March 5, 2015

Bombshell: Phillies’ ‘Not Out’
on Cliff Lee

Note: New post up on the actual SIGNING OF CLIFF LEE!!

Jayson Stark hinted at it today.

The unthinkable.

Cliff Lee back in Philadelphia.

It’s a long shot, a very, very long shot – but according to Ken Rosenthal, it’s a possibility.

The Phillies are still bidding for free-agent left-hander Cliff Lee, according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

The extent of the Phillies’ involvement is not known, but as of 6:30 p.m. ET Monday, the source described them as “not out.”

Could the delay in Lee making a decision mean that he is waiting to see if the Phillies can shed payroll? Have the Phillies stayed in the dark because they don’t want other teams to know their motives for trading some players? CAN the Phillies shed some salary (Ibanez, Lidge, Blanton….Oswalt?….Howard?) and get a deal done? Would Lee actually accept a shorter deal to play in Philly like Halladay did?

I put the chances of this happening at 5%. It appears that the Yankees and Rangers have made their final offers and people were starting to wonder why Lee hadn’t signed anywhere. Perhaps this is why.

Perhaps not.

But 5% is better than 0%.

Commence refreshing Twitter for the next 24 hours.

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  1. Pete says:

    Per Heyman we are trying to move Blanton

  2. Chris McC says:

    If I’m RAJ and this is true I am not at all happy about it getting out.  If this story sticks around and Lee waits another couple days before signing with someone else (i.e NYY) we’re going to be listening to (and probably participating in) “Why did we let him get away.. again?!” for another 10 months.  If there’s no hope I’d prefer to remain hopeless.

  3. Chris McC says:

    Rosenthal: “Confirmed: Phillies involved in pursuit of Lee”

    Even money it’s Lee’s agent doing the talking.

  4. alex says:

    NO ONE JINX IT!!!!!!!

  5. Dannie says:


  6. Ruben says:

    haha….. Would love it but it ain’t happening.
    Would you guys sign Lee to a 3/4 year deal, or sign Hamels to an extension?
    Much as i love Lee, I would rather sign Hamels to an extension.

  7. Stu says:

    Pete, this news (I guess), but let’s get to the real question that’s on everybody’s mind.  ARE WE RE-SIGNING JAMIE MOYER??????

  8. Stu says:

    /Joke FAIL

  9. Chris McC says:

    2009, traded Marson, Carrasco and Co. to Cleveland for Lee.
    2010 Traded Lee to Seattle for Aumont and Gillies.  Traded Savery and Co. to Toronto for Halladay.
    2010 (midseason): traded Happ and prospects to Houston for Oswalt.
    2011, Possibly, maybe, (definitely not) going to resign Lee via Free Agency.
    If, by some sort of cosmic luck, this goes through (which it won’t)  what is RAJ’s reputation around the league as a GM?  Crazy?  Genius?  Something else all together?  It’s like he’s playing a video game in the front office.

    This is just silly.

  10. Pete says:

    Some more tweets of interest…

    Jon Heyman

    the  look like a very strong candidate to win lee’s services.

    Jerry Crasnick

    The question is, how close can the Phils get to the other two offers? Lee can only leave so many years and dollars on the table

    Jerry Crasnick

    In response to Phillies fans, this is not a leverage play on the part of the agent. Lee really loved Philly & is interested in returning

  11. Chris McC says:

    Crasnick just wrote about the Phillies interest in a story on the front page of, so apparently the “worldwide leader” has a source they feel is reliable enough to run.

    I wonder if Lee looks at this and thinks “after the $100 million mark, all this is just ego and posturing.  Do I really need $150 million?”  Easy for me to say, nobody wants to give me $150 million.

  12. Pete says:

    Jack Curry

    by mlbtraderumors

    Wonder what has taken Cliff Lee so long? There is a belief he is heading to the Phillies

  13. Pete says:

    Joel Sherman

    by mlbtraderumors

    At thsi moment,  have become extremely negative about landing Lee and believing that he is edging toward 

  14. Drolz says:

    It’s definitely a longshot. But it’s also December and I need my baseball fix. Any rumors are good, no matter how insane they may be. So hey, here’s a hypothetical question:

    If Cliff Lee returns, who’s the number four starter in the playoffs?

