Phillies making late push for Lee


As the mystery over the mystery team involved in the mysterious Cliff Lee sweepstakes boiled all day, we heard low-level rumors that the Phillies might be involved in the negotiations. This evening, Ken Rosenthal’s sources confirm that the Phillies are indeed involved in the bidding for Lee. Rosenthal’s source did say it would take “nothing short of a miracle” for the team to fit Lee into their budget, but the club is “not out” of it yet.

It’s tough to say what’s going on here. The Phillies could be showing legitimate interest as they have contracts coming off the books, but the club isn’t going to match the seven years the Yankees have reportedly put on the table. This might be a move by Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker to push up the Yanks’ offer by $5-$10 million or it could be the Phillies’ salivating over a rotation of Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt in 2011. Either way, it appears as though this saga will last at least another night.

Update (9:26 p.m.): Jerry Crasnick has more on the Phillies, who, he says, jumped into the hunt “with fervor” after the Winter Meetings. The ESPN scribe’s sources say that Lee is close to a decision. It will all be over soon.

Update (9:51 p.m.): The YES Network’s own Jack Curry has jumped into the fray. He tweets that “there is a belief” that Lee will wind up with the Phillies. But here’s the rub: Lee will have to accept far fewer dollars and perhaps a shorter contract to sign with the Phillies. It’s all happening now.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. It’s worth pointing out that when Rosenthal proposed a Lee/Halladay three-team deal last winter, we mocked it, and then it came true. I wouldn’t be surprised either way if Lee ended up in Philadelphia, but I still think they’re a long shot.

  2. 95% negotiating ploy, 5% actual Phillies interest. Lee’s agent is playing the Yankees beautifully.

  3. bonestock94 says:


  4. bexarama says:

    I’m not entirely sure I believe this but Ruben Amaro Jr. is crazy so I never know what to expect from that guy. Also, it might just be his agent trying to float teams, knowing Lee is close to deciding, trying to get a team actually in the mix to up their offer.

    But, like I said – if, after all this insanity, Cliff Lee ends up going back to Philadelphia after all, I will just never stop laughing.

  5. Eric Young says:

    Scary for fans of Yankees, Rangers for Phillies to come so late – and w/ knowledge of cost of seat at table.

    Nightmare Scenario for Yankees? Lee to Phils, followed by Sabathia after opt-out at end of next season.

  6. Erica says:


    Oh man. If Cliff Lee goes to the Phillies… well… at this point, I’m just apathetic about this whole situation.

  7. Ellis says:

    Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt would be the best rotation in history. Discuss.

  8. Clint Holzner says:

    Would the players union allow him to leave potentially 61 million on the table?

  9. I think Cleveland is also interested. They’d be willing to go as high as 6 years/ $60 million! What they lack in money they make up for with nostalgia and personality.

  10. If Lee does resign with Philly, I will drop my flags, burn my hat, and move to Philadelphia.

    /half serious

  11. JeffG says:

    What Brian Cashman needs to do is put in a deadline and make it happen soon. If we just wait around there is the chance that another team can clear payroll to make the room for Lee.

    If there is a threat that Lee would loose the offer if he waits he may decide to take it with the idea that he put in a much worse position financially without the Yanks high offer.

    Right now Lee has all the advantage in the waiting game. I think we should take that away.

    • As I said in one of the threads last night, there’s absolutely no need to put a deadline on it. It’s not holding up any other plans, and Spring Training isn’t tomorrow. Only for the impatient fans does a deadline make any sense.

      • JeffG says:

        I’m not arguing a deadline for the sake of holding us up. It is to not allow for other teams to get in. For example the Phils try to move Ibanez/Blanton it allows them clear payroll that they may need.

        It takes away Lee’s leverage to find a better offer.

    • Teh Comp Pick says:

      I said this yesterday and while people made many good points to the contrary, I still feel putting a little pressure on wouldn’t hurt. Say your discussing a trade for a pitcher, and need to know.

    • CP says:

      How is another team going to clear payroll?

