Am I sad to see Cliff Lee go? Of course. Despite a slight dip in his performance at the end of the regular season, he was standing tall once the playoffs began, and I found his attitude to be about pitch-perfect for this town. Not a diva, not a headcase, just a guy. So, of course, I would have wanted him to stay on the team, but, in the bigger picture, it didn’t make sense and Amaro made the right call.
The talk was that Lee had always wanted take his shot at free agency. I don’t know much about the guy’s background, but he just doesn’t seem like he got into this game, when he was a youngster, just for the money. When it became clear that he could pitch at a very high level and even win a Cy Young, I’m sure he realized that this was a moment where he could take care of his family for the rest of his life, no matter what . All he has to do is be smart and seize the moment.
And Lee has already won in the playoffs. He doesn’t have a World Series ring, but he’s clearly ready to sacrifice that in order to get financial security for himself and his family. Which means the Phillies HAVE to move Lee now. There is no chance that they can pay him after next year, and pay Hamels and pay Howard, and pay Werth, and pay Victorino and pay Utley, etc. You keep Lee, you commit to breaking up the team. I want to win next year, but I don’t want to break up the team.
Which brings us to Halladay. This guy wants to win so much I can taste it. And he’s already proven that he’s an ace – not a good pitcher, not a serviceable pitcher – an ACE. Hallady knows that he will never win as a Blue Jay, simply because of the Yankees and the Red Sox. For the duration of Halladay’s career, those other two teams will always be better and the Jays will never never never make the postseason.
So, Halladay will come here with such a fervent desire to win that he will take LESS money than he can get elsewhere. That’s pretty much an offer that Amaro can not refuse.
And for those who want to see Cole Hamels shipped out of town, I can only say this: I would not feel comfortable with the Phillies moving Hamels anywhere closer than Japan. Even in the American League, I have no doubt that trading Hamels would come back to haunt us somehow, and, if he were to end up in the National League, you could count on him skinning us alive a few times per year. I don’t know if he can get his shit together, but I know that he can’t have the opportunity to do it elsewhere because he’s too damn good.