    And the hypothetical answer:

    Who cares?

    I’m sure that Halladay, Oswalt, and Lee want a ring so bad to the point that they wouldn’t give a rat’s ass who pitched when. They’d be united by one common goal and however they get there would be fine with them.  

    Hey, we can dream, can’t we?  

  15. Stu says:

    Chris McC, I believe you mean Kyle Drabek, not Savery.

  16. Pete says:

    If this happens – I don’t know what I would do with myself

  17. Pete says:

    Haha – #4 in the playoffs would probably depend on the opponent and the way they were pitching at the time.

    As for how we would start the season?

    Me, for all anyone cares

  18. Chris McC says:

    Stu, I do.  I was too lazy to look it up, thanks.

  19. Dannie says:

    Honestly I would have rather not at all read any of this and just exploded when Lee magically became a Phillie again.

    The rumors and stuff I can do with out because if we don’t get him it will be the equivalence of blue balls.

  20. Pete says:

    Jon Heyman

    lee may leave up to $70 mil on table to sign with philly. if he gets it done with them, he will truly be able to say it wasnt about the $

  21. Stu says:

    throw Cole Fisher in the fifth starter spot

  22. Pete says:

    being told cliff lee decision unlikely to come tonite but may be as early as tomorrow. 


    I guess I can go to sleep tonight

  23. Pete says:

    Nice one Stu.

  24. Chris McC says:

    Anyone have any thoughts about what kind of deal it would take to get him here.  Assuming we’re talking much, much less than the NYY and TEX offers I would think the bottom dollar minimum would have to be 4yrs/$20 million.  With that fourth year guaranteed, not an option.

  25. Drolz says:

    Dannie’s right. We’d have baseball blue balls if this doesn’t go through, and Jon Heyman needs to stop teasing us like that.

    Now I’m getting so delirious I can see a starting five of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, and Pete while Greg Luzinski hops over the fence from Bull’s BBQ to man rightfield. It would work.

    But seriously, the only way I can even remotely see this happening if Lee believes that his odds of winning a WFC are much better in a rotation with H2O than anywhere else. That’s just about the only advantage we have over the offers from Texas and New York. That, and he knows the rabid Philly fans would go absolutely bonkers for him if he came back. 

    Geez, look at me slobbering.  

  26. Pete says:

    Yanks: 7 years, $140

    Rangers: 6 years, $125 (guess)

    Us: I would think AT LEAST 5 years, $100 with vesting options for a 6th year

  27. Pete says:

    Heyman keeps saying stuff like we are going to get him… he better stop … is he a Mets fan by chance?


    Jon Heyman

    evereyone who said cliff lee wont leave a dime on table looks like they’ll be off by a few dimes: about 5-7 billion of them.

  28. Chris McC says:

    I kind of want to kick Jon Heyman in the balls.

  29. Pete says:

    All the buzz tonight has Lee leaning toward . But if you do the math, he’d likely have to take $30-40M less than  offer.

    –I’m going with “agent trying to get more money out of the yankees” until anything is official

  30. Dannie says:

    Could the Phillies be angle shooting here as well? knowing damn well they weren’t going to make a splash this offseason and having lost Werth they just want to “show” the fans they tried to do something.


  31. Ken Bland says:

    Contrary to some of the opinions expressed, it is hardly a longshot that Cliff comes home.

    I won’t put numbers, or percentages on the liklihood.  Suffice to say the chance is very real, not to be confused with done.

    Texas, I’m guessing, had a shot at closing him when visit number 3 took place for a sit down.  If Cliff were that fired up about staying, what else was there to talk about?

    Thursday turned to Friday.  Nothing.  Saturday, nothing.  By Sunday morning, I wondered about a mystery team.  And you better believe that the holdup is at the Phils end, somewhat reminiscent of 1978 when we struggled to budget for the soon tio be second greatest free agant in club history.  When Channel 17 came up with more money for television rights, Pete siged for around 800k-1 mil per year.  That’s what’s going on here.  You can read a ton into why Cliff hasn’t signed with either of the 2 frauds. It’s obvious he wants to play here, and you can’t tell me the largest ego in sports, RAJ isn’t killing himself to get this sucker done.  Now whether it does come to fruition, I’ll just say its very real, and hardly a longshot.  Cliff isn’t thinking about if he should pass on mucho millions.  In fact, unlike when Texcas tried to corner him on what it would take to sign him and was scoffed at, this thing now has most likely come down to the Phils knowing what they need to do, and a matter of time before they do it.

