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It’s about 24 hours after Cliff Lee surprised us by signing with the Phillies instead of staying in Texas or taking the Yankees’ money.

It’s still pretty tough to digest. True, the Mets were unlikely to compete in 2011 – Lee’s only real impact next year will be felt in the three or four games he pitches against New York. And Lee will turn 34 during the 2012 season – who knows how long he will be an ace-level pitcher.

Still, to see your hated division foe respond to the loss of their best right-handed bat by signing the best pitcher on the market while your team’s big acquisition to date is a backup catcher who will miss the first week of the season to finish serving a PED suspension… well, that’s frustrating.

I looked at some other blogs to see how everybody else was taking it. The reactions from Texas fans lean towards acceptance.

Katie at Baseball Addict writes:

I’m not mad at Cliff Lee. Why would I be? I mean sure, I wish Cliff was coming back to the Rangers. But just because he didn’t pick my team doesn’t mean that I hate him now.

Dan at Chicken Fried Baseball writes:

When you get your heart set on one thing, it can be difficult to accept anything else. Naturally, I’m disappointed. I am not pessimistic. The Rangers were good before Lee, and will continue to be good now that he has moved on.

Jamey Newberg writes:

Thanks, Cliff.
Thanks for the four greatest sports months of my life. Thanks for the greatness, the dominant precision, the artistry. The way you pitched, the way you competed. The occasional transcendence.

Yankee fans are turning their anger on their team’s front office.

Ray Rothfeldt of Zell’s Pinstripe Blog writes:

For those of you haven’t heard, Cliff Lee surprised just about everyone by deciding to sign with the Phillies. The move is an unqualified disaster for the Yankees and Brian Cashman, who had bet the farm (and the team’s immediate future) on signing the ace lefty.

Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers writes:

if I could figure out in October that the Yankees’ chances of signing Lee were slim, then why couldn’t the brainiacs in their front office?  Contrary to them claiming now they weren’t surprised by this, the fact remains that they put all their eggs in the Cliff Lee basket, now the eggs look like a steamroller ran the basket over, and they’re acting like it just gives them more material for omelets? Leggo my eggo!

  You’d almost think that Cashman was Omar Minaya or something. (Though I suppose the comparison isn’t all that silly… Cashman did hand out a lot of big contracts that didn’t work out – it’s just that the Yankees wouldn’t allow someone like Kei Igawa to tie their hands the way the Mets have with Oliver Perez.)

Red Sox Nation may be the only place – other than Philadelphia, of course – where Lee’s decision was cause for celebration.

Section 36 writes:

The Yankees had not gotten Cliff Lee. The one free agent that the Yankees absolutely needed to sign went to the Phillies. Cliff Lee was in the NL…. Is this the best off-season ever?

Reaction from the National League East is mixed. Mac Thomason of Braves Journal doesn’t seem to be very impressed.

Might as well cancel the 2011 season…. Obviously, the Phillies’ rotation is the most sublime thing ever created and it would sully it to make it actually have to perform in front of people like circus animals or something. Just imagine it, it’s better that way.

Michael Jong at Marlin Maniac doesn’t think the Lee signing really changes the division’s landscape very much.

The Phillies are still on top, with the Marlins on the fringes of contention with teams like the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, and Colorado Rockies likely a bit ahead of them. If anything, it will be an interesting 2011 season for the team as it transitions into a new era. But don’t think that the Phillies’ newest acquisition is going to bury us any further than where we were last year. Our team still has to be focused on our issues.

At the Nats Blog, William Yoder writes that the Lee signing is bad news for Washington.

I can’t imagine how this could have gone worse for the Nationals form a competitive stand point. The club wants to put their losing ways behind them and become relevant on the field, as evidenced by their ultra-aggressiveness this offseason. However a .500 season, or even, dare I say it, a wild-card birth is made increasingly harder now that the Phillies have gone from one of the most dangerous teams in baseball to a juggernaut…. 

If we were Pedro Martinez, the Phillies just made us their daddies.

In the end, no one can predict what effect Cliff Lee will have on the National League or American League East races. That’s why we watch them play the games. It’s easier to keep that in perspective after reading all of these reactions.

What do you think?

Cliff Lee photo by Art Siegel

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About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper and current contributor to Hot Stove Baseball. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

2 responses

  1. marcys says:

    I have to tell my Mets-crazy son about your blog. (I myself am a Yankee girl, I know, I know, you despise them). Anyhow–Cashman’s acting like it’s no big deal they lost Lee, but that’s BS. He’s saying the pitching rotation is just fine as is. News to me! I’m worried about what’s going to happen to the Yanks w/o King George.

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    • Paul says:

      I despise the Phillies (and to some extent the Braves & Marlins.) My feelings toward the Yankees are much more complicated. :)

      I am amused (and very puzzled) by the spin from the Bronx. A pitching rotation with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and somebody may be good enough to get to the playoffs with the Yankees’ lineup.

      It is not good enough to win in the playoffs when Boston can send out Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz, or when Philadelphia sends out Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

      I wonder what the spin will be if Andy Pettitte really does decide to retire this time.

      I do miss George Steinbrenner… the Yankees were more interesting when he was in charge.

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