        • CP says:

          Wouldn’t the team that’s taking on payroll just sign Lee instead?

          • JeffG says:

            Hypothetically, a team may have 11 mil for Ibanez and not have the 23 or pitching need. That 11 mil might be enough to make the difference for the Phils or another team.

            • CP says:

              I guess that’s possible, but it seems unlikely to me. Most teams are not so financially constrained that a short term commitment will block a long term deal. This isn’t like the NFL or NBA where there is a salary cap that they would need to get under.

    • Pat D says:

      I remember that when Plaxico Burress signed with the Giants, the Giants had publicly announced on their website that they were no longer negotiating with him. Then about 3 days later he signed.

      It was weird and yet…it worked?

      Something tells me that wouldn’t work here.

  12. MP says:

    Wow. That would be one deadly rotation. Holy mackerel.

  13. wow says:

    can someone tell me who incarcerated bob is? The guy made a pretty bold statement today about Lee…

  14. Corporate Scum (Formerly Joe West's Music Career) says:

    8/200! Get it done Cash!

    No. Wait. 9/235.



  15. JM says:

    I like how in the radio show today: “This was probably our last Cliff Lee post until he makes a decision” haha. March 31st he will sign with the LI Ducks

  16. Xstar7 says:

    I don’t know whether seeing Cliff Lee in a Rangers uniform or a Phillies uniform would pain me more next year.

  17. CP says:

    Didn’t Heyman comment earlier that the “mystery team” had a significantly smaller offer and was a place that Lee loved?

    Also, didn’t Amaro trade Lee because Lee wouldn’t take a discount to stay in Philly?

    • Your insipid facts are ruining this wonderful narrative.

      • CP says:

        Philadelphia may be a mystery team, but I’m not too worried.

        The other team that crossed my mind today was Seattle. They traded Lee, but never made any comments about his unwillingness (or their inability) to sign him to a long term deal. They also have relatively deep pockets. Get the prospects and the player? Not a bad deal..

    • mbonzo says:

      From what I remembered, Amaro made Lee an extension similar to Halladay but Lee wanted to negotiate a longer contract. Amaro didn’t negotiate anything and just traded him away. I think he liked playing in Philly but was turned off by Amaro being such an asshole to him.

  18. Jake H says:

    I would like to have this over. Don’t give him a deadline, I just want it over.

  19. CBean says:

    No. They can’t have him. MINE! I mean, he should come to the Yankees.

  20. A topic no one wants to think about, but in the unfortunate event the Yankees miss out on Lee it would benefit them more if he went to the NL.

  21. mbonzo says:

    From a Yankees perspective, this Cliff Lee negotiation has been just like Scott Pilgram v. World. In order for the Yankees to sign Lee they’re gonna have to destroy his 4 evil ex-teams.

  22. mbonzo says:

    Phillies looking for takers on Blanton.

  23. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I ripped on Jeter on his negotiations but comapred to Cliff lee he really does look like a saint.

    This negotiation is not going to finish this week is it?

  24. OXXBOW says:

    I still say it will be 7 / 175.

  25. gargoyle says:

    It’s pretty eye opening how many people here would seemingly pay almost any price to put this overrated joker in Pinstripes.

  26. Steve H says:

    If the Phillies aren’t really in, this has to be good news for the Yankees. If it’s just a ploy to get an extra $5-10 million, I’d say they are trying to get it from the Yankees (whom they know have money) and the Rangers, who’s last offer is likely their best.

    • mbonzo says:

      I seriously think that last trip to see Lee was the Rangers final offer. I think they were planing on closing the deal then and were totally caught off guard and released their best offer outside of the final stage of negotiation. Why else would they make that trip when they did and bring along so many local reporters? It was one of the more public parts of the negotiation so far, and when it was over Nolan Ryan was very disappointed. That to me sounds like the Rangers made their final offer to him thinking he’d accept because he loves Texas, but he didn’t accept it. WTF is so great about Texas? Its my least favorite state.