    Welcome home, Cliff.  Chances say so.

  32. The Real Rob says:

    Everyone don’t say anything until something happens.  Don’t jinx it.  Just keep your fingers crossed.

  33. jjg says:

    Based on above figures, in a precarious economy, Lee’s nuts if he doesn’t choose blue pinstripes.  $140 million will buy a better nestegg of gold and silver from which to more confidently sustain a life of Reilly in the Ozarks.  If he goes cheaper to the Phillies, he may eventually have to melt down 
    his trophy like the rest of us.

    Pete, Dubee cares.  You’re gonna have to compete for that 5th spot.  I’m dusting off my forkball, palmball and drop pitch.  See you in Clearwater.    

  34. Chris McC says:

    It must suck to be a Mets fan tonight.  Yanks and Phillies fighting over Cliff Lee, no matter what happens your team is still irrelevant.

  35. Ken Bland says:

    Would you guys sign Lee to a 3/4 year deal, or sign Hamels to an extension?
    Much as i love Lee, I would rather sign Hamels to an extension.>>

    I bet you feel great conviction with that statement, Ruben.  I don’t agree.  You are talking something very specvial in Cliff Lee.  And 3-4 years doesn’t carry the insanity of the 6 or 7 that’s bveen bandied about.  I don’t see Cole as any less injury risk, and I think he’ll have a phase down the road that’s Cliff Lee ish in result, but given a choice, I go Cliff.  I would however be horribly disappointed if this costs us Cole long term.

  36. SABR says:

    Please be true. Please be true. Please be true.

  37. Chris McC says:

    I wonder if letting him go and giving Halladay his number was all just a maniacally genius scheme set in motion so that when he came back a year later and had to wear 33 we’d all have to buy new shirts and jerseys, thus paying a large bulk of his enormous salary.

  38. Ken Bland says:

    I knew yoyu’d be here tonight, SABR.  I remember how pissed you were so long after Cliff was traded.  I canc only imagine how excited you are, because believe me when I tell you, you can’t imagine how excited I am.

  39. Pete says:

    so when is the appropriate time to go to sleep tonight?


  40. Chris McC says:

    KB, with Ibanez and Oswalt coming off the books, I don’t doubt RAJ would find a way to extend Hamels.  Interesting question: who gets extended first, Hamels or Rollins?
    I’d say Hamels, but Rollins is a franchise hero at this point.

  41. Pete says:

    The thing with Lee, which is what might make this possible, it the team salary would only be “over budget” for one year. Lots of money coming off the books next year.

  42. Ken Bland says:

    Pete – it’s not gonna happen tonight.  publicly.  I dunno, maybe, but I doubt it.  Just a hunch.

    You’re a step ahead of me on Cole and JRoll, Chris.  But I would guess Cole.  Jimmy has to show some skill again to rekindle interest.  Rep isn’t enough.

  43. Chris McC says:

    Just checked Heyman’s twitter and came across this brilliantly hilarious nugget, “Karma is going to nut kick @SI_JonHeyman for his bullshit mysteryteam hashtag. Hate u…”

    Thanks to @Sports By Dallas

  44. Pete says:

    We (I) are getting a little ahead of ourselves.

    The fact that a deal is not done means two things.

    • there is a mutual interest between CL and the Phils
    • we don’t have the money yet

  45. Ken Bland says:

    We might be over budget next year, but tix would go up again in 12, and delayed revenue could offset as lagging.  It was a steep increae this year, but it should be the same next year.  But with thge national following we’d continue to build, revs should go up.  I’m sure the Phils have all trhat figured out.

  46. Ken Bland says:

    Side item.  Inthibnking about the reporting of this, it really amazes me on the skill and competition of the elite baseball journalists and their elite technology that provides speed.

