Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Phillies pull a coup on the Empire

The rumor was that Cliff Lee would sign for the highest bidder, and even a $1 difference would dictate the navigation of his plane. Now that sounds like a negotiation tailor made for a Steinbrenner. Over the past five years if there was big name free-agent in the marketplace the Yankees got him. And they did it by any means necessary and in a way that would do Don Corleone proud, which in most cases simply meant steamrolling the other clubs by throwing so much money at him that it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. From CC, to Damon, to Teixeira, to Pay-Rod the Yankees always get their man but for some reason even more money could bring Lee to the Bronx and has left the school yard bully with black eye, a tarnished ego, and worst all, need for a cornerstone starter in their rotation. Meanwhile the hated and inter-division rival Red Sox have been loading up with signees and now have a Boardwalk & Parkplace type lineup that might even be better than the Yankees to take advantage of any said pitching weaknesses. As for the Phillies who set the bird free and had it come back now have arguably the best top starting rotation since the Braves rotation of Maddox, Glavine, and Smoltz of the 90’s. How good? Well, they will be the only the 2nd club in the past 50 years to have 4 starters with 100 decisions and .620 winning percentage. Needless to say if the offense, which has never been the problem, can get them into a 7-game series you have to like their chances, as so does Vegas as with the acquisition Philadelphia’s odds to win the World Series immediately were cut in half and they are now the favorite. Of course the Giants who have to me the most disrespected World Champion of all time as at least the baseball public still thinks they were a one-hit wonder, is the only club to have beaten all of the four Philly starters last season. So perhaps crowning the ‘super team’ champion this early might be a bit premature. The sports public has already done that in the NBA but all of the sudden that’s not looking like such a bad bet either. Now the Yankees must scramble to salvage what has been one of their worst off signing seasons in recent memory as not only did they not get Lee, but now Crawford is not on the market, and they will need either get Pettitte to come back and be the 4th starter and his health is questionable, or get ready to deal for Kansas City Royals starter Zach Greinke. But stop right there, one could argue if they can manage to pick up Greinke, and not give away the store to do so, in the long run they will be better off as the law of diminishing returns could prove that at 32 Lee’s value dramatically diminishes over the course of a 5-year span, and at 27 Greinke is a better long term play. But now, they need to push all their chips in the center of the table and get him or else find themselves for the first time looking up at the Sox and playing catchup.Perhaps this shows the Empire that you just can’t step on people on your way to the top and continue to get away with it. Or spit on them for that matter.

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