The Philadelphia Phillies news in the last few months had been disappointing. All of the Philadelphia Phillies news revolved around their NLCS defeat, and their loss of Jayson Werth to the Nationals. Despite having three aces on their staff, a sudden lack of offense doomed them in October, and now had even greater holes for next season. With the Giants having dethroned them, and with the Braves on the rise, it seemed the gaps in the National League had been closed. Yet, hours ago, the news turned for the Phillies, who are now being touted as champions again.
The team didn’t fix the hole in their lineup left by Werth, and has no answers yet as to whether Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley will return to form. But with Cliff Lee now coming back, the offensive holes appear to be a bit less important than they were 24 hours ago.
The news regarding offseason deals appeared to be at a standstill, since it didn’t appear they could get a big name. They couldn’t keep Werth, or offer him the $120+ million that Washington could, so how could they get another major free agent?
There were brief rumors that they were pursing Royals’ Cy Young winner Zach Greinke to get a fourth ace. However, that buzz soon died down, so it appeared that the 2008 World Series champions would be quiet this winter.
But early last night, it news broke that the Philadelphia Phillies were the “mystery team” in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. However, it still seemed like a pipe dream that they could get him, as it might have been a ploy to drive up the price from New York and Texas. After all, since Ruben Amaro Jr. controversially dealt Lee for Roy Halladay, it appeared unlikely that he could get him back.
Yet at midnight, word came in that they not only got Lee, but signed him for fewer years and less money than anyone expected. The rumored 5-year, $120 million contract, with incentives for a sixth, sent shockwaves throughout baseball – to say nothing of the City of Brotherly Love.
Just weeks ago, the Phillies were making depressing news, with their disappointing NLCS loss. It appeared their window for a second championship was closing, as their struggling big bats are getting older and the rest of the National League is catching up. But despite the remaining questions over the offense, and how Werth will be replaced, no one seems to care about all that now.
Phillies fans complained all year about how Amaro lost the chance to have Halladay and Lee, if only for a year. But now they will be together for several years instead, which is making even the cynics in Philadelphia dream of more rings again.
Washington Post- “Lee, Phillies pull off a stunner”