NBCPhiladelphia.com - Tim Furlong
He could have gotten $30 million more.
But instead of going with the New York Yankees $150 million deal, Cliff Lee signed a five-year, $120 million contract with the Phillies Wednesday, excited to be back.
"Here I am. I never wanted to leave this place in the first place, so to get an opportunity to come back and be part of this team and this pitching rotation is going to be historic, I believe," Lee said.
When he helped take us to the World Series in 2009, Cliff said he and his family really loved it here -- the city, the sellouts and the camaraderie in the clubhouse.
"It's just a good team. It's a good environment. . .it's a good group of guys. It's a close-knit group and that's what you want to be a part of."
Lee’s contract has a vesting option for 2016 and includes award packages, Senior Vice President and General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced Wednesday.
Turning down the Yankees and the Texas Rangers, who both offered more money, makes the return of the unbe-lee-vable pitcher even sweeter for Phillies fans. Although as much as we may want to believe it, Lee said the way his wife was treated by Yankees fans during the playoffs had nothing to do with his decision.
"Let me clarify that thing real quick. That was way overblown. No one came up to my wife and spit on her nobody poured anything on her…it was false."
In the end the people factor meant a lot more than the money.
"It's plenty of money," Lee said about his deal with the Phillies. "At some point, enough is enough."
And the idea of what's possible here, for Lee, was too great to let go of.
"It's gonna be a special team. And none of that's gonna be hand given to us, we still have to go out there and earn it, but I think with what we've got on paper and with the personalities that are around and the guys on this team, good things are gonna happen."
We think so too, Cliffy.