      • Eric Young says:

        Because it was the oil guys backing the Rangers and not Ryan, my assumption of that was it was an attempt to convey that the Rangers would be retaining their superstars and adding more during Lee’s tenure if he signs. Basically addressing the issue of competitiveness beyond 2011.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Unless is Philly is offering 23 per there is no way he will squeeze anything out of the Yankees.

  27. the longer these negotiations get drawn out, the more likely it seems that like lee wont sign with the yanks.

  28. Steve H says:

    If Lee was going to take less $$ in Philadelphia, wouldn’t he have made that known before they traded him?

    • Ed says:

      If I recall correctly, they never gave him the chance to

      • BklynJT says:

        He ain’t going to Philly for 40 mil less than the Yankees. This is just another attempt to milk more money out of the Yankees or Rangers.

        If I were the Rangers or Yankees, there is no way I increase my offer.
        Rangers reasoning for thinking Lee would sign with them over the Yankees (distance from AK, state tax, etc) would still apply to the Phillies.

        Yankees have the best offer on the table, so if Lee is going to sign anywhere else, its with the Rangers, and not with the Phillies who are paying less and have the same “issues” as the Yankees.

  29. Reggie C. says:

    What exactly are the Phillies offering Lee if that organization can’t go 7 years and $23 million per? Its about the years and money. It always is. Cashman tops all others on these two factors. Cashman can also promise Lee that his contract won’t hinder the organization from improving. The pieces are still in place to pull off a major trade, and that’s something the Phils don’t have.

    Lee has no choice but to sign with the Yankees.

  30. KofH says:

    Cut a million off every year…let Lee know we just committed the money somewhere else.

  31. Betty Lizard says:

    If Cliff Lee goes to the Rangers or the Phillies, I hope that sometime within the next year I shall be feasting on a great big helping of Schadenfreude with extra Schaden on the side.

    Really, I mean I try to be compassionate and I should take some happiness in Lee’s getting the best deal for himself with another team, but . . . I won’t.

  32. Sheepmeister says:

    I understand that its about the money 99% of the time. I also understand that Lee has only been in Philly, Seattle, and TX for half a season. But I think it is possible he may be willing to take less money to be in a city he knows he is happy in and still be set for life. Personally, I don’t think I could spend the difference between 5/100 and 7/160. 20M per year is enough so I think at that point, I would just go where I think I would be happiest for the next 5-7 yrs.

  33. yankees1717 says:

    i really really doubt this. didn’t lee get upset when the phillies traded him?

  34. Anthony Murillo says:

    #Yankees are especially worried about #Phillies’ pursuit of Lee. They’re worried, period: Lee still hasn’t said yes to most $ and years

  35. ArchStanton says:

    This guy ( was in such a hurry to post this he had errors all over it: Well placed source says Lee deciision is close and Philsi are finalist w Yanks and Rangers.

    I am really sick of this whole narrative. I’m not even sure if I want the Yanks to sign him, yet I am hanging on to every worthless twitter post!

  36. Mike R says:

    Can this guy fucking pick a team already? Honestly I’d love for him to be a Yankee, but the fact is if he doesn’t want to it’s his loss.. In years 6-7 of his contract when other teams have too much money tied up because of him and the Yankees are still spending and contenders each year I’ll laugh at him. I’d love for him to come to New York but he’s already made us wait long enough to miss out on other players (Werth, Crawford) not that we would of necessarily landed them.

  37. Anthony Murillo says:

    Highly unlikely #Yankees increase offer to Lee. Execs starting to think if Lee wanted to be in NY he would’ve accepted today.

  38. Xstar7 says:


  39. Anthony Murillo says:

    So let me get this straight:

    -Lee loved playing for Philly in a short amount of time
    -Lee was excited when Yanks nearly traded for him
    -Lee loved playing for Texas in a short amount of time

    Jesus this guy…

    • Xstar7 says:

      Someone should subtract Philly from the equation. They’re just being a nuisance.