    The reason I mention that in following all this is particularly after reading more and more Buster Olney this year, I’m inclined to believe his scoop in the spring about convos the Phils had about the RyHo-Pujols fascination.

  47. Pete says:


    Yeah, you would think it would be worth it. Would pretty guarantee the sell-out streak lasts for AT LEAST two more years. Including more playoff revenue.

  48. Pete says:


    Twitter is pretty crazy. All these guys post their scoops their first.

  49. Pete says:

    The way Stark was talking about the “mystery team” combined with his relationship with the team, you have to think he knew about this, and may have for a long time, but was never told “on the record”

  50. Pete says:

    I never make the connection between the Rangers and Cowboys. But man would this REALLY make that fan base hate us.

  51. Ken Bland says:

    Joel Sherman’s calling it a night.  I’m taking that as my cue.  I don’t know if that’s the right decision, but if and when this goes down, its all we’ll be talking about for heaven knows how long.

    Tonight feels identical to signing off after a big comeback win.  Another in the great series of days that we acknowledge as proud to be a Phillies fan.

  52. Pete says:

    Paul Hagen has a post up on essentially telling everyone to calm down. Probably correct.

    I gave it a 5% chance in the post. I’m upping it to 25% – but we aren’t close to 50% here.

  53. Pete says:

    Amen KB

  54. Ken Bland says:

    1 more quick thing….

    be funny if we traded Blanton to the Yanks to give them pitching so we could afford Cliff.

    Think about that.

  55. SABR says:

    This won’t be settled tonight, there won’t be a midnight signing, but what better way to wake up if it does?

  56. jurnee16 says:

    Heyman just tweeted that the Yankees were told they are out of Lee sweepstakes…wonder if we can beat out the Rangers whose offer probably wasn’t as high….

  57. jurnee16 says:

    Could it be done?  As a Gator fan I am now waiting till confirmation from the team to believe anything after the Bob Stoops rumors this weekend….

  58. SABR says:

    I just heard the same thing as the trsullivan blog. Holy shit.

  59. Chuck says:



    Here you go, Phillies fans. RT @Sullivan_Ranger: Lee going to the Phillies. Rangers have been told

  60. Nick says:

    My goosebumps are getting goosebumps.

  61. Chris McC says:

    Heyman’s calling it, Rosenthal is not.

  62. jjg says:

    The Angels may be helicoptering in.  Or any Daddy Warbucks team.  Who knows?  The Shadow knows.

  63. SABR says:

    Sportscenter just opened and only said Yankees are out of it. Did not mention Rangers or Phillies

  64. bball says:

    why won’t breaking news come up on sportscenter to make this feel more official?????

  65. Pete says:


  66. Chris McC says:

    Still nothing new on FoxSports or ESPN…

  67. SABR says: now says Yanks and Rangers are OUT!!!!!!

  68. Pete says:

    Joel Sherman

    by mlbtraderumors

    Hear Lee’s deal is in the 5 yr, $100M range with 

  69. Pete says:

    Jon Heyman

    get lee

  70. Pete says:

    Todd Zolecki

    Here you go, Phillies fans. RT @Lee going to the Phillies. Rangers have been told

  71. Chris McC says: story calling it for Phillies.  Yanks and Rangers have been told they are out.

  72. Chris McC says:

    still waiting for Rosenthal…

  73. bball says:

    Amaro is addicted to getting Aces!!!!

  74. SABR says:

    Lee 5/100. Werth 7/126. I wanted Werth, but LOL #Natinals.

  75. bball says:

    Just popped in on sportscenter “Coming up Cliff Lee signs with Phillies”

  76. Chris McC says:

    For God’s sake, get off the Favre presser and show me news about a player that actually matters in his sport.

  77. SABR says:

    I hereby abstain from hating on Ruben Amaro for the next 2 years. If I do, please slap me. Ruben, I was wrong. You are a genius. I love you.

  78. Chris McC says:

    its on

  79. Chris McC says:

    Holy.  Fuck.
    I’m shaking…

  80. Ken Bland says:

    The greatest day in Phillies history.

  81. SABR says:

    Pop the champagne. I need a drink.

