Playing Devil's Advocate: The Cliff Lee Deal – Phillies Nation

Playing Devil's Advocate: The Cliff Lee Deal

I’d been sitting on this topic for quite a while, wondering internally since the deal was made if it was a great move made by the Phillies. I’m talking about the Cliff Lee signing, which we all know was a very good, very prudent move by the organization.

We’ve had it scanned into our brains that you can never have enough pitching, and if you look around the league you’ll understand why that is. However, not many teams have high priced pitching like the Phillies do.

When Lee inked his deal to return to Philadelphia, people were beyond excited. I don’t remember even one person questioning the deal at the time. He came back after leaving against his own will, which made it even more impressive, so not much negative light was shed on it.

With his minor (very minor) injury surfacing recently – which was probably nothing more than Lee sleeping wrong on his throwing arm – plus a mammoth contract to boot, Lee will be looked over with a fine toothed comb every time he sneezes too loudly. It’s the way it is. Did this topic seep back into my subconscious after hearing about the small setback? Probably a little, I’ll admit some guilt there.

Looking past the latest bit of injury news, is anyone the least bit worried about a five-year deal to a pitcher?

We’re all well aware that his contract makes him the highest paid pitcher per season in MLB. At 32, Lee’s deal, which has a sixth year option built in, can run until 2016. Undoubtedly, he earned this contract, which some pundits believed was a steal since he left millions on the table from the New York Yankees. At $24 million per season, however, there is cause for concern.

Taking a look at the highest paid pitchers in the game, only a few are still competing at the highest level after signing such a deal.

Former Giant and Dodger Jason Schmidt had the 11th highest annual contract given out to a pitcher, which was signed in 2007 by L.A. following three all-star games in four years with San Francisco. He failed to earn his $15.67 million per year from 07-09, by starting 10 games and winning just three of them. Injuries derailed his career at age 34.

Well-known names like John Lackey, Carlos Zambrano, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, A.J. Burnett, and Johan Santana all sit in the top 10 average annual salaries given to pitchers all-time.

Lackey makes an average of $16.5 million and will until 2014. He rewarded the Red Sox with a 4.40 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 2010, the first year of his deal in Boston.

Zambrano has two seasons remaining at $18.3 million in Chicago. Not only has he given the Cubs organization a headache, but he gave them only 20 starts a year ago, although he did show signs of a turnaround late last year after being given time off to cool his temper.

Barry Zito. Enough said.

Jake Peavy has dealt with myriad injuries recently, all while bringing home $17.3 million per year until 2012. He hasn’t pitched a full season since winning the Cy Young in 2007.

A.J. Burnett makes $16.5 million per season. Is there one person on this earth who believes he’s worth anywhere near that?

The final guy on the list, and perhaps the most deserving of such an enormous pact, is Johan Santana. He went to the Mets with a bit of wear and tear, but has still put together three excellent seasons while battling some minor ailments. At the tail end of 2010, Santana suffered a torn labrum, likely keeping him out until midseason. While the $22 million-plus he makes may have been a fine deal at the time, Santana could be on the downswing of his career following such a major injury.

These ugly figures serve only as a reminder that things can go wrong quickly. Cliff Lee is clearly a different pitcher than he was back in 2007 when he was sent packing to the minors. He reinvented himself and became a Cy Young pitcher.

And please, don’t take this as me knocking the contract the Phillies handed Lee. For the shape of the market, it was a fair deal. But, like with all monster contract’s, there will be 100 times the scrutiny.

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  1. Jorge Suarez

    February 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Clearly, after this season they should trade Cliff Lee to replenish the farm system.

    • Chuck

      February 22, 2011 at 11:15 am

      Some fan standing next to me at the workout in Clearwater on Saturday asked Ruben that as he was walking by…

      Fan (paraphrasing): ” Hey, Ruben have you traded Lee for prospects yet?”

      Ruben (exact quote): “Not yet.”

  2. bfo_33

    February 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I understand the buyer’s remorse to an extent, but a few qualifiers – when Zito and Schmidt got their contracts, the media reaction was universally unfavorable. With Lee, all seem to think the Phils got a bit of a steal (not all are wankers, haven’t heard one respected journalist state this was a shakey deal). There are a lot of Pavano/Kevin Brown/Zito outcomes out there, but there are also successes (CC, Schilling to the Red Sox, Clemens to the Yanks,…).

