Cliff Lee Signs $120 Million Pact with the Phillies

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, December 14, 2010 11:30 AM | Comments: 193
News, Payroll, Posts

Originally posted December 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm.

This afternoon Jayson Stark stated on ESPN.com that the Philadelphia Phillies were the rumored “mystery team” in the mix, along with the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, for the services of a free agent known as Cliff Lee.

Later in the evening, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal cofirmed via Twitter that the Phillies are involved in the pursuit of Lee.  Other info via the likes of Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman (yes, the real one) and others state that the Yankees still have the edge on the monetary value of the contracts offered.  However, if location means enough, as Lee stated in the past that he loved his time in Philadelphia, the Phils are certainly a contender to be high on Lee’s list of desired destinations.

Other reports state that the Phillies have touched base with multiple teams in an effort to trade Joe Blanton, which would help to free up money in the team’s ever-rising payroll.  Blanton is owed $8.5 million ($17 million total) in each of the 2 years remaining on his contract.

If the Phillies do re-acquire Cliff Lee, plenty of Phillies fans will be overjoyed.  However, it will still stand to be mulled over by some that the Phillies gave up several top prospects for Lee, later gave Lee away for very little to Seattle and then spent more money than they’ve ever given any pitcher to bring him back.

UPDATE, 10:20 pm: The twitter comments are coming too quickly to keep posting on here from the big guns, but in summation, it seems to be getting closer and closer to become a reality. Let’s not jump ahead of ourself because NOTHING is even close to done. However, by the sounds of the tweets from Jon Heyman and others, the Phillies may have jumped into the lead.

These “sources” are saying that it is probably not going to happen tonight, but there are so many factors at work tonight. Heyman has said Lee could leave as much as $70 million on the table to sign with the Phillies. Wow. We’ll have more as it comes.  -Pat Gallen

UPDATE, 11:35: Do yourself a favor and read the twitter of Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He’s summing up everything beautifully over a series of tweets (so make sure you read them backwards, of course). – Pat Gallen

UPDATE, 11:55 pm: Jon Heyman says the Yankees have been told they are out of the Cliff Lee dealings. – PG

UPDATE, 11:58 pm: Sources tell T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (Rangers beat writer) that Cliff Lee is coming to Philadelphia, it is a done deal. – Pat Gallen

UPDATE, 12:04 am: The deal is done! Cliff Lee is a Philadelphia Phillie according to multiple sources. Unbelievable. Welcome to the big time, folks. Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt, Lee. Have fun and Happy Holidays all! – PG

UPDATE, 12:17 am: The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but word is it’s a five-year, $100 million deal. Lee reportedly leaves a seven-year deal on the table from the Yankees that would have been worth more than $150 million. -PG

UPDATE, 12:35 am: Todd Zolecki of MLB.com says the deal is for five years with a vesting sixth-year option. The deal could be worth up to $120 million. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets that the Phillies are working to trade Joe Blanton to free up some salary space. – PG

UPDATE, 1:28 am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post says Lee left a seven year, $154 million pact on the table from the Yankees to join the Phillies. – PG

UPDATE, 10:32 am: Jerry Crasnick has crunched the numbers and this is what it comes down to.

Lee’s deal includes a $27.5 million option that vests if he pitches 200 innings in 2015 or a total of 400 innings over the 2014-15 seasons. If the option doesn’t vest, the deal includes a $12.5 million buyout.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as though the five years equal out to $107.5 million with the guaranteed buyout in 2015 pushing the grand total to $120 million. The sixth year option, should it vest, would make the deal six-years, $135 million or the same as what the Yankees and Rangers offered as their base salary before options were included.

So yes, it’s a deal. However, Lee is still making plenty of bank, bro. -PG

UPDATE, 11:00 am: Crasnick tweets that he may not be leaving much on the table after all. -PG

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  • Posts: 0 Paul

    Unreal! I would be both stunned and elated if this happened.

