Cliff Lee To the Phillies Just Another Nail in the Mets' Coffin

James Stewart-MeudtCorrespondent IIDecember 14, 2010

Well it's official. New York Mets fans can stop trying to figure out how the Mets can contend in 2011. They can stop dissecting GM Sandy Alderson's every word to figure out whether he views next season as a rebuilding season.

Next season isn't a rebuilding season, it's a disaster before the first pitch is thrown.

Never mind the fact that the Mets have holes all over the place.

They wont have their ace, Johan Santana until the All-Star break at best. They don't know who is going to play second base or who is going to make up their bullpen after both Hisanori Takahashi and Pedro Feliciano bolted for free agency. They also don't know what kind of offense they can expect from Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes or Jason Bay.

But all of that seems like small potatoes knowing that the best rotation in baseball is in their own division.

Last night, free agent pitcher Cliff Lee spurned superior offers from both the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers in favor of a five-year, $120 million offer from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Before the season even ended, it was assumed that the Yankees would be able to sign Lee with their huge check book. It wasn't a matter of "what if," it was a matter of "when" and "how much."

Or maybe the Texas Rangers would be able to use their proximity to Lee's home in Arkansas and their lack of a state income tax to lure Lee back to Arlington.

In the end though, none of it mattered as Lee chose the familiar confines of Citizen's Bank Park and the already formidable Phillies starting rotation.

Why Lee would chose the hitter-friendly dimensions in Philly over more a favorable situation in New York or Arlington is beyond me, but that's neither here nor there.

The only thing missing from the Cliff Lee saga was a press conference on ESPN where all proceeds were donated to Arkansas Fish and Game. Even if Lee begins his press conference with the words, "I'm bringing my talents to Philadelphia," it couldn't get any worse.

So now the Mets' front office needs to wonder how to get fans into the seats knowing that the Phillies sport a starting rotation which now includes Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.