    What may be even bigger is the Phils are one of the big boys now (along with the Yanks and BoSox, sometimes the Tigers and Angels slip in) who can actually absorb a deal like this. The Phils don’t necessarily NEED Lee, but also don’t want to face him, especially in the playoffs. Not only did getting Lee make the Phils stronger, but it made the Yankees and Rangers weaker.

    Early on, I had my doubts, but even with his recent “setback”, think getting Lee was the right thing to do. Vegas also endorses the move (for this year at least).

    • Phillistein

      February 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

      I agree – it was worth it. Will it be worth it 4 years from now? Who knows. However, if we get another couple of trips to the World Series and perhaps a title out of it – who will care? We’ll worry about that bridge when we come to it.

      It will also be up to the phans in this city to support the team going forward. If we continue to sell out every game and continue to buy jersey’s and those little bats our kids hit each other over the head with – we’ll have the revenue needed to compete.

      Giving HUGE contracts to 31 year old pitchers is ALWAYS a risk. But the alternative is what? The old Ed Wade model of – we have the players necessary to compete NOW!!! Of course, old Ed would probably say that if he was allowed to spend the money that RAJ is he could put a winner on the field. But, sorry Ed, I wouldn’t trust you to spend the money wisely.

  3. Chuck

    February 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I love what Cliff Lee did for this team….and this fanbase….in 2009. But I supported the decision to trade him in light of the fact that we had the chance to get the BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL in Roy Halladay. Regardless of the results of the return (which aren’t totally conclusive yet).

    Did Ruben make a mistake and then realized it?? Maybe. Certainly going after and getting Oswalt made us all think that he was trying to right a wrong. And Oswalt delivered, making Ruben look like a genius and also helping to heal some of those wounds that a lot of fans had.

    Getting Lee back is great….don’t get me wrong. But I have thought the same thing….THIS much for a 32 year old pitcher?? He’s on the high side of being a VERY GOOD pitcher. But he’s not a GREAT pitcher….yet. Maybe he will be by the time it’s almost over. I hope so. Personally,though, I feel that it’s
    Halladay that should have that contract and not Lee. He’s the better pitcher.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. Chuck

    February 22, 2011 at 10:41 am

    And just the fact that this injury ….however minor it is/was….happened…only goes to show how important a guy like Joe Blanton is to this rotation right now. The chances of all four of these “aces” going the ENTIRE YEAR without getting hurt and missing some amount of time ….is slim.

  5. bfo_33

    February 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Chuck, that’s my line (I should have copyrighted it).

    • Chuck

      February 22, 2011 at 11:09 am


      • bfo_33

        February 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

        I’ve posted the same thing about Blanton a few times in previous chains, sure the thought isn’t unique, though.

  6. Paul Boye

    February 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I had originally agreed to do this post, but I’m glad Pat took it up instead after I dragged my feet on it for so long.

    Really, when you think about it, few upper-level free agent contracts really seem to be “worth it” for the duration. Maybe that’s my own subjectivity taking over, but signing guys to deals like these usually means they’re worth it for 2-3 years of the deal, then fade toward the end. And that’s fine! Free agency is inherently an overspender’s market.

    I think there’s little doubt Cliff will be worth $11M this year (assuming health), and will push his worth in the 2nd and 3rd years. Hey, you overpay for past-prime years. That’s fine. This team is built to win in ’11 and ’12, with well-we’ll-see mode kicking in after that. Paying Cliff as much as the Phils are to be here for that seems to make overpaying for mid-30s years worth it.

  7. Chuck

    February 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

    bfo…I guess that puts you and I in the minority then. I like Blanton. He’s a solid pitcher that can give you a lot of innings and really battle. If one of those other four goes down having a guy like Blanton could be a real blessing.

  8. Ted Bell

    February 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I have no problem with the Cliff Lee signing. Most long term deals will begin to look bad during the second half of their duration – especially when given to players north of 30.

    My only problem is with the sequence of events that took place when RAJ traded Lee after the 2009 season. I don’t buy into the premise that without trading Lee the Halliday deal would have been impossible. That’s just nonsense. So is the idea that replenishing the farm system (with prospects that were/are literally years away) was more important than keeping Lee at a very reasonable price. Sometimes it just seems like RAJ has no long term plan – and if he does, it changes with the wind.

    To me, if you trade one of the game’s top pitchers with a full year left on his deal you should end up with at least one guy that’s virtually major league ready. You shouldn’t end up with three guys considered “projects”.