    • CBean says:

      It might be good to keep in mind that a lot of this narrative is constructed by the media and those involved in the negotiations.

    • Granderslam says:

      This. I was thinking the same thing, except that it’s the media, not Lee putting this information out there.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Let’s see…

      After playing and being demoted in Cleveland he was happy to play for two solid teams (with another joke of a team in between) and was excited that the best team wanted him so badly they were gonna trade a #1 prospect for three months rental?

      If he doesn’t arrive until Christmas Eve we’ll all be alright…if he doesn’t arrive at all, well that will suck short-term, but maybe better overall.

  40. Anthony Murillo says:

    Lee doesn’t want to come here. I’m sorry but this entire thing is a big joke

    • Zack says:

      How long did CC sit on the Yanks offer? 2 weeks? 3 weeks?

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Who was a legit option for CC other than the Yankees? Who else gave him an offer that’s on par with AAV and years?

        Next offer was like the Brewers at like 5/100.

      • Pasqua says:

        CC’s deal was done at the Winter Meetings. The “courtship” began at 12:01 am on the first day that FA’s could solicit offers (which, I believe, began at a later date than it did this year b/c of timeline changes). So, this has gone on longer.

        • CS Yankee says:

          At the end of the day, what does it matter?

        • Zack says:

          Ok, so it’s an extra week or whatever and that proves Lee doesn’t want to come here? I’m more sick of the narratives people make up based on assumption than Leen ot signing.

          • Pasqua says:

            Ummm, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I was responding to the question, “How long did CC sit on the offer?” and clarifying the difference. Using CC’s deal is, in fact, not a good comparison, that’s all. I don’t think it has one bit of relatabilty to Lee’s situation, nor do I think the time he’s taking is indicative of anything.

  41. CS Yankee says:

    Let’s review the “facts”…
    1) His prior four teams along with the other 26 want him to pitch for them.
    2) He has spent little time with his most recent three teams.
    3) He has not been extended with any of the teams he has pitched for.

    1) It is hard to fall in love in three different half-seasons.
    2) When your not in love, you don’t do silly things (except when drinking).
    3) His agent, the player’s union, and his heirs would slap him silly for leaving 20+M$ on the table.
    4) He has been underpaid for his whole career, why continue that trend in life.
    5) Most athletes, businessmen, and educated men take the best offer.

    7/160 or 7/175 he will be a Yankee, anything less would be uncivilized.

  42. Gonzo says:

    Braunecker is finishing this off with a big flourish. This guy is good.

    I guess the Phillies fans did good things in Mrs. Lee’s heart.

  43. Poopy Pants says:

    I heard this two weeks ago.
    It would be totally gansta for the Phillies to get him.

  44. Slappy White says:

    What happened to the good ole days when the players union would pressure a player to take the most money ? You never hear that anymore

  45. Cecala says:

    Meh, Phillies will just go the way of the Nationals. This narrative is just getting the beat writers more page views.

  46. Matt says:

    Lee’s agent is like a evil genius, he is manipulating the situation very well, he knows Yanks are desperate, such an evil genius, very smart man right there. I still think Lee sign if he takes Rangers 6 year offer, he wont get 23 million on the open market, but if he takes Yankees he will make 20 million plus, so I think he is justing trying to get every last cent out of Yanks, Derek Braunecker is a EVIL GENIUS.

    Prediction: Yanks cave in up offer to 7 yrs for 168 { avg 24 million per}.

    EVIL GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Pasqua says:

    Maybe I’m being cynical, but is there a point where this stops being about “the offers” and starts being about the attention?

  48. Brandon says:

    Im just getting sick of this. First he would choose a team during the Winter Meetings. Then by the end of the weekend. Now its sometime early this week meaning today(now tonight) or tomorrow. Now instead of just the Yankees and Rangers in the bidding, its the Yankees, Phillies and Rangers. This is just getting annoying. The offers on the table from the Yankees are more than enough. If he doesnt take the 7/161 from the Yankees, which is his best offer in all likelihood, thats just ridiculously stupid on his part.