  82. SABR says:

    Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club was informed of the decision Monday night.
    “Cliff called me,” Daniels said. “He was very classy. He was very appreciative of the time he was here and how he was treated. He and his family enjoyed his time here. He also enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and liked some of the things that opportunity had to offer.”

  83. Phil D says:

    it will be the greatest rotation in the history of baseball

  84. alex says:

    So much for that 5%chance 2 hours ago…
    After this, Cliff Lee is hands down the classiest dude in all of professional sports (assuming what he turned down is what everyone says it is). Guys like LeBron can say they are taking a pay cut to win rings but there is a difference from about $1 Million less a year and at least $40Million less over the course of the entire deal.  It’s not like hes gonna struggle, but still impressive.

  85. Chris McC says:

    It’s everywhere.  FOX, ESPN, Twitter, AP (getting the credit for breaking it).  Wow.

  86. bball says:

    Who would have thought that the Phils would be such a desirable destination just 5 years ago where they could offer 40M less than the Yanks and still get the guy!

  87. Ken Bland says:

    He also enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and liked some of the things that opportunity had to offer.”>>

    Yeah, like batting.  Like when he steps to the plate for the first time at the Bank.  A record setting ovation.  And then when he strikes out, gets his ass booed!!!!

    What a night!

  88. SABR says:

    LeBron did not even take a pay cut. No income taxes in Florida…

  89. Ken Bland says:

    Wow.  Who pitches Opening Day?  Geez.

    I guess the order is Doc, Cliff, Rou and Cole. LRLR.


  90. Ken Bland says:

    Roy O as a number 3 starter.

    That is totally sick.


    Our starters are gonna walk about 9 hitters all year.

  91. SABR says:

    This is absurd. If any one of those guys gets hurt, we still have the best 3 man rotation in MLB. Think about that. 4 aces.

  92. bball says:

    Another CY Young award next year for the Phils?  Figure that we have two out of the top 4 favorites (Wainwright Lincecum)

  93. Chris McC says:

    Sportcenter’s coverage of this Giants-Vikings game is unending.

  94. SABR says:

    Sportscenter is totally unprepared for this story, they probably don’t have any baseball experts ready. This story came out of the blue. 2 hours ago NO ONE thought this was happening.

  95. Chris McC says:

    Rumors are Halladay is altering his routine and preparing for possible work out of the bullpen as RAJ negotiates separate multi-year deals with Sandy Koufax and Mordecai Brown.

  96. Chris McC says:

    Now they’re teasing a Texans highlight.  I guess it possible no one knows anything other than, “Lee to Philly.”

  97. Sly says:

    You guys actually think this is good for baseball (the rich getting richer ALL the time) ??? What a joke! Sad day for Ranger fans who FINALLY had an ace SP to call their own… :/
    I at least gotta give it to MLB for its absolutely riveting 2010 offseason (more riveting than the actual postseason altogether, but that’s another story…)

  98. Chris McC. says:

    I can’t feel too bad for a team that won a pennant last year because they lost ONE player.  And I’ll almost never feel bad for the fans of another team.
    The rich have always gotten “richer,” that’s how it always is with everything, not just baseball.  And, richer they do not always get, look at the AJ Burnett situation for a recent example.
    In addition, as a Philly sports fan I had to live through plenty of seasons of ineptitude from all my teams, and I never blamed the Yankees for taking all the good players.  In ’93, the Phillies didn’t need a roster of Hall of Famers to win the NL Pennant.  They did it with one HOFer (Schilling) and bunch of half-witted street punks.  Same with the Giants this year, name for me please an established perennial All-Star outside of Tim Lincecum.
    Winning in MLB is a complex task.  Does the ability to lock up big time free agents help?  Sure, but the 2008 Phillies won the World Series with a mostly homegrown roster.  It’s all in the management and development.  The Rangers, with their new ownership, are in for a great run over the next few years.

  99. Stu says:

    <<You guys actually think this is good for baseball (the rich getting richer ALL the time) ??? What a joke! Sad day for Ranger fans who FINALLY had an ace SP to call their own… :/>>

    NOPE, a sad Rangers fan = a sad Cowboys fan.