    Compare what the Phillies got in return for Lee to what Colorado got for Matt Holliday (who also was entering the last year of his deal).

    I’m Ted Bell.

    • Chuck

      February 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      I really think Ruben WANTED to keep him, but was hampered by ownership. That has changed. Ownership seems more willing to spend. And I think it’s because the light bulb FINALLY went on in ownership’s head. I think that, until recently, the Phillies really didn’t think of themselves as a big market team. But they do now …and consequently, payroll is on the rise and so are ticket prices.

      I’m giving Ruben a pass for this one. Because of ownership. And also, because of what he’s been able to pull off the last two years. The initial Lee trade, the Halladay trade (and signing), the Oswalt trade and the recent Lee signing.

  9. Josh

    February 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    What was really surprising is how the Phillies went against their own internal policy of not signing pitchers to contracts longer than 3 years. A policy that they held true with Halladay. Regardless, if the success continues and excitement around the team keeps growing like it has over the past few years, any “bad money” left on Cliff’s deal will be well worth it.

    And since we are Playing Devil’s Advocate…

    I just have to say one thing though. Can we stop Canonizing Lee for “taking less money.” Its fun to think he signed with the Phillies because he loved it here the first time but lets be honest, money had a LOT to do with it. As Pat mentioned, he will be the highest paid pitcher per season in baseball. And from what I remember, the deal offered by the Yankees was less per year. Ok so he left 1 or 2 years on the table ( if the option is picked up it will only be 1). If you want to chalk it up as a victory over the Evil Empire then fine but lets stop acting like Lee took food out of his family’s mouth to come to Philly.

    Don’t get me wrong I think the guy is great but I just think that this angle has been a bid overplayed.

    • Josh

      February 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      If anyone should be praised its Halladay. He is the one who really took less.

  10. Jay aka Phillyboy

    February 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm


  11. poconosms1

    February 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I’ll be more pessimistic. The purpose of a team is to generate a profit. Having the best pitching rotation, (and the continued promotion by the sports outlets), will continue the sell-outs and increase merchandising sales. The bottom line is the return of immediate investment. If the income from the next two years produce significant profit and the revenue decline from the back end years decreasing performance yield a greater return than if the Phillies procured less talent now, then make the deal. You trade minor league talent to procure.

    Phillies are becoming like Yankees. You know you’re going to fill the stadium. You need to maintain some talent in the minor leagues as backup to injuries etc…, but I honestly feel with the continued sell-outs and the team spirit the owners have created, this team will be profitable for a long time, regardless of the names.

    Reminds me of the Marlins – they spent a ton of money and obtained a world series win, but those owners new that attendance wouldn’t remain at capacity. I think that’s because you have the winter leagues and spring training – almost a glut in the market where as people tire of baseball.

    anyway – my 2 cents.

    I think the whole pitching lineup is a brilliant money making strategy for the owners. Regardless I can’t wait till April.

  12. RatBastardNJ

    February 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I find it amazing how jaded and cynical we have become with the Phillies. Every move seems to be scrutinized so that the negatives always come out. We are so accustomed to losing and making horrid moves, just how can we ever succeed?

    I have been a phan since the mid 70s and have had some highs with the team, but mostly lows. So many winters would pass on by with no significant change happening for the team. Now the owners wallets are out, the phans keep coming and there truly is a unique spirit in the city with this great team. I think RAJ has been a good man for the job as he wants to help feed into the spirit. I have my worries too, but overall, I just can’t contain my excitement for what has been built with this team. Lets sit back and enjoy!

  13. Lefty

    February 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Pat, I’m surprised you don’t remember that I was the only one going back and forth with you, questioning the deal the night that it began to leak in the press. Everyone was excited and I kept saying it didn’t make sense. Deep down inside I was elated, but based on what we were told by Ruben the previous year about what the team could afford etc.etc. and having lost Jason Werth, I felt we had other needs to address with the “supposed” budget RAJ was working under. When it became apparent that no such budgetary restrictions existed, naturally I was excited to get my favorite Phillie back.

    As for now, i agree with most of the comments, the back end of deals given at this age usually won’t benefit teams. So let’s enjoy the good part for now. Even just one WFC during his contract is worth it to me.

    • PhP54

      February 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      Lefty – you posted as I was writing, but EVEN IF the back end of the deal is not worth it, we need it now. I agree, if we are WFCs any time under this reign, it was worth it. If we can do it against the Yankees or Blue Jays that will only add to it.

