Okay guys, remember when you were on vacation or maybe just a party weekend out of town? You were relaxed, perhaps partied a bit too much. You met some chick, who you thought was hot, at the time. She came back to your place and you both had a wild night. It was great. You're both loose. You're on vacation, a break from your normal boring daily routine. She hangs with you for the remainder of your time there. It's a great hookup, but let's face it, when you go back home, she'll be a foggy memory. It was a vacation, not your real life. You're normally not that wild at home, at least not on typical weeknights.
Now you're back home, back to the daily grind. You resume your normal routine, you're a responsible, mature adult. Yeah, you still party but not to that extent, into the wee hours of every night. You have a career. You're a professional. Before your tan starts to fade, the phone rings. It's her. That crazy broad has tracked you down via google, facebook, whatever. What does she want? Doesn't she get it. Yeah, you had fun but it's back to real life now. If you wanted to start a "real" relationship with her, you would have exchanged information. You figured it was understood. It was just a vacation fling. The expiration date has past. You wonder how nuts she is for going to all of that trouble to track you down.
So why am I posting this soap opera on a Phillies themed site? Because the studly guy in this tale is Cliff Lee and the crazy broad is you, the Phillies fans. Get over him! He played here for a little over two months. I just don't understand how the fan base has such undying loyalty to a player who was here for such a short time. Sure he was great in his brief stint here. Yeah, Ruben screwed him over in a moment of temporary insanity, but Lee has moved on so why can't you? In fact, he's moved on twice, first to Seattle and then to Texas. Do you think that the Mariner's fans are still going crazy because he's gone or that they are anticipating his triumphant return via free agency during this hot stove period. NO!
Cliff Lee stated that he wanted CC money, once it was his turn for free agency. Lee and Sabathia came up together through the Cleveland Indians organization where they pitched until CC was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 7, 2008. After the 2008 season, CC became a free agent and signed with the New York Yankees for 7 years at $161million, the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.
In July 2009, Ruben wanted Roy Halladay but was having difficulty trading for him with the Toronto Blue Jays. He settled for Cliff Lee who won the 2008 Cy Young Award. Lee was to become a free agent after the 2010 season and Cleveland knew that they wouldn't be able to afford him. Cliff Lee pitched brilliantly for the Phillies during the remainder of the season and during his first postseason. The Phillies only won 2 games in the 2009 World Series, both of which Lee started. The fans were in love, sporting 34 Lee jerseys all over CBP. Most fans didn't mind missing out on Halladay since Lee was so dominant on the mound. Not Ruben. He still had a hard-on for Halladay.
After the 2009 Winter Meetings, Ruben got his man. Toronto now had a new GM and a trade was made along with an extension, to keep Roy Halladay in Philly until at least 2013. Wow, what a staff! Huh? Oh, no! Lee gone? Ruben lost his mind. I mean really!!! The Phillies could have had a starting rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Happ and Moyer for the 2010 season. Sure, Lee still would have been a free agent at the end of the season, but who knows. Perhaps he would have loved the city and his teammates so much that he would have forgotten about his goal of CC money. Maybe after winning a World Series, he would be so overwhelmed by the passion of the fans at the parade that he would be willing to give a home town discount. Ah, but we will never know because Ruben prematurely eradicated that opportunity.
As I stated earlier, Ruben had a moment of temporary insanity. I don't know how else to explain it. It made absolutely no sense to trade Cliff Lee. Ruben is smooth, very smooth, but no one was buying the restocking the farm excuse. Baseball analysts from every medium questioned this Stanford grad's reasoning. How could you throw away an entire season of Cliff Lee after the effectiveness that he had in the short time that we had him. For what? Prospects? Yeah, like we'll ever see any of these guys. I mean really, it's not like any of them are Ryne Sanberg!
