Why the Yankees are so lucky Cliff Lee stayed with the Phillies

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 11 Maret 2015 | 18.18

The current rotation concerns of the Yankees and Rangers could be worse — Cliff Lee could have accepted one of the two highest total bids in December 2010.

Lee turned down the Yankees' seven-year, $150 million offer and the six year, $138 million bid of the Rangers — the teams viewed as the strong front-runners — to sign a five-year, $120 million pact with the Phillies. Now, after missing the final two months last year, Lee has received two diagnosis the tear in the region needs surgery. That would end his 2015 season and, since this is the final year guaranteed on his contract, Lee has suggested he might retire if he needs the procedure.

The Rangers, already with a thin rotation, are likely to lose ace Yu Darvish for the season if he opts for Tommy John surgery. The Yankees' rotation is shaky in part due to the uncertainty of CC Sabathia. There is, in fact, strong parallels to Lee and Sabathia — both won Cy Youngs for the Indians (Sabathia in 2007, Lee in 2008) and both were extreme lefty workhorses with Sabathia leading the majors in innings from 2005-13 (1,999 ¹/₃ innings) and Lee fifth (1,833 ²/₃), which probably explains why they have broken down.

They also are pals. Sabathia tried hard to recruit Lee to the Yankees in the winter of 2010. Maybe the Yankees would have won championships with Sabathia and Lee together or Lee would not have broken down as a Yankee. But in 2015, it sure looks fortunate Sabathia's recruitment didn't succeed.


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