    • Pat Gallen

      February 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Lefty, I have a terrible memory, but I do believe you if you say it’s true. I guess it’s all in how you look at it, whether or not it makes complete sense. If you have money like that to play around with, it makes sense. If you win one title in the five years, it makes sense. If you make it to a couple of World Series’ it makes sense.

      But those are lofty expectations. And again, I’m with the majority in that it’s a good deal for the Phillies. Not just from an on-the-field standpoint, but business wise too. Sell more Lee shirts/jerseys. Get fans even more into it. Make people want to play in Philly.

      Those are all added bonuses.

      • Lefty

        February 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        Absolutely right about the business side, although I suspect we’d have sold out the season again no matter what. No sweat on the memory, I just remember everyone being shocked with my opinion that night. There is no doubt now that it was a brilliant move, and yes he will suffer a few stretches with injuries, his history shows us that. But if we’re smart, let him heal, and make sure that he’s pain free somewhere around mid to late September, Cliff Lee is presently the money/clutch playoff pitcher in the game.

  14. PhP54

    February 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Why are we even having this conversation? I compare it to Rauuuul. He was a bad sign, but we got through it and while we all agree that Raul was a bad sign, we love him as a person, because he’ll do anything he is asked of and won’t quit. Like Raul, Cliff will give us 100%, so this is a non-issue right now. Cliff is a good sign because he WANTS to be here.

    Next topic.

  15. Don M

    February 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    WTF is with this Raul Ibanez was a bad signing sh!t that we still read all the time???

    The available OFs were Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, Bobby Abreu, and Milton Bradley… Ibanez was the best choice among the available, and Ruben inked him to a 3 year deal …. at the length and dollars needed to not lose him to another interested team, of which there were a few

    in two years here he’s average 145 Games…. .273 batting average, 25 HRs, 88 RBI, 84 Runs

    his power numbers fell last year as he begain the year injured, but he had 18 more hits, and slight increases in Batting Average and On Base%

    If he doesn’t pass last years 16 total HRs… I’ll run naked in my own house! seriously..

  16. Ted Bell

    February 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    There were more than four outfielders available that offseason. Guys are available through trades also. Although RAJ has made free agency a big part of his player acquistion strategy, trades are many times a viable option. For instance, the Rockies traded Matt Holliday in November 2009. I would have loved to see RAJ make a run at someone like Holliday in that offseason.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  17. Chuck

    February 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Not only will Raul pass the 16 HR mark but I will go on record as saying he is a MAJOR contributor to the Phillies making the playoffs for a 5th consecutive season. People seriously need to just stop with the “bad signing” stuff.

    • PhP54

      February 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Chuck – Believe me, I am rooting for Raul. I want him to have a great year. All I was saying was 3-years for a 37 year old (or was he 36) at $10M was overpaying. I would have even been OK if the contract was front-loaded. Just my opinion – we disagree. BELIEVE ME, I want him to hit 50 HRs and drive in 200. In all honesty, if he does well, it won’t be a bad sign and I will recant. I still love the guy – I want to be clear.

    • Publius

      February 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      There is no way Raul hits more than 20 homers…and dingers aren’t everything. He could hit 25 dingers and still be a bad signing. His value last year was around $7mil per fangraphs, and there is no way he plays significantly better this year. He didn’t have a nagging injury or anything else. He’s simply old with one of the longest swings in the majors. Raul’s value over the course of the contract will probably be ~$26mil, meaning that Rube overpaid him by a pretty significant margin.

      • Chuck

        February 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

        Raul basically CARRIED this team for a portion of last summer when others were hurt. He is a MAJOR EFFING REASON why we got to the playoffs last season. And the year before it was the first half of the year where he carried this team.

        And he DID have an injury in mid 2009….that with surgery in the offseason lasted until about the middle of last year… weren’t you paying attention?

  18. Don M

    February 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I didn’t know if you wanted me to count So Taguchi, etc… ALL available OFs .. or just the ones that are better than average.