  49. Gonzo says:

    Is anyone else getting the reverse psychology action now?

    I am beginning to feel like I want Lee to sign with the Phillies. I wanted Lee so badly all season/offseason. Now I want to wish him well but see him in a different jersey? I think I’ve lost it.

  50. OXXBOW says:

    If Lee goes to the Phillies he will leave up to 60 million on the table. No sane person does that. I think the Yankees will go to 7 / 175.

  51. JobaWockeeZ says:

    The negotiations are close meaning he’ll sign in a month.

  52. Pasqua says:

    Should this “deal” go sour, I’d just like to say, before the lunatics here, there, and everywhere take over: Losing Cliff Lee will NOT, in any way, be Brian Cashman’s fault.

  53. CS Yankee says:

    Maybe the Yankees leaked the offer of 7/161M$ to pressure him in taking it because they felt they were behind in the choice. Thinking he would look like a fool if he passed it up.

    or god forbid,

    That isn’t the Yankees offer, their real offer is 7/175M$ and that gives them cushion when those Ranger’s try and go in under to get a slight discount (6/140) or the better (not true) offer (6/155).

  54. China Joe says:

    I remember Lee saying that he enjoyed watching the Phillies get knocked out of the playoffs, saying something like “That’s the team that dealt me.”
    Apparently now that they’re willing to open the checkbook he’s willing to let that slide.

    Seriously, what indication has this guy ever given that he’s about anything more than the money? Highest bidder wins, methinks.

  55. Carcillo says:

    Lee moved closer to a decision tonight, according to’s Jerry Crasnick. The Phillies entered the bidding for Lee after the winter meetings and have presented the lefty with “a spirited late bid,” Crasnick writes.

    Fucking lunacy, I tell you…

  56. FIPster Doofus says:

    “jimbaumbach: A friend of Cliff Lee said Lee once told him that he really wanted to team up with Halladay in Philly.”

    OK, media, fuck you. I’m outta here.

  57. Sheepmeister says:

    Part of me thinks that this waiting is to just get the last dollar, most likely from the phillies and not the yankees. The yankees know they have the highest offer so there is no reason to budge so lee just wants to get more out of the phillies who might yet increase their offer to seal up what will be the NL for the next two years.

  58. I predict a decision by 11:00 AM on Tuesday (tomorrow), but I’m 0-2 at this point on guessing when he will sign, so it could be next month with the way things are going.

    • mbonzo says:

      You might be right but information is coming out pretty quick tonight. I am starting to get the feeling theres gonna be an answer SOON. Incarcerated Bob should make a prediction now, he’s got a 1/3rd chance.

    • China Joe says:

      I predict Lee will sign tomorrow…with the Knicks!

  59. Pasqua says:

    I betcha Lee couldn’t decide which girl to ask to the Senior Prom, either. Christ, man, make a decision.

  60. CS Yankee says:

    How much $ did Hallady piss away with signing that extension in Philly?

  61. wow says:

    JackCurry: “Wonder what has taken Cliff Lee so long? There is a belief he is heading to the Phillies”\

    wow Jack, L O L

  62. mbonzo says:

    Lee wants to play with Halladay?
    Ok Yankees trade Montero and Hughes for Halladay, sign Lee, then go after Greinke to replace Hughes. Case closed.

  63. There is a belief Lee is heading to the Phillies, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (on Twitter).


    • mbonzo says:

      He also said that all this time is making him think he’ll sign with Texas. I think he’s just a pessimist. (assuming he’s a Yankees fan)

  64. Pasqua says:

    A “spirited” offer that even comes “with fervor”?! How could Lee pass on the Phillies’ offer NOW?

    So, apparently, using a thesaurus, finding a nifty new adjective and noun by which to characterize an offer that nobody knows any details about, equals legitimate reporting?

