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 Ted Bell

    I forgot all about Ben!

    I’m Ted Bell.

  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    Please do not get me wrong here, I love this and just thinking that you could have Cole Hamels as your Number 4 starter if you and if they do not trade Blanton how good a numbber five starter is out there. I love the fact that Cliff is taking 50 million less to come to Philly. Wonder what Jayson Wreth is thinking about now he could have taken a few years less and made left the same amount of money on the table and then played with the best team in the NL.
    But I do worry a little about the offense if Chase, JRoll, Vic and Raul have a down year again. I have said I think Ben Fran should get his shot and I think he will do well, with this how much can you move or pay if you need a bat at the trade dead line
    ,The one deference between this and Crawford is years, if he would have taken five years and millions less maybe they would have done that. It is amazing how Andrew has changes his tune since eleven pm and I dont always agree with Dipsy, but he knows his stuff and is logical, not that I agree with some of his logic but he has numbers and options that make sense and you my little friend Andrew are a poser

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Oswalt trumps those three.

    I’m drinking a beer.

    At 1:40AM on a Tuesday morning.

    To celebrate the return of Cliff Lee.

    I’ll admit, I was expecting this to happen at some point during the 2010 season.

  • Posts: 0 jonnyboy

    all we can say is– wow! where in the world did this come from? can you imagine the feelings that atlanta, washington, florida, or the mets are feeling?? we are gonna OWN their sorry butts. and i personally think we can get a pretty good bat with blanton….in fact, blantons trade value went up with lee’s signing. amaro prob has a trade already lined up

  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    I think I am just going to sleep until May 29 then wake up and drive down to PA for opening day, Friday opening day Doc, I may have to get tickets for Saturday for Lee, ;and then my Sunday season ticket Hamels or Oswalt. What a great weekend to start the new year
    Big Daddy on WIP is ripping Wreth for just taking the money, it obviously shows which one wants to win more it is great. And I love R2C2. I have been saying you have to have a little faith in RAJ and that he would do something big before Chirstmas, and someone was just saying that it is one year ago today that we got Doc not sure if that is true or not. I love the internet live in Vermont listening to wip reading a phillies blog and tivoing all the baseball show so I can watch them talk about Cliff when ever I want. Merry CLIFFmas every one what a great HALLADAY

  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    mlb network is saying 5 years 115 million with vested sixty year option

  • Posts: 0 rob5000

    The Phantastic Phour

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I went to bed early – I logged onto my email and Facebook entries were calling this in multiple – holy crap!

    Health, pray for good Health!

  • Posts: 0 Dave

    The Grinch just snuck into Whoville and stole the roast beast!


  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Question: What would this mean for an eventual playoff short series? Not pitching one of the Phour Lokos is a luxury…

  • Posts: 0 robbie e

    In the short series, the 2008 WS MVP, Cole Hamels, is the odd man out. Wow.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    “The Grinch just snuck into Whoville and stole the roast beast!”

    Word… just had me laughing hysterically.

    This is just truly remarkable. A deal like this helps you focus on being a fan- forget about the money, forget about the holes in our lineup or whatever- we got THE most coveted free agent on the market and we have the best rotation in either league without question. I don’t know how it’s going to work but frankly, I don’t care. Rube figured out a way to get it done and today is a day will go down in history as the day that Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phaithful shoved our fists up the arse of entire city of NY… it ain’t about money, it’s about the city of brotherly love and the city of passion. Red Pinstripes > Blue Pinstripes

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    What a surprise that those d-bags on WIP are ripping Werth. Why?? What purpose does it serve??

    Like I said earlier, Jayson’s situation and Cliff’s are completely different. Werth was offered 48M from the Phils ….a 78M difference from the Nats offer. Lee took less to come back here….but he STILL MAKES 120M.

    I have no problem with Jayson Werth and his taking the money. Completely different situation.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Last night I bought a Christmas tree . . . hours later, Ruben puts Cliff Lee underneath it!!!

    Where are all those “RUIN TOMORROW JR.” clowns now??

    Jayson Werth would’ve taken this deal over the Nats offer too, i guarantee it.. but the Nationals offer was more than DOUBLE what we threw out

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    So basically the deal is:

    21.5 million per year, for 5 years
    –with a–
    27.5 million option for the 6th year (if it vests)

    That’s not too bad. Halladay took the bigger paycut though. But this one feels cooler because, as the Original Chuck P said, today “Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phaithful shoved our fists up the arse of entire city of NY… it ain’t about money, it’s about the city of brotherly love and the city of passion.”

