By Joey Bats Fitzgerald
In terms of money maybe he didn’t because he got 5 years $120 million. Which is exactly what he wanted. Other teams like the Yankees and the Rangers were willing to offer the extra year with extra money, but essentially he made more money per year in the Phillies contract. So when he made it look like he took wanting to “win” over the money it’s completely untrue. He was going to win or get money either way.
Lee said the Phillies gave him the best shot to win, and that he missed Philadelphia. The Phillies gave you the best shot to be on an awesome pitching staff in a hitters park, but not the best shot to win. Over the course of a season great pitching is going to win a lot of games. The Phillies won 102 games this year, but were sent home after five playoff games. That’s how baseball is sometimes. I guess you can say I’m captain hindsight here, but it’s true Cliff Lee made the wrong decision. It’s actually similar to the LeBron James decision. They both would have been better off on the other team instead of joining a team to say we have the best whatever. In the Phillies case it was the best pitching staff.
If Lee went to Texas or New York right now he’s probably pitching game one or two of the American League Championship Series against the team he decided to not go to. The Rangers and Yankees have two of the best lineups in baseball. A pitching duo of Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson, or Lee and Sabathia would go along way in the MLB postseason with those lineups. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy because Halladay and Lee are the best one-two punch. They are, but the Yankees and Rangers offenses are just better. In batters WAR the Rangers and Yankees finished in the top 3 behind the Boston Red Sox. While the Phillies finished 13th in batters WAR. All three National League playoff teams had a higher batting WAR total than the Phillies. They also all scored more runs during the season than the Phillies.
That may seem shocking to people, but the Phillies haven’t been the dominant offense team that they were during their World Series run. Jimmy Rollins production has went down and hasn’t been getting on base as much as he used to. But the biggest reason to all of this is the play of Ryan Howard. His RBI and home run totals are down, and his batting average dropped 20 points from 2010 to 2011. His WAR totals have gone from mid level 3 and a high 4 to a mid level 1 WAR. John Mayberry had a higher WAR than Howard in 2011. Good thing for Philadelphia is Mayberry will replace Howard while he misses a few months from the ruptured Achilles injury that took place on the final out Friday Night.
The Phillies will be back next year, but so will the Yankees and Rangers. Cliff Lee called the Yankees old, but what are the Phillies? Halladay is in his final good years and Oswalt is really at the end. Rollins, Utley, Polanco, Howard, Ruiz, and Ibanez are either old or injury prone. The only hope for the future on this team are Victorino, Pence, and Hamels. By the time his contract is up I doubt he has a ring. While either the Rangers or Yankees will win at least one World Series title.