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 Pat Gallen

    Lefty, I agree with you. But if he’s a top-10 pitcher and is willing to come here for $60 million less than market, dont you have to take it?

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    If hes taking less
    you have to make the deal

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    This is all a bunch of c r a p. We don’t need Cliff Lee. We need RHB OF w power, back up utility infielder, real speed leadoff hitter, future defensive SS, young LH bullpen help. So many pieces. Why hamstring ourselves for years. It doesn’t make sense.

    Concentrate on the small things, and we will be WFC again. Cliff Lee just means we have another pitcher losing games 1-0, or 2-1 like Hamels last year.

    I do like the idea of shedding Blanton’s contract, besides Dennys grand Slam is going to eat all big Joe’s food anyway.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I agree lefty. I also think they would need to trade more than just Blanton to make this work, right? Am I missing something here? I dont mean Raul either because that isn’t likely with all the bats still out there.


  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I mean its still awesome, yes, but its not exactly something their hurting for right now.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    I would think if hes signed maybe oswalt or Hamels is dealt
    Just saying

    I agree with yuo lefty and i take a lot of heat for being negative LOL

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Plus, the only way for Lee to make up for his prospects sucking last year is to come back here and set things straight.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Pat – I love what Cliff did for us, I will never forget his contributions to Phillie lore. One of my favorite Phils for as long as I’ve been a fan, and that’s a long time.

    But this just does not make sense fiscally. We have more pressing needs.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I think they will hold onto the rotation. Blanton goes, maybe Raul, they won’t trade shane…Chase. I dunno. There’s some splainin’ to do. Because with this offer they are admitting they have WAY more money than they were letting on. They might have Red Sox – Angels type money, and I actually think they do. Thats pretty clear now. They will have near Yankee money with their next TV deal, with a now richer Comcast…

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Which means 175M payroll

  • “We peetch vedy good togeter. Pleese come heere.” -Ruiz to Lee

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Theres a link to some tweets just posted
    read them
    If Lee is willing to go below market value you have to respect it.
    It means he wants to be here. Thats such a big deal.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    And Lee isnt taking less to lose in the NLCS.
    I just dont think you need 4 aces.
    How about oswalt for an all star level OF?
    If this happens it will be very interesting to see where the rest of the dominos fall.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Awesome tweets. WHAT is the Phillies offer. Havent found that yet. Lee does not want to be a Yankee, and Sherman is hinting that the Rangers are possibly bluffing with anything over what they have already offered.

  • Posts: 0 Pat Gallen

    Lefty – There is no one to spend money on out on the market. They made a pitch to what they thought was fair to Werth and someone blew them out of the water…nothing they can do about that.

    I agree this is not a pressing need, but you can’t say no to putting together one of the best staffs of all time.

    Going out and getting a difference-making outfielder will cost them prospects, not money at this time. If there were a guy like that available through free-agency it would be a different story.


  • Posts: 0 Publius

    http://bit.ly/icExAK Lee going to the Phillies. Rangers have been told

  • Posts: 0 Publius

    Phillies get Lee

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Done deal…hes ours according to mlb.com writer

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Fair enough Pat, but anything more than four years is poison. Give him his 23-25 for 4. That’s enough, and if it’s not let Nolan Ryan have him.

  • Joelsherman1 Joel Sherman
    #Yankees are out on Lee. Told going in another direction by agent

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Now…WHAT is this contract for. This is really interesting. We have not heard a PEEP as to what the offer was, they came out of nowhere with this. What the H did they offer I wonder, and how much if any did he leave in New York or Texas?

  • Posts: 0 Publius

    uh Jay it’s already official, get with the program man.


  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    gonna have to digest this.
    Lefty has made a ton of very valid points.

    Need to see the deal and need to see the other moves made this off season

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Good night people, I guess we get details tomorrow.

    JPB- If it’s true – Hellll Yeahhh! and Whooo Hoo!

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    We’ll assess tomorrow Andrew after the smoke clears. I’m out.

  • HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Posts: 0 Publius

    Per Joel Sherman Hear Lee’s deal is in the 5 yr, $100M range with #Phillies

  • Posts: 0 Paul

    Is it April 1st?!


  • Posts: 0 Jay Floyd

    Let’s all go out for BEERS right now!

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    5 years
    I love it
    Think about it is 160 million more important than 100 million?

    what you need 4 yachts instead of 3?

    Now it gets interesting
    still think need some bullpen help and would liek to see the every day line up get younger

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Wow, so its 5 for 100? WOW! That is BRILLIANT if thats true.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I can’t believe it! I can get my Lee shirts back out of the closet! What a job by Ruben and thank you Cliff Lee for taking less money to come back to us!

    The Phour Horsemen!


  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    Ruben must have a deal with the devil
    All these people will come play for him for less money.

  • Posts: 0 Mike D.

    Um…there’s no way, right? Like, there’s gotta be a catch, like a sign-and-trade, or something…no way…what????

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Yeah seriously, I guess he wont have to release those photographs after all..


  • Posts: 0 robbie e

    And now the fans are finally happy.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    It makes the trade even more goofy.
    But we got oswalt and the 3 prospects plus lee

    If all 4 stay healthy its the best rotation ever.
    on paper

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    the yankees had all thier eggs in that basket too
    they are screwed

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    Holy $(*&E(WE

    That is all I have to say

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    MLB network drops the ball
    they should be going live with this and they arent
    nothing on espn yet either

  • Posts: 0 ChuckS


  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    Unreal, holy crap

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Andy Pettitte can hold them hostage now.

  • Posts: 0 jeff

    I have to give Jr. props. I have put him down many times. You now have the greatest staff in baseball history. He tried for Werth but Washington overpaid by alot. Lee wants to be here. We all were so depressed when he left. That man is a big time pitcher. We all fell in love with him. Do not worry about right field. Jr. will take care of it. This team is built for now. Now…The Yankees are finished. There pitching is aweful. We have Lee. Lee and Doc is so so so so so so so so sick. Throw in Hamels and Oswalt. I just wet myself. MERRY CHRISTMAS…

  • Posts: 0 jeff

    AT Andrew. Espn already broke it during the Farve interview.

  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    I think I may cry

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from waldorf

    I think oswalt or Hamels gets moved.
    Just a hunch
    Not saying ig thats the right or wrong thing to do before my bashers come at me.

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