  • Posts: 0 Dave

    Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels….The Four Horsemen!

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Minimum of $120 (5 years)
    Maximum of $135 (6 years)

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Right. 48M and 126M. All you Werth haters…do the math. The Phillies offer to Werth…A GOOD ONE…was 38% of the Nats offer. 38 PERCENT!!!

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    “Incidentally, Amaro’s all-in play for Lee would suggest he has some inside information on something about which the rest of us are still only speculating: that MLB will gradually cut through the red tape to expanding the Division Series format from five to seven games.”

    >>I certainly hope so!

  • Posts: 0 Dr. Dave

    WOW! Christmas comes early!

    Trading Hamels would be a huge mistake. No other team in baseball matches our top 4.

    Just learned about the signing. I think Ruben realized he made a mistake in trading Lee. A great signing!

    Trade Ibanez and Blanton and I’ll be even more excited!

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Don’t listen to WIP- it’s not worth the aggravation.

    Lee’s going to make a bucket of money and that’s fine… to me, this is as much about the statement behind the deal as it is about us getting Cliff Lee; we are not going to lay down just because the Yankees have their checkbooks open. It’s further validation to the rest of the league that players actually like it here- it’s not the terrible place that the national media portrays every time JD Drew comes to town.

    He did take a pay cut… not as much of a pay cut as Halladay but it’s a pay cut, none the less.

    Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels… holy crap.

  • Posts: 0 Phan in the outfield

    Why are people ripping Werth? He doesn’t deserve it & he didn’t deserve to be treated this way by the owners either. The Nats offered Werth years & the Phillies didn’t, which amounts to more $$. Werth would’ve taken this. From Werth’s point of view this Lee deal has to make him feel bad. He invested more time & effort into the city & the team than Lee has. And Werth made it clear he wanted to stay. Call it “business” but it was crappy of the owners who have the money & Amaro wasn’t straight w/Werth.

    And don’t say the players know it’s business, they’re beyond the emotion, blah blah. That doesn’t hold water, it never did (unless you’re a Yankee). Lee was upset at being traded. He never shut up about it. And the guy was only on this team for 2 mos. Werth was/is upset & he should’ve been, anyone would’ve been in his place.

    Anyway, re: Lee – It was dragging on so long I’d stopped caring. MLB interviewed Amaro at the winter mtgs last wk, they asked if he had something up his sleeve & he just looked too smug.

    Can’t help wondering who else besides Blanton they’re going to have to trade to free up funds they pretend they so desperately to need. And I can’t help but think as Lefty said many posts before that we still need a good right-handed bat & a leadoff hitter. I mean we’re still a team, not just a list of amazing pitchers.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Phillies no longer need to score 5-6 runs to win . . . since Brett Myers isn’t our ACE anymore . . .

    If we trade Ibanez, we just open another hole in the OF. I think Francisco in RF is good .. and with the prospects we’ve got if we need to add a RH bat at the deadline, we will

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Oddly, the loser in all of this might be Roy Halladay. How much could he have made in his free agent year? His extension was a modest 3 year $20 million deal (with a fourth year option that becomes guaranteed if he hits certain innings pitched milestones). Cliff Lee at 5 years and $120 million is almost double what he’s making in terms of total money. Of course, Roy Halladay has earned far more than Lee over the course of his career so money was less of a concern for Halladay but I don’t think that it’s out of the realm of possibility that Halladay could have gotten 5 years and $25-30 million (had he waited for free agency).

    HOWEVER… Halladay has added a shiny Cy Young award, a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter on his resume (as a Phillie) that he might not have had if he went elsewhere so I’m certain that he’s ok with it.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    The age old adage says that pitching wins championships; that was certainly validated this year. We have enough bats to score a few runs- potential all-stars at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CF, LF and C (and a budding young star in the making in RF)… yeah, I’d say our lineup is going to be ok. Health is critical and rest is important but you can only afford to rest guys if you have the supporting cast… or if you have otherworldly pitching.

