I have to give Cliff Lee credit. He didn’t just cop-out and take the Yankees pile of money. He signed with Phillies for a reported $50 million less, joining a team where he’s not even the ace of the staff! The guy clearly has no ego, unlike his fellow Arkansan who took over the White House briefing room last week. But let’s not talk politics.
Last season, Lee seemed destined for the Yankees. Who could outspend them? Who could promise so much? The lure and mystique of the Pinstripes. The bright lights of Broadway. A shot at the World Series every year. Breathing the same air as A-Rod. Who could say no to that?
Other than Cliff Lee, I can’t really name anyone. Maybe Zack Greinke, who appears to be a very bad fit for New York. I must admit, Lee’s return to the Phillies did cross my mind last year. That was before they acquired Roy Oswalt. But then I thought, why would you need Lee on top of Halliday and Hamels and Oswalt? They say you can never have enough pitching, but I thought the Phillies had enough pitching. Except when they faced the Giants in the NLCS.
Not so fast. Now they need more pitching. Especially when you lose a Jason Werth. And Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are started to show their age. And the bullpen is unreliable. So load up on Cy Young winners. Can’t hurt, can it? As much as I enjoy seeing the Yankees get jilted, it hurts even more to see an already formidable Phillies team add perhaps the best post season pitcher in the game. If they don’t win the pennant next year, they’ll just have to figure out a way to pry Tim Lincicum away from the Giants.
So with Lee on board for the next five or more years, things look even bleaker for my Mets. Not that they weren’t in bad shape to begin with. But even if Sandy Alderson and company start building a solid foundation by say, 2013, what can I really hope for? Can the Mets possibly build a pitching staff that stacks up in any way to the one they’ve building down the Turnpike? No shot. Halliday was scary enough, now Lee comes in right behind him?
If I’m the Mets, I move the fences in at Citi Field. Big time. Even if it’s just for the nine times the Phillies come to town each year. That would be a whole lot cheaper and more effective than throwing cash at some overrated lefty.