  65. Avi says:

    7 Years is too long. He almost definitely won’t be a $25M pitcher in at least the last 2 years of the contract. You have to believe that if the Yanks weren’t so desperate for a pitcher they would be offering 7 years. If they had traded for Halladay or Oswalt they’d be in much better shape. They wouldn’t be in a position were they have to give a contract they know will be a major liability at some point. The fact they didn’t make a move on Halladay or Oswalt and instead were busy getting Vazquez bothers me.
    I want Lee to come but I feel the Yanks didn’t play their cards well here.

    • nsalem says:

      Oswalt has a full no trade and has publicly stated his distaste for pitching in New York. Ricciardi was quoted as saying that the Yankees (or Red Sox for that matter) would have to come up with a significantly better package than the Phillies in order for Roy to be traded in the division. I don’t see your rationale in stating that the Yankees did not play there cards well when in reality they had no cards to play. What do you propose that they should have done to obtain either of these pitchers?

  66. Why would Lee go back to the team that spurned him in the first place? They thought he was too expensive to extend (then they sign Halladay and Blanton to fat deals) and shipped him off to the second shittiest team in baseball. If he’s leaving a significant number of years and dollars to go to Philly, the MLBPA should go apeshit.

  67. TJ says:

    Lee will be a Yankee. They offered the most years most money. If Lee would have wanted to stay with the Rangers it would be over by now. The Phillies won’t be able to come close enough.

    This time tomorrow Lee will be a Yankee. I’m actually starting to warm up to the idea, even though I still think he’ll be overpaid for too long, but that’s the Yanks MO for getting what they want. Then hopefully Martin signs and we get some help from the pen with a Pettitte Return


    Is a pretty good starting 5 with Mitre and Nova as extras and some AAA auditions here and there.

    I still say bring back Aceves as well.

  68. Teh Comp Pick says:

    Don’t balk at it Cash-$. Do not up the offer.

    I’m really starting to dislike the Cliff Lee fellow.

  69. Rey22 says:

    I mean, if it’s not gonna be us, it might as well be the Phillies, that way we don’t have to see him during the regular season.

  70. Granderslam says:

    What a way to ruin my night.

  71. Carcillo says:

    I’m baffled (yes, baffled) if Lee leaves as much money as suspected to go back to Philly.

    Something doesn’t make sense here, at all.

  72. I blame the Mariners for bitching out of the July deal.

  73. mbonzo says:


  74. DJH says:

    Midphase sucks and so does Cliff Lee.

  75. Hughesus Christo says:


    That is all.

  76. nathan says:

    Blessing in disguise. This is how you luck out sometimes. I am absolutely relieved. 7 years for a soon to be 33 year old would have been stupid.

    No, I dont have a plan B. But plan A was stupid.

  77. BINNER says:

    Phillies Agree To Sign Cliff Lee
    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [December 13 at 10:54pm CST]

    The wait is over. Cliff Lee has agreed to sign with the Phillies, according to’s T.R. Sullivan. The deal is worth about $100MM over five years, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).

    After months of rumors that suggested he’d sign with the highest bidder, Lee turned down tens of millions in guaranteed money to sign in Philadelphia.’s Buster Olney hears the Yankees offered a deal that guaranteed Lee $138MM over six years, plus a $16MM player option for a seventh year (Twitter link).

    Like Roy Halladay, who signed an extension that delayed his free agency, Lee opted to play for the Phillies instead of looking for the biggest contract possible. Almost exactly a year after they traded Lee for Halladay, he’s back in Philadelphia, where the two Cy Young Award winners, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels should give the Phillies a historically good rotation.

    The Rangers get the Phillies’ 33rd overall pick, plus a supplementary first round selection in next year’s draft, but they lose out on their primary offseason target. Though the Rangers have been linked to Zack Greinke and other possible trade targets, this is undeniably a blow for the team, which is in the midst of its first offseason under new ownership.

  78. chris says:

    why would you want to go back to a place that traded you away because they felt they could get a better pitcher than you????

  79. theyankeewarrior says:

    What the fuck

  80. DJH says:

    The shock heard round the world.

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