  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    The Phillies struggled to score three runs (or less) in almost 50% of their games last season. That’s a dangerous way to play, even with a great starting staff. RAJ is counting on players living up to their past performances and/or having less injuries in 2011. I guess that’s possible, but as players age they tend to get hurt more and decline in production. The loss of Werth is a huge hole to fill – Brown & Ibanez are far from being known quantities. I still think they need an outfielder – preferably righthanded.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Werth is only werth 3 years for 45 to 50 million. Yes the guy had a couple good seasons with us. Lets not get crazy here. He is not an elite player in baseball. A nice player. They guy struck out alot in big spots and did nothing with runners in scoring postion. He also made bone head plays like getting picked off at second by the catcher. Screaming at the fans because they reached for the ball. Some bad plays in the outfield. Tired of looking at the caveman. Swinging from his knee. I did like Werth. I would rather have Lee for the money.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Werth didn’t scream at a fan that REACHED for a ball . . . . he screamed at a fan that was trying to catch a ball that would have otherwise landed on his head, or his son’s head… so he stuck his hands up to try to catch it

    Its a lot easier to win a World Series with a mediocore OF than with mediocore pitching

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    He did scream at a fan. That is a no no…Lee is no mediocore pitcher. He is a top 10. He was lights out for us when he was here. Go watch the Mets.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    OCP- Hopefully Doc will look at the situation and understand that Cliff Lee has basically spent his entire career underpaid. This just makes up for it, I think he’ll be okay.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Message to Philly Boy (still haven’t got used to calling you by your new name) -
    I always pay my debts.
    And for the first time, in honor of you, all uppercase.



  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    So if noone form R2C2 is traded, or injured- no more conversations about if/who might have to pitch on short rest in the post season!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Are we seriously gonna come up with excuses now to rip Jayson Werth?? Jesus C—–!! C’mon, PN have some sense….and some class..

  • Posts: 0 ActuallyChilled

    Abstract: We have performed molecular dynamics calculations on CI(-)(H2O)n (n=2,3,…9) pitching clusters. The calculations show that the H20 molecule is killing it in these clusters, while CI(-) remains attached to the city of Philadelphia within the clusters, producing nasty pitching yielding legendary results. We also obtained the maximum energy structures for the CI(-)(H2O)n (n=6,7,8) clusters and found this produces sick winning cycles. From the comparison of these structures with the dynamical structures of the remaining league staffs we conclude that the solvation of CL(-) into Phi-matter is due to the brotherly love effect.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Maybe I can make up for my untoward comment last night, by seconding Chuck. Celebrate today guys, leave Jayson out of it.

  • Posts: 0 Phan in the outfield

    Ted: I agree. Their propensity for NOT scoring last season was scary. It’s obvious people are deliberately not looking at that hole left by Werth.

    Jeff: Obviously we disagree. And nobody’s getting crazy. Werth’s ’10 RISP numbers were an anomaly. He wasn’t the only one not hitting in the slump. His K’s aren’t a revelation. Howard has a lot too. So do all the big hitters. He also wasn’t the only one who got picked off at 2nd. Victorino & Brown (2x). Werth also more than made up for any slump from Apr thru early June & Aug thru the playoffs. Without those hitting tears — I’d hate to think where the Phillies might’ve been last season.

    Don M: I’m with ya 100% on that green-shirted dad catching the foul ball. People remember back to that game: it was a VERY tense period for the Phillies. That game, that inning, that out specifically was important. Werth & all the fans felt it – they boo’d the dad when he caught the ball. The Phils had been losing for a while. Werth has two kids of his own. He didn’t see the boy when he spoke, prob didn’t know about him until well afterwards. It was a fenderbender in the scheme of life. For the love of Pete – get over it. Sheesh.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Fantastic post AC! Perfect

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    @Jeff- Don M did not imply that Lee was a mediocre pitcher. Read it again.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Thanks Lefty. I misread. I am not unhappy Werth is gone. I think Werth is a good ballplayer. We will do fine without him. He will get lost in Washington. Lee is is one of my favs. I love this guy. His work ethic. Team player. He fits in with this group. I love pitching. I will love watching these 4.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Ted/Phan – I would be lying if I said that the lack of run scoring didn’t bother me but I think that there are a lot of other variables that played into that… across the board, run scoring was down last year. It was the year of the pitcher and it’s safe to say that we might be heading into a pitcher driven era. Also, injuries decimated our starting lineup and we never really had a chance to watch that lineup gel. Health is important but the age old adage still holds true- pitching wins championships.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Exactly right OCP- And as bad as it looked, we were still second in runs scored in the NL last year.

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