The Cliff hanger is over, and he’s a Philly! Shocked? Surprised? But did Cliff Lee work the system brilliantly or not? I have some many thoughts on this – but good for Cliff Lee! He did something, by the way, in the history of free agents I’ve never seen duplicated…and I’ll get to that later. But didn’t Cliff Lee, the night before he agreed to terms with the Phillies, do EXACTLY what Lebron James did? “I’m going to take less money, to play with much better guys, with a franchise, with a history of attracting elite free agents?”
Now, Cliff Lee didn’t hold a press conference, but we destroyed Lebron James saying “he’s not a leader, he doesn’t want to be THE MAN” No, Lebron wants to be THE MAN, be just doesn’t want to be THE ONLY MAN. If you’re a top engineer, sales person, doctor, lawyer and athlete, it’s not an indictment but rather intelligence, if you want to surround by the best. Lebron smartly went to a franchise and a city, able to attract free agents annually. Cleveland can’t, Miami can.
Cliff Lee goes to the Phillies, a history of World Series titles, with top stars, financially elite. They can have four $50- 100million dollar pitchers on the same staff. The Rangers history? One great season, some limitations financially and has never been a free agent hot zone.
Just because an athlete wants to be surrounded by other great players, doesn’t mean he’s not a leader! Kobe Bryant threatens to leave the Lakers if they didn’t get him a running mate. Go ask Charles Barkley what it’s like to be the only great player on a team, go ask Dan Marino. Guys like Lebron and Cliff Lee want rings…they want rings! And you can’t get them on an island.
By the way, there was a great quote in the Philadelphia Inquirer. So after Philadelphia traded Lee last December, Cliff Lee spoke fondly of his ex-Philly teammates during a conference call with reporters “ they’re a lot of guys who step up, who like being under pressure, who like being in a big spot…and they step up, those guys are the real deal in Philly, it was a true team and I can’t say enough about those guys” Cliff Lee chose Philadelphia because in Philadelphia, unlike Texas, he’s not just The Man, he’s a Man among other great Men, elite playoff arms.
He also knows that in Texas, his salary limits the franchise financially down the road. You just shouldn’t be criticized for wanting to play with other elite people. That criticism of Lebron was moronic from the first time it was mentioned. You can rip Lebron for the decision, go look at the Cav’s roster right now, arguably the 2nd or 3rd worst team in the NBA. Go look at Miami, lost only once (last night) in 13 games.
Cliff Lee and Lebron, both, are going to win championships because they were smart and willing. I mean, aren’t you sort of insecure if you have to be the only guy? I would say it’s more than indictment if Lebron refused to leave Cleveland, stuck in a city that can’t attract free agents, because he’s so insecure, he has to be the only guy who can close.
There are so many layers to this story and I thought it was interesting, because I got an email from a family friend in New Jersey, die hard Yankee fan, he wrote saying “I can’t help but think Andrew, that the glob of saliva that Cliff Lee’s wife got spit on in New York created some anxiety” I honestly don’t think that played any part at all. Listen, if civil fans were a priority for Cliff Lee, you really think he goes to Philadelphia? Haha.
That’s like saying “I want to stop drinking and lose weight; I’m going to move to the French quarter in New Orleans.” Or “I’m going to give up gambling, I think I’m moving to Reno” that spitting incident gets lots of press, but Cliff Lee isn’t letting some Vinny decide his professional future.
I mean, there is a lot of reason why he went to Philadelphia and this is what is the most remarkable part to me, this is absolutely remarkable. I went and looked – I got a list of the last 20 major free agent signings in baseball: Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, C.C. Sabathia, Troy Tulowitzki, Johan Santana, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Jayson Werth, Ken Griffey Jr. You know what they all had in common? Enormous money and enormous pressure to deliver all-star stats! Cliff Lee of the last 20 players signed, gets all the money and VERY LITTLE OF THE PRESSURE. He is one of 4 guys on the Phillies staff, who is considered an ace and all 4 have been dominate at times in the post season.
If Cliff Lee stays in Texas for that money, he better win 19 games, if he goes to New York for that money, he better win 18 or 19. If he goes to Philadelphia and goes 13-9 and wins one huge postseason game…nobody complains. You’ve got Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. I’ve never seen this…ever! Cliff Lee brilliantly worked the system. He gets all the dough without all the pressure. Even Mauer in civil Minnesota, the guy has got to put up 30 home runs, hit .308 and throw runners out or he’ll hear it! In civil, well mannered Minnesota. Cliff Lee can win 13 games and one huge postseason game…and nobody will complain.
I thought it was great! Cliff Lee worked the system…good for Cliff Lee! I am for the employee not the employer in this case, athletes have a very short time to make it and Lee and his agent deserve a pat on the back. He literally did a Lebron, without a negative press conference!!