Cliff Lee Takes His Talents to Broad Street: Reports

AP Source: Cliff Lee strikes deal with Phillies

By Dan Stamm, AP Sports Writers and Karen Araiza
|  Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010  |  Updated 10:44 PM EDT
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Cliff Lee is returning to the Phillies, reports AP.

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Nearly one year to the day when we were shocked by news that the Phils were trading Cliff Lee, it seems the former AL Cy Young Award winner is coming back to Philadelphia.

It's a five year deal for $100 million, the AP reports. That's 50 million less than the Yanks reportedly offered up for seven years. (Looks like spitting Cliff Lee's wife during the playoffs really cost NY.)

A person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press around midnight Monday that Lee had reached a preliminary agreement on a contract with the Phillies, ending months of speculation that he would go to either the Yankees or Rangers.

MLB's Todd Zolecki says Phillies players cell phones were ringing and buzzing all night

"We're like, 'Whoa,'" Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino said. "I had heard about this mystery team. I was like, 'There's no way it's us.' Then I heard the Phillies were back in it. I texted Cliff last week and he never said anything. I texted him again today when everything started coming out. I'm like, 'Come on.' He finally texted me back, 'I'm back,' and I was like, 'Oh my goodness.' I thought there was no way we're bringing him back.

"You hear about a deal like this and you're kind of shocked. But this shows how much Cliff loved Philly. He turned down money to come back. That says a lot about him." 

The deal is subject to the 32-year-old left-hander, who is 102-61 with a 3.85 ERA in nine major league seasons, passing a physical, the person said late Monday night on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not final.

Sure sounds official after hearing from Texas officials.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told MLB.com that Cliff Lee called him Monday night.

"He was very classy. He was very appreciative of the time he was here and how he was treated. He and his family enjoyed his time here. He also enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and liked some of the things that opportunity had to offer."

The Yanks also got a call Monday night telling them they were out of the running, people familiar with the team's negotiations said, also on condition of anonymity.

Lee came to the Phillies on July 29, 2009 in a trade with the Indians. The southpaw went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA while striking out 74 and walking just 10 in 12 starts with the Phightins.

He went on to put on a show in the postseason going 4-0 with a minuscule 1.56 ERA in five October starts. Despite Lee’s heroics the Phillies came up short against the Yankees in World Series.

Lee, entering the last year of his contract, looked primed to be the centerpiece of the Phillies 2010 rotation when he was dealt to Seattle as the Phillies made a corresponding trade with Toronto to bring in Roy Halladay.

Lee eventually landed with the Rangers. He posted a 2.78 ERA while going 3-2 for Texas in the postseason. But again Lee’s team came up short in the Fall Classic.

Halladay on the other hand wouldn’t get a shot to pitch in the World Series despite pitching a regular-season perfect game, a NLDS no-hitter and taking home the NL Cy Young Award.

Now Doc and Cliff team up atop a Phillies rotation that also features All-Stars Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

The new Mount Rushmore of rotations -- two Roys, a Cole and a Cliff -- was quickly being referred to as "R2C2," a phrase popularized by CrossingBroad.com.

To clear up some cash to pay Lee, Phils GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. is reportedly shopping righty Joe Blanton.


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