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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.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (26 votes)

56 Comments

Rya Sweeny is now on the Bench because they just siged Josh willingham, he will play LF, Deavid Dejesus will play RF

shortstopslugger25, Adrian Beltre would be a great pickup, but i don't see him playing for Oakland either, besides they already signed kouzmanoff last offseason. Jermaine dye could replace Ryan Sweeney' role or you could move Matsui out to right and have Dye DH but both are pretty week defenders. About the All Star game, all the all stars like Pujols could play in the all star game, people are just trying to boycott Arizona because they passed a law inforcing imagration. Plus, the constitution gives indivisual states the right to pass laws like this so its not like they did anything illegal or unethical. The game itself has nothing to do with the law and arizona has a beautiful stadium that is a perfect spot for the all star game.

This is honestly what I thnk:
Q1: D
Q2: C vs. E
Q3: Yes! I want to see Guys like Albert Pujols in the ASG and if a stupid Arizona law is going to keep him from playing, along with many other stars, I want to move the 2011 All-Star Game to kansas City adn 2012 to the red sox for the 100th aniversey of Fenway park, even though they had it in the 1990's.
And I agree with the fact that Dye should sign with the A's. The problem is, they have no place o put him, other than the bench, and their bench already has talent. I think this is what the A's should do this offseason:
1. Sign Adrian Beltre (even though that probably won't happen)
2. Trade someone to get Zach Grienkie

Lineup w/ Beltre:
1. Coco Crisp: CF
2. Mark Ellis: 2B
3. Adrian Beltre: 3B
4. Hideki Matsui: DH
5. Kevin Kouzmenoff: SS
6. Kut Suzuki: C
7. David Dejesus: LF
8. DAric Barton: 1B
9. Ryan Sweeny

Bench:
INf: Cliff Petington
C: Max Stassi
OF: Josh Willingham
1B/DH/OF: Chris Carter

Pitching Staff w/ Grienke:
1. Trevor Cahill
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Dallas Braden
4. Zach Grienke (if not, Rich Harden)
5. Brett Andesron

Bullpen:
CL: Andrew Bailey
Setup: Clay Mortensen
RP: Craig Breslow:
RP: Micheal Wuertz
RP: Henrey Rodriguez
RP: Brad Ziegler
RP: Jerry Blevins
Let me know what you think of this, keep responding to my polls, and I f you have any Questions about the A's Ask Me!

#1 B
#2 E
#3 B

Dude you can't even tell yet. Spring training is 4 and a half months away still.

question1C
question2definitelyD
question3B

how many wins.. A
2011 ws... C
all star game .. b

i have been a phillies fan since i was born...go phils

Question 1: 71-80 They have a good pitching staff and their team era was the lowest in the AL last year, they just can't get a decent hitter to take their money, and for good reason. i think they will be 3rd in the AL West.
Question 2: Phillies is my top pick, Cardinals or Twins would be my backups.
Question 3: NO! polotics have nothing to do with sports. Besides, the fact that Arizona is enforcing a law, shouldn't mean that they get punsihed!
Theres pretty much a 1 in 1000000 chance that a front office employee would ask a bunch of kids for help, but if your dad is that desperate, tell him to take a look at Jermaine Dye. He still is capable of producing, and would fit well in a DH/corner outfield role that the A's need. Plus, he has experience and you wouldn't need to break the bank to get him.

yeah they don't have to trade to get him either! When I found out, I was amazed (huge Phillies fan) Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt, and Lee That's practically unbeatable!

Wonder who we can get Blanton for?How about Jose Mesa!

Thats a dominant rotation, their 4th starter, Hamels could be the ace in the majority of mlb pitching staffs. Assuming that the Phils stay healthy, anything less than a 100+ win season would be a dissapointment. I really like Cliff Lee's decision. He went to a place he knew he could thrive and even sacraficed some money so that they could go out and bring in more players this offseason. You don't see that very often.

Merry Cliffmas and Happy Halladays!

And Roy to the world!

Merry Cliffmas to you, Soccer Ace367, the Texas Rangers, the Oakland Athletics and the Phillies. Congrats on Lee!

Ha! Nice!

wow! who wins the CY young award? Lee or halladay.(next year!) vote by replying!

im thinking roy HALLADAY

I think C.C. will dominate the Cy Young award.

Just to tell you LacrosseNerd13 i am commenting on your reply
STARSBURG IS OUT FOR THE SEASON!!!!!! HE HAS NOOOO CHANCE OF WINNING THE CY YOUNG!!!!!!
just to tell you.

Bob the Builder

replying to my own thing, i think that the real contastants will be:
S.Strausburg,
C.Lee
R.Halladay
F.Hernadez
and
U.Jimenez

what do you think?

Joe Blanton will surprise them all.

i think livan hernandez or stephen strasburg.

Ubaldo Jimenez. Lee a close second.

I think Cole Hamels will be a surprise winner.

i say it will be a tie!!!!!

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