    The A’s got rocked when they traded for Holliday.. giving up Houston Street and Carlos Gonzalez (arguably the best young talent in all of baseball) …

    The A’s then flipped him to St Louis when it became clear they could lose with our without him, and that they couldn’t afford to keep him … they got 3 players, one of who, was Brett Wallace, who they then flipped to Toronto for Michael Taylor- the phillies former prospect

    And if you remember. the Phillies and Rockies talked in 2008 .. and the Rockies wanted Victorino in any deal, along with JA Happ, plus other prospects … so we would have filled LF and created one in CF .. plus lost out of prospects. There is something to be said for the money saved by signing certain Free Agents, and being able to keep prospects . . . in this case a guy that helped us land Roy Oswalt later.. in the same season that Vic won another gold glove

  19. Don M

    February 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Here is the full list of Free Agents that year … keeping in mind that Adam Dunn is and always was a DH.. who you could sometimes hide at 1st base … but was never a legit candidate for an OF.

    Bobby Abreu NYY
    Moises Alou NYM
    Garret Anderson * LAA
    Rocco Baldelli TB
    Willie Bloomquist SEA
    Emil Brown OAK
    Pat Burrell PHI
    Endy Chavez NYM
    Carl Crawford * TB
    Adam Dunn ARZ
    Jim Edmonds CHC
    Cliff Floyd TB
    Brian Giles * SD
    Ken Griffey Jr. * CWS
    Raul Ibanez SEA
    Jacque Jones FLA
    Mark Kotsay ATL
    Rob Mackowiak WAS
    Kevin Mench TOR
    Jason Michaels * CLE
    Craig Monroe MIN
    Jay Payton BAL
    Scott Podsednik COL
    Manny Ramirez LAD
    Juan Rivera LAA
    Rondell White MIN

    • bfo_33

      February 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Damn, Rob Mackowiak was available and we overpaid for Raul? Rube is an idiot.

      • Lefty

        February 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm

        Now that was funny! It doesn’t matter what your opinion on Raul is, that was funny- nice bfo.

  20. Publius

    February 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    In order to be truly “worth it,” Lee needs to put up about a 6 WAR season each year of his contract. In other words, he has to duplicate his 2009 for the next 5 years. Granted, for this year and next he’ll reach that, and probably even surpass that, but the next 3 years after that? Eeeeeeeeeh that’ll depend on his durability (also the aging Phillies defense to some extent as well).

    That all being said, I think the signing was worth it, as it was definitely a “win now” move at the expense of the future. The only problem is that Rube has a few too many of those contracts floating around on this roster right now (mainly Howard), and these types of deals can cause disastrous issues down the road.



  21. PhP54

    February 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    You all are so touchy on Ibanez. Ok, he is a hall of famer. There.

    • Chuck

      February 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      The reason we are all “so touchy” is because people like you aren’t willing to look at the facts. Look at Raul’s numbers. And factor in the injury in mid 2009 ….and the HEALING TIME it took for him to come back in 2010. There’s a reason why he didn’t perform late in ’09 and early in ’10.

  22. Pat Gallen

    February 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    My favorties: Rondell White, Jay Payton, and of course, J-Mike.

  23. The Dipsy

    February 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Raul was a bad sign. I don’t care who the available outfielders were. Raul is a great guy. He tries hard and he says the right things. But he’s not even close to a 10m player nor has he ever been during his tenure with the Phils. In assessing what a guy does for your team I believe one can transpose his value in performance against his value in dollars term to come up with what his true value to the team is. Using this criteria Raul has failed. Its not the end of the world. Every team has bad signs. That said, I think Raul is gonna have a good year and I’m rooting for him.

    The Dipsy

    • Chuck

      February 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      If a player is a MAJOR reason why your team gets to the postseason for the two years he’s here then how is he a “bad sign”?? Unless, Raul was being paid a gazillion dollars per year…which he hasn’t been…then it’s worth it.

      Like was said before, he was the best that was available at the time and that’s what it took to get him here. If Ruben overpaid a little bit then ok. A GM can’t always play hard ball with every situation.

      • Ted Bell

        February 23, 2011 at 5:59 am

        A. Ibanez was NOT a major reason why the Phillies made the postseason in 2009 & 2010. Raul had two amazing months that made him a local focal hero in 2009. Since then, he’s had a lot of very average months mixed in with some absolutely horrible months.

        B. He WASN’T the best of what was available at the time. This MLBTR mentality of looking at a free agent list and assuming that they are the ONLY players that can be obtained just doesn’t work. Players under contract are being shopped all the time for all sorts of reasons.

        C. Any Ibanez debate seems to overlook his below average defense. If he makes a fairly routine play in game one of the NLCS, just maybe that series has a totally different outcome.

