chance to win a world series. In reality, its just the opposite. Cliff Lee accepted a smaller contract than other teams offered him and even unselfishly left the Phillies money to sign more players this offseason. In addition, contrary to your statement, Lee went to a better team than the Rangers. The Phillies have a much better pitching staff and offense than the Rangers, especially with their loss of Vlad Guerrero. You need to seriously check your facts before you throw out wild accusations.

i was soooo bummed that the phils got lee, i was hoping to see him in pinstripes next year, the phils are going to dominate the nl in pitching but with werth as a National, they could struggle at the plate. they need to make another big trade for someone with a big bat, trade blanton for Elsbury and put him in right to replace werth.

he is in pinstripes. Red pinstripes.

The Phils will only need 1 run per game, shutouts everygame!

I wish Cliff Lee stayed with the Rangers.

The phantastic phour.... Mount Rushphour! go phillies

Lee should be a yankee

Just give us the next five World Series rings for the next five years why don't ya.

60-70,other,no

strasburg for sure

to shortstopslugger25
for the first poll i think the A's will win 60-70
for the second poll even though i'm a yankees fan and hoping for a ring in new york i've gotta go with the phillies with their best rotation in the MLB
for the third poll,Well let's just say i don't know anything about that.

Hideki Matsui is now an Oakland Athletic. Reply to give me input on this situation. My dad works for the A's front office and is curious what uo think of this move. In my opinion, I think now they need to get Adrian beltre, Vlad Gurrrero, and Magglio ?Ordonez and they had better start picking out some 2011 world series rings.

Here is a poll. Answer my question please:

How many game will the Oaklnad Athletics win in 2011?

A) Less than 60
B) 60-70
C) 71-80
D) 81-90
E) More than 90

Here is another
Who will win the 2011 MLB World SEries?

A)Oakland Athletics
B)San Fransiso giants
C Philladelphia Philllies
D)New York Yankees
E)Boston Red Sox
F)Other

One more Poll:
Do you think the All-Star Game should be moved because of the new immagration law in arizona?

A) Yes
B)No
C)Don't Know

Please REspond to each

1. C, and they will finish in third place again
2.C vs F(Twins), Phillies win
3. D) I don't care.

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