Sorry we’re a little late on this, but it was a busy day. Here are some quotes from Cliff Lee during today’s presser at CBP.
Q. You’ve texted some of your teammates since you left here about wanting to come back. Is this where you were most comfortable and is this where your heart is?
CLIFF LEE: I think for me to be here kind of says enough. I mean, I never held any grudges for being traded. I understand it’s a business and things like that happen.
But from the moment I got here, from the first day, I knew it was something that was special, something that I enjoyed. You know, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get another opportunity to come back or not.
The way things played out, I got that opportunity and here I am. When you sit back and evaluate your options, you get a chance to pitch in this rotation, with Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, I mean, that’s all I needed to see right there. Give me a real option to do that, that’s it. That was the main thing, getting a chance to be part of that rotation with this team and what they’ve kind of established in the NL East, being the leader there. With this team, it was kind of a no‑brainer for me.
Q. Cliff, the Yankees obviously offered you a nice deal, the Rangers. At any time in this process did you tell Darek, Try to get something done with the Phillies, make this happen, this is where I want to go?
CLIFF LEE: Obviously since I’m here, there was some point in the process where I decided to tell the Phillies, Let’s make something happen.
But, you know, there were a lot of variables, a lot of things going on there. Obviously, I enjoyed my time in Texas. We had a really good team. We made it to the World Series. That says enough for that team.
It’s tough. Sometimes making these kind of decisions are tough. But when you get your family involved, let them tell you how they feel about it, you weigh the pros and cons of everything, kind of sit back and look at it from a distance, let some time expire, you weigh all your options.
For me it became an easy decision with this pitching staff and with this team and what they’ve done over the past few years. Getting a chance to play in the National League, I prefer the National League over the American League style. I like to hit. I enjoy hitting. I like to face the pitcher versus the designated hitter. There’s definitely an advantage to that.
It’s just a good team. It’s a good environment. They sell out every game here. It’s a good group of guys. It’s a close‑knit group. That’s what you want to be a part of. It’s going to be a special team. None of that is going to be given to us. We still have to go out there and earn it. I think with what we’ve got on paper and with the personalities that are around, the guys on this team, good things are going to happen.
Q. On the positive side, some folks have talked about the phrase ‘leaving money on the table.’ In a way, your contract ends here where you could sign another deal. Is that an accurate statement that you left money on the table because it’s a very good contract here as well?
CLIFF LEE: I guess I did. I mean, I could potentially earn ‑‑ this is a shorter term, so whatever. It’s plenty of money. When you hit a certain point, enough is enough. It’s a matter of where you’re comfortable, where you’re happy, where your family is most comfortable, what team gives you the best chance to win.
At this point it’s about trying to win championships. That’s really the number one thing for me. I think that team gives me the best chance to do that. That’s really it.
Q. Cliff, we’ve been hearing Rangers, Yankees for so long. At the end the Phillies come in and get this done. Was there a point in time where you were deciding between just those two teams or were the Phillies in it all along?
CLIFF LEE: Going into the off‑season, I wasn’t sure how serious the Phillies were going to be. I really didn’t know. So I guess there was a point in time where it was just, in my mind, the Rangers and the Yankees.
This kind of developed just in the past four, five, six days I think. I mean, there were some preliminary talks and stuff, but nothing really serious up until just the end of last week. It kind of came together pretty quick.
In the back of my mind, I was always hoping that was a possibility. I didn’t know how serious and how much of a possibility it was.
Q. Cliff, you have been in a few cities in a short amount of time. What is it about the city here, Philadelphia, maybe not so much the team, but the city itself, that brought you back?
CLIFF LEE: I think the ‑ how do you put it ‑ intensity that you can feel when you get in the game. You can feel the volume. Every game has got an elevated feel to it compared to everywhere else. It’s completely different. I don’t know what the fans do to create that much more volume and excitement in the stadium, but it’s definitely something extra here. I don’t know what it is, but it’s something they’re doing.
They get excited. They’re passionate fans. They understand what’s going on. They don’t need a teleprompter to tell them to get up and cheer, to do that. No, it’s exciting. It’s an historic town. I didn’t realize until I got here how interesting the city is. My family really liked it. I mean, that played a big part in it.
Yeah, you know, the feeling of playing on the field feels different than anywhere else. I don’t know how to explain it other than you can feel the volume that’s created by the fans and their intensity.