        I’m Ted Bell.

  24. Lefty

    February 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    For the record, Ibanez has exceeded expectations in the power category since arriving here. His 7 prior seasons with over 500 PA’s he averaged 22.1 HR’s, with only one season over 30. Despite the injury in the middle of 09 that seemed to hamper him half of 10 as well, he’s averaged 25 here. Plus I like his attitude. When asked how he will handle the pressure of expectations for another WFC. He said

    “Pressure is a single mom trying to work 2 jobs, trying to feed a family. I think thats pressure, I think THIS is fun”

    It would still benefit him to take some days off this year, but I think (hope) Charlie knows that.

    • Lefty

      February 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Oops, ^^^^^meant to include better SLG and OPS as well, but you get the point.

    • Chuck

      February 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      I would imagine that Raul will get more days off this year than in the past (not including DL time of course). Not saying that a true platoon is the answer, but maybe sitting against certain lefties is the way to go. I am in agreement that Raul has a good year…at least 20 HRs.

  25. Pat Gallen

    February 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Thats a great, effing quote by Raul.

  26. Manny

    February 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Regarding Raul, wow. People suffer short-term memory loss or something. The guy has been pretty much as advertised, and does anyone remember who most phans wanted instead… MILTON BRADLEY.

    As far as the Lee deal goes, I agree with Paul: you usually overpay for top talent like him, and that’s fine. Expectations though are as high as they could ever be for a guy like Cliff –everyone’s expecting sub-3 ERAs year after year, and he’s only had one of those ever (when he won the CY Young). We SHOULD expect that as fans, but it’s gonna take some high-degree of consistency and injury-free performances to make it happen.

    • PhP54

      February 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      I am NOT one who wanted Milton Bradley. I was fine with Raul – just not a $30M contract for a guy above 35. I took some heat and I can take it, but let me be clear, I am NOT saying Raul hmself was a bad sign, I am saying Raul at $30M was a bad sign. It does NOT matter because we ALL sell the place out and we have NOT suffered. It was a thought and my POINT to the post was SIMPLY that Cliff Lee, like Raul Ibanez, will always give 100% because he wants to be here. If you cannot understand that, I need to go onto the next topic. Perhaps my choice of words was not good, but … deal with it.

      • Don M

        February 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm

        That’s like trying to have your cake, and eat it too . . .

        In a perfect world, we would have been able to get Raul Ibanez for the major league minimum …. but in reality, Ruebn had to choose between Raul Ibanez for $30 M … OR … No Raul Ibanez

        Giving those two options, i think he made the right move, and that in itself shows me that it wasn’t a bad signing

  27. Brooks

    February 22, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    So how do we measure the worth of Lee’s contract?
    There has to be some outstanding seasons in order to justify paying him that kind of money for that long. Yet, who feels that confident?
    Pat mentioned Lackey and Peavy – 2 pitchers that fell out, gone from the spotlight. Peavy with 33 starts in the past 2 years – Lackey really has not come close to his 2008 standard.

  28. The Dipsy

    February 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Not a 10 million dollar player. Or am 8 million dollar player. Or 6. Nice guy. Had some good months the past two seasons. When I think of Raul I think of what my buddy once said in Vegas: “Yeah, she was good. Not $500 good, though”

    The Dipsy

  29. Chuck

    February 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    And that’s why I don’t mind overpaying a little…if that’s what indeed is being done with these contracts…if a player is going to give 100+ % all the time. Like Lee, or Raul, or Polanco..

    There IS something to be said for attitude and hustle…i don’t care what anybody says.

  30. Chuck

    February 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Dipsy, so using your numbers, you don’t think that Raul Ibanez is worth $18M over three seasons? Cause that’s what you said…”Or 6″ I just want to be get this straight.

  31. The Dipsy

    February 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Absolutely not. Aside from having two subpar offensive seasons, he is poor defensively and can’t run. The only reason he’s being paid 10m per is because of his years of service in the MLB. I could replace, and surpass, Raul’s productivity easily if you gave me 18m to hand out over three years. I would actually go as far to say that if you gave Francisco Ibanez’ 600 or so ABs from last year, he would have been a more effective player.

    The Dipsy

    • Ted Bell

      February 23, 2011 at 6:06 am

      The Dipsy is exactly right. Other than Ibanez’s first two months here, he hasn’t done anything extraordinary. He’s managed to become a local hero based on those two months – I get it. But let’s not try to make him out to be something that he’s not. He did not “carry” the Phillies at any point last season (he simply had a second half that was better than his first half. That doesn’t quailfy as “carrying” a team in my book.

