At 3:00 pm today, Cliff Lee was reintroduced to the Philadelphia media as the newest member of the Phillies. Earlier, the left-hander signed a five-year, $120 million deal with a vesting option for the sixth year. Lee seemed happy and mentioned during the presser that “good things are going to happen.”
Lee was asked about his journey through free agency, mentioning a number of times that he wanted to return to the Phillies, but also said that “going into the offseason I wasn’t sure how serious the Phillies were going to be.”
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. added that “it wasn’t an easy decision to get here… we went a little bit out of our element.” He continued. “This was a special circumstance. This was too important to the organization, and too important for the present and the future of our franchise not to do it.”
The move was certainly out of character for an organization that doesn’t typically offer contracts beyond three or four years. Even Phils’ ace Roy Halladay received just a three-year contract with a fourth year vesting option included. But now with Halladay and Lee pitching on a staff with Roy Oswalt and homegrown Cole Hamels, the foursome has the potential to be a part of something special.
“Being part of this rotation is going to be historic I believe.” Lee said. The trio known an H2O was part of what made Lee want to come here. “Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels? That’s all I need to see right there.”
Now, “H2O” has becoming the wildly popular “R2C2″.
Lee’s deal isn’t the six or seven years that had dominated much of the talk surrounding him all offseason, but the pitcher seemed to be excited and relieved that he would remain in the same place for awhile, maybe the rest of his career.
“Hopefully this is… where I end my career. No more getting traded and traded again… and getting traded again.
Lee’s comment drew some chuckles from the assembled media, who asked a number of questions regarding Lee’s initial departure from Philadelphia. When asked if there was any resentment from being traded the first time, Lee responded.
“For me to be here kind of says enough. I never held any grudges.”
And we are so thankful that he didn’t.
Other notes from the press conference:
- Lee mentioned that his wife Kristen’s experience at Yankee Stadium was not a factor in his decision.
- When asked if Lee had spoken to Jayson Werth at all: “I don’t know if I can say how that went down,” drawing chuckles from the media. “We talked about how we could get on the same team. When he found out I was coming here, he wasn’t the happiest person in the world.”
- Ruben on having Lee versus having Werth: “If it comes down to a choice, frankly, I’m happy with the choice we made.”
- Ruben Amaro, Jr. on making anymore moves: “We are no longer flexible.”
- Amaro on the chances of reacquiring Chad Durbin. “I’ll never say it’s closed, but maybe open with a toothpick.” He added, “I’m very comfortable with our team going into Spring Training.”