The fans are pissed. Ruben loses some credibility and it's not even Christmas. Snowstorms come, the fans are still complaining. February arrives and I don't think many fans sent Ruben a Valentine. March came in like a lion, with fans still roaring about Lee's sudden departure. The season began and the fans were still bitching: at the ballpark, at the corner bar, at work, down the shore, on talk radio, on the Internet (People, his name is Ruben and although I find him quite yummy looking, he is not a deli sandwich), Fourth of July Barbecues. Wait. What? Seattle traded Lee to the Texas Rangers? OMG! One of MLB's most premiere pitchers has been with four different teams in a one year period, passed around like some down on her luck party girl. Who'd a thunk it?
By July, Seattle was out of contention and intelligently traded Lee to Texas because they knew that they would lose him to free agency after the season. For the second year in a row, Lee lands on a contender at the end of the season. Phillies fans are now rooting for the Rangers. While Roy Halladay is having a terrific year, including a perfect game, fans are thrilled with his professionalism, yet they are still grumbling about Lee and what could have been. Fans who were smitten with Lee's arrival in 2009 are now modifying their jerseys to HAL LEE DAY.
*A little shopping tip: Don't spend major bucks for an authentic MLB jersey unless the player is signed to a long term contract i.e. Ryan Howard, or is in the Hall of Fame i.e. Mike Schmidt. You can also have your own name customized.
During June and July, the Phils were out of first place. The fans were still all over Ruben about Cliff Lee, however the problem was not the pitching but lack of offense and a revolving door to the disabled list. Ruben will never admit that he was wrong, yet he did pull off a major coo by obtaining Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for JA Happ, Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. While it was a good deal, it wouldn't have been necessary had Ruben kept Cliff Lee. It seems that just as things settle down a bit, a trade like this sends all the antiAmaroists into a 'if we only still had Cliff Lee' frenzy.
It looks to be a good deal plus we got some cash. Upon his arrival, Oswalt was undefeated at CBP, and as we've come to find out, he plays a mean left field. My only issue with this is it came at the loss of JA Happ. I love this kid. Yeah, he may walk the bases loaded but he usually gets out of it unscathed. Plus he has dreamy blue eyes and gorgeous eyelashes that a drag queen would covet. There is just something special about him. He's mature, shows no fear and possesses a quiet intensity in those sparkly baby blues. I intend on following his career because there is a nameless quality about him that can't be taught, you have to be born with it. As long as he can remain focused and not get caught up in any of Brett Myers' off-field antics, I think Happ will have a bright future.
The season ends as the Phillies win their fourth consecutive National League East Division title with the best record in the Major Leagues. This is this first time they have accomplished such a feat in their 127 year history. The Texas Rangers win the American League West. Fans are rooting for the Rangers because of Cliff Lee or the Yankees for a rematch. In the end it didn't really matter since the Phillies didn't get passed the Giants after sweeping the Cincinnati Reds.
The Winter Meetings are over and it looks like Cliff Lee will get his CC money. He is handcuffing teams until he signs with someone. He wants a 7 year deal and two teams reportedly have agreed to that. The Yankees supposedly will go no higher than 6 years. Word is that one of 7 year teams is Boston but with a low dollar amount as to drive up the Yankees bid. The other 7 year team could be Washington or Texas. Washington surprised everyone with their acquisition of Jayson Werth on Sunday and Texas is waiting to see if they could land 'Lee or they will go with Zack Greinke. A deal is expected to be made by the weekend.
There has been no recent mention of the Phillies in the pursuit of Cliff Lee but with Ruben Amaro Jr, you just never know. He can be slick. I just don't see it happening mainly because of what it would do our payroll. It would also be a full admission of Ruben being wrong by sending Lee to Seattle in the first place. So come February will Cliff Lee be in Florida or Arizona? Will a 7 year contract finally help Phillies fans get over Cliff Lee? Cmon folks, this obsession can't be healthy. It's like that party girl who went out of her way to track you down, only to find you with your wife.
****If anyone had found Evan Longoria's cap, please return it. Leave your information in the comment section below to claim reward.