      I’m Ted Bell.

      • Chuck

        February 23, 2011 at 7:43 am

        Are people even paying attention at any point during the season??…..

        Ted, he got hurt midway through the 2009 season. He had offseason hernia surgery and was still recovering into last season. It wasn’t until the second half that he drastically improved over his first half…

        2010 first 85 games: .243 avg / 7 HR / 39 RBI /.326 OBP / .397 SLG / .724 OPS

        2010 last 70 games: .309 avg / 9 HR / 44 RBI / .375 OBP / .494 SLG / .869 OPS

        When the majority of the starting lineup was spending a lot of time on the DL….Rollins, Howard, Utley, Ruiz, Victorino…..Ibanez in the second half played very well (as the numbers clearly indicate) and helped the Phillies win ballgames. He was a HUGE reason they went on that tear late in the year to go from 7 games back to 7 games ahead in the space of a few weeks.

      • Manny

        February 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

        Oh, so then I assume that time when he was batting 3rd, tearing it up while Utley was down doesn’t count at all?

  32. Bruce

    February 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Coming in here late on the ‘issue” of Lee’s contract (5yrs for $120 million). If the Phillies offer fewer years in the contract, don’t you think Lee be in the Yankees or Rangers’ camp right now? If that had happened, the discussion here and in the media would be which team has the better rotation in the NL east? The Braves or the Phillies and the great debate as who is the favorite to win the division. 😉

  33. Chuck

    February 23, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Taking it a step further….if Ibanez would have been healthy for the whole season his numbers would have been .309 / 21 / 102…. (basing it on the second half numbers)

    Same thing with 2009 when he got hurt…

    first 64 games: .309 / 22 / 60
    last 70 games .232 / 12 / 33

    So if he’s healthy for the whole year his numbers(based on the first half) would have averaged
    .309 / 56 HR / 173 RBI

    Ok…he probably wouldn’t have kept up that torrid pace in 2009 anyway. But a healthy Raul in 2009 probably would have hit 40 HR and driven in 120+ RBI.

  34. The Dipsy

    February 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Chuck, my respected friend, relax about Raul. This is how I feel about Raul. He was playing well and then tore is groin/stomach up. The went in the toilet. Had surgery. Then spent the first of last season recovering, then played well when he felt good again. If he feels good again all season this year..hey, he might have a really good year.

    The Dipsy

    • Chuck

      February 23, 2011 at 9:04 am

      I’m not NOT relaxed. But it pisses me off when seemingly intelligent people can’t see the obvious. At least you get the fact that the injury de-railed him and give him credit. I think if he stays healthy he WILL have a really good year. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if he has a really solid year that the Phillies could bring him back next year on a one-year deal for less money with the idea that his playing time would be a lot less. But let’s get through this season first…

  35. Pat Gallen

    February 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I would say that for $12 million, Raul is not worth it. But for half of that? He may not be worth $6 or 8 million, but with the way free agency is laid out, that’s what he would have been worth regardless. Someone else would have signed him for a hefty contract.

    So whether or not he’s worth what he’s making, his value on the field will be different than his value in the bank account. If anyone gets what I’m saying.

    • Chuck

      February 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Absolutely. That’s what it took to get him here….whether he’s “worth it” or not. It was reported that the Angels made him an offer that was $30M+ for those three years.

      Same with anyone else. Is Ryan Howard “worth” $25M ? Probably not. But to extend him…that’s what it took. It’s a little different because Howard will generate a lot more merchandise sales, etc. But the idea of someone’s ON FIELD worth is the same.

  36. The Dipsy

    February 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Chuck – I am not saying that Raul is not a good guy to have on the team and may have run into some bad luck. The only point thing that I want you, and others to recognize, is that he has been overpaid for the performance that he has given. Not his heart. Not his integrity. Not his hustle. His performance. Thats it. For if you maintain that Raul is worth the money he is making than Albert really is worth 30m and beyond.

    The Dipsy

  37. Chuck

    February 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Dipsy, the “performance” however is blatantly the tale of two Rauls…. the healthy one and the un-healthy one.

    And, yeah, like I said right before you posted this….Is Ryan Howard worth $25M??… or, using your example…is Albert Pujols worth $30M?

  38. The Dipsy