Several reports late Monday night say Cliff Lee has spurned the big money from the Yankees and is returning to the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal is said to be five years, $100 million, with an easy vesting option for a sixth year.
Lee apparently really liked pitching in Philly for the second half of the 2009 season and took a huge discount to return. The Yankees final officer was said to be seven years, $161 million. The Texas Rangers offer was less than the Yankees, but more than the Phils.
I have mixed feeling about this. Of course, now the Mets will have to face Lee several times a year, and with a rotation of Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the Phillies could be unbeatable. On the other hand, it’s really nice to see the Yankees lose once in a while. The last time they failed to sign a targeted player despite throwing big money at him was Greg Maddux in the mid 90s.
It also says something about Lee. Every player says it is not about the money, then they go out and sign with the highest bidder. I don’t know of Lee ever said that, but it is clear in his case, it was indeed not about the money.