  • Posts: 0 Publius

    This would be….I don’t even know what it would be. It would guarantee that Blanton and probably at least one of Victorino/Ibanez/Rollins would be out of town, plus cash

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Yes Jay, that would be a good question wouldn’t it? I suppose RAJ’s answer would be that now, they have “greater payroll flexibility” as well as “a flourishing minor league system” that they did not necessarily have at this time last year. In essence, He’ll say that now they can afford both Lee and Halladay, whereas last year they couldn’t. And this time they don’t have to give up prospects.

    And remember, it was not RAJ’s call to trade Lee last year. Who doesn’t think that the FO told Ruben, “you can have Halladay or Lee, but you can’t have both”. So naturally he picked Halladay and rightly so.

    It takes a solid dude to step up to the mic and say “hey I effed up when I traded Lee, and now I’m just trying to correct a mistake”. He would become St. Ruben to Phils’ fans after something like that. IMO.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    This better not drag into tomorrow. I want an answer before bedtime.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I said this in the other thread – the nickname for Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels has to be the Phantastic Phour – if this really goes down.

    Also, the Yankees have also been rebuffed by Greinke, so that leaves…Carl Pavano! Wouldnt it be great to see them come crawling back to him?

  • Posts: 0 Philly Geoff

    I can’t believe it…

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I’d love to hear what our offer is, regardless of what happens.

  • Posts: 0 bsizzle

    The longer it goes the better it is for us, right? Well maybe not if you were trying to get some sleep or some work done, lol.

  • Posts: 0 mike

    RAJ knows exactly where this team is heading…

    JW gone..
    Piece and Chase aging….

    this team is going to be the EAST COAST GIANTS.

    hell of a pitching staff…and no offense.

    but if they had these 4…and the offense they do for 2011…


  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    More and more analysis are starting to favor the Phillies chances. It still feels unbelievable but if Ruben call pull this off… wow… just wow….

    *Crosses fingers*

  • Posts: 0 Ken

    If we re-acquire Lee you can basically pencil us in to the World Series the next 4 years. Best pitching staff in decades. Im loving life now as a Phils Phan !

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    This does not make sense.

    What big deals have been called correctly by the national pundits? Did they get Werth right? no- Crawford? no. Rosenthal or Heyman (I get them confused) said Jeter was going to Boston!

    Maybe the third team is Minnesota, but because MLB knows they are all watching football tonight, they can’t get ratings or hits on the site tonight if they say it’s them. So, what audience with a big population that cares about baseball in the winter could bring big ratings? Philadelphia of course.

    What has changed since last winter? Did the payroll budget get bigger?

    One thing changed for certain, our overall SP’s are much better than before we traded Lee and our offense got worse. I don’t see RAJ as a copycat, I think the Giants were a fluke.

    Sorry, it just doesn’t add up for me.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    It makes sense in RAJ thinking, which is…different.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Geoff I like your name for them. I don’t believe we ever get to use the name, but good call.

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    I dont really think you can compare Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt to Lincecum and those guys. or the Phils Offense to the Giants.

  • Posts: 0 jonnyboy

    I dont know how i feel about this……wouldnt carl crawford have been a better sign than cliff lee? he’s younger and we really need a potent outfielder. we already had a top 5 starting pitching rotation….

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    What could the Eagles possibly do to try to win back media attention if this actually happens? theyll prob sign the dog killer to a long term deal…

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Even with Lee they lose to the Giants.

    Maybe we do have more money than we all think

    Which means 0 rbis contract is moot.

    I hope the phils get him because it will mean just that.
    I wont be too thrilled. Hes a bit old and its long term. Id much rather have Grienke.
    The dog killer is the best player in the NFL right now.

  • Posts: 0 George

    After this year, there will be a number of free agents from the Phils, and if Lee is signed there may not be enough money to sign any of them back.

    I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with this rumor. A Lee signing could break the bank.


