In a shocking development, the Philadelphia Phillies reached an agreement on a 5 year, 115 million dollar contract. Also, there will be a vesting option that is very easily to be achieved. Basically, It is a 6 year deal. Overall, Lee will be making more money per year than if he had made the deal with the Yankees or Rangers.
What is the Fallout of this deal?
The Yankees now do not have a top of the league rotation anymore. They will have to convince Andy Pettite to come back for another year. Although the Yankees have one of the most explosive lineups in baseball, they have not made any progress this off-season. In order to make up for the lost time, the Yankees will have to work quickly to make a deal for Zack Grenkie, or put significant work into their bullpen to make it unstoppable. Either way, they will need Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova to step up.
The Phillies have one of the best rotations in MLB history. Cliff Lee. Roy Halladay. Cole Hamels. Roy Oswalt. Its scary to think that they have four aces on their team now. It appears the money that was offered to Jayson Werth was then thrown at Lee to get this deal done. There is no team that has close to as much depth in their rotation as the Phillies. They are now the favorites to win the National League by a long shot. They will have to be active during the rest of the off-season as well. Their bullpen has struggled for the past couple of years, so they will need to address that issue. They will also need to trade Joe Blanton, because they simply do not have the money to pay him and four aces. I assume this will happen soon. As Buster Olney of ESPN has said, "The irony is that no team was more convinced that Lee would chase every last nickel than the Phillies -- who traded him because of this."
The Rangers should not have been offering the enormous contracts that they offered. Their final offer was 161 million for 7 years, making them the high bidder (if vesting the option taken into account). This team would have had no flexibility in the future. It would have taken away from the money that they will use to extend some of their young studs (Andrus, Feliz). They had been looking into Adrian Beltre for the past couple of days as a backup plan. He seems like a perfect fit for them. They have a huge need at 3B, and his power will translate to their ballpark. They will also explore a trade for Zack Grenkie. There is less worry for them than the Yankees over Grenkie cause of his history of anxiety related issues.He could thrive in Texas; however, the ballpark has historically been known to destroy pitchers.
The Angles ultimately lose will lose out on all of their main targets this off-season (Crawford, Beltre). As a result, they will shift their focus to close Rafael Soriano. He is the best closer on the market by far this year. They have a whole at closer and a lot of money to spend on players. It is a perfect match.
The biggest indirect winner from Cliff Lee's deal is the Boston Red Sox. They put themselves in a position where they can be called the favorites to win the American League. If the Yankees had gotten Lee, they would have been neck and neck with the Red Sox. Since they did not, it appears that the Red Sox superior offense will lead them to an American League Crown. The biggest indirect loser will be the World Champion San Francisco Giants. Their main strength has been their deep rotation. Now that strength is no longer as helpful as it seemed only a few hours ago.