Cliff Lee: The New York Yankees Are "Getting Old"

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIMarch 12, 2011

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Pitcher Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws from the mound during a spring training workout February 19, 2011 the Carpenter Complex at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Asked for the millionth time about his decision to take less money and fewer years to pitch in Philadelphia instead of New York, Lee said that the age of the Yankees players was a factor.

"They're getting old," Lee said.

Getting old? Well, yes Cliff. That's what people tend to do. But if he's implying that the Phillies are a younger team, that's not exactly the case.

In terms of the everyday lineup, the Yankees are younger at five of eight positions. That includes Chase Utley at second base for the Phillies, who may or may not start the season on the DL. If he does, the likely candidate to replace him is Wilson Valdez, who is 32 years old, so the Yankees' advantage still holds true.

"Texas probably finished second, to be honest with you. Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they're a better team. That's just my opinion," Lee said Thursday, according to a transcript on

"The Yankees can do anything at any moment to improve and they're not afraid to go do things. That was part of my decision-making process, too, but I some of the Yankee guys are getting older."

Lee left at least one year and an estimated $30 million from the Yankees when he shocked the baseball world and signed with Philadelphia.

While Lee was right to say that the Yankees are better equipped to improve their team at any moment, thanks to their deep pockets, that also means that getting younger is an easier feat for them.

While winning a World Series with the Phillies may come sooner than if Lee had decided to pitch in the Bronx, multiple rings and a chance to reach the postseason on a regular basis certainly rests with the Yankees.

The Phillies are favored to not only win the National League East, but advance all the way to the World Series this season on the strength of their starting rotation, which, along with Lee, consists of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.

The Yankees' starting rotation is considered their weakest link, with several players competing for the No. 5 spot. Ivan Nova is expected to fill the No. 4 spot.

Perhaps Lee should have taken a look at the Yankees starting rotation as well when thinking about age, because again, the Yankees have a youth advantage.

Halladay, Lee and Oswalt are all 32 years or older. In terms of the starting rotation, the Yankees are younger at three of the first four starters, with Phil Hughes (24) and Ivan Nova (24), the youngest members.

CC Sabathia is three years younger than Halladay, while A.J. Burnett is just one year older than Oswalt.

Additionally, the Yankees have the "Killer B's," Manny Banuelos (19), Dellin Betances (22) and Andrew Brackman (25) inching closer and closer to the majors. Any of the three could be September call-ups this season or join the rotation next season.

The best hitting prospect in the majors, Jesus Montero, 21, is also likely to serve as backup catcher this season, behind Russell Martin.

Come on, Cliff. Better chance to win a World Series with Philadelphia? Perhaps. But a younger team? Certainly not.

Lee has also said that he prefers the atmosphere and clubhouse in Philly, and that may be the case. Though the Yankees may have some aging players, most notably the left side of the infield with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, they're also better equipped to sign free agents or trade for younger players.

In addition, New York certainly has a more youthful and talented minor league system.

Yes, the Yankees are getting older. But they'll get younger faster than the Phillies will. Maybe, they'll get a ring before Lee does too.