  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    @AFW – Thanks for the totally unconstructive post. Don’t say “we” please Andrew because you are not a part of “us”. I don’t know where you come from. You can have Greinke and his “social disorder”. And the Phils do have more money than they let on which is why Dave Montgomery has approved a “payroll exception” for the signing of Lee. Hey Dave…either you have the money or you don’t. What are ya gonna take a loan out to sign Cliff? Hardly. What do you think we are…idiots? You got the money…..fork it over.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    There is an old saying.. nothing spreads so quickly as a rumor. ;-)

    I for one will not take this one (Phillies bidding for Lee) seriously from the rumor mill. This one defies logic and common sense. You may notice that the writers as twitters did not identified their sources representing Phillies management. I wonder why? (wink, wink)

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Jay Vicks leading me to fantasy and real life glory. I liek the NFL again been awhile.

    If hes taking the discount to come here WOW

    Historicly speaking the 2011 phillies would be potentionaly unbielavable.
    Ill wait to see if it happens.
    Will be lots of pressure though.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Dipstick do you have to reply to my every thought?
    Get over me. I dont even read your trash believe me.
    One of the most clueless ive come across on line on any format or topic

  • SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman

    source: phillies rotation, in order, would be: halladay, lee, oswalt and hamels. greatest in baseball history?

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    The Yankees YES reporter is now making up nonsense saying that the Phillies badmouthed Lee. Its on MLBTR, that sounds like a last minute desperate attempt to sabotage a lost cause for them.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    If all 4 stay healthy and perform to expected level it would be the best rotation ever.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I saw that report on the YES reporter. I agree with you Geoff and I do not think it would work. That the Phillies have swallowed their pride and admitted to the mistake my trying to sign Lee is a much stronger indication of what they think of the guy than anything some anonymous source could say.

    *Keeps Fingers Crossed… which makes typing really difficult.*

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    I thnk the best part of this would be sticking it to the Yankees.
    He really is thier only plan.
    As dispstick pointed out no way Grienke functions in new york.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I can’t. You occupy my every waking moment. From the second I wake up to the time I go to bed. Actually, thats not true. But I still think aboutcha lots. Actually, I only feel like I have to address you when you try to represent the colors. You’re somewhat of a poseur..a wannabee. You’re like a little brother in the back seat during a date at the drive in movie (Brady Bunch reference). Whatever clan or team or region or whatever you really identify with….please…go there. And stop poking us with your stick. You’re kinda like a remora (look it up). Just go forth and be happy..somewhere.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Dipstick I can give you my email so I can give you my undivided attention. And you wont have to bore everyone with this.
    I understand that you are boring and I am intersting. But really let it go.
    I have to say it makes me laugh how some think they are all knowing and better than others. And how seriously they take themselves.
    Now go fourth and be happy

  • Posts: 0 Dan

    I would love to have Lee back. However, the phils FO needs to be wise. If making a financial commitment to Lee is imprudent in that it would limit the club in its attempts to improve other areas, there really is no need. Our starting rotation is fine.

  • Ken_RosenthaI Ken RosenthaI
    It’s (almost) official: Lee has reached a tentative agreement with the #Phillies, he is waiting to see if the #Rangers will offer 8yrs. #MLB

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    8 years!!!!!!! This is nuts.

    And it still doesn’t make sense.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    If he gets 8 from the Rangers I wont cry.
    If we get him I wont cry.
    To me its a win win situation

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Wow! WHAT THE HECK did the Phillies offer? I cannot wait to find out…

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    We have many needs, SP is not one of them. Long term contracts w pitchers (even beloved ones) are a very bad mistake.


  • Posts: 0 Trent

    That ken rosenthal twitter account was fake guys…….none of that is true about the tenative agreement


  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I have not tweeted anything new on Lee since story I wrote earlier. Anything else is a fake. #Phillies #Rangers #Yankees #MLB


  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    False Alarm.

    Who has the time to create a fake baseball writers’ twitter account?

  • Posts: 0 Publius

    hey Jay maybe focus on actually contributing rather than just copying and pasting fake beat writers

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    So to rewind it back…Yankees seem to be out. Its still between Phillies and Rangers with perhaps Phillies getting the nod slightly according to the other baseball writers.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    @ Lefty
    I could not agree with you more.
    This means the Phillies are in the Red sox and Yankees of the world though and thats a good thing.


  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    does everyone have to fight here?
    Let people contribute what they want
    Lets worry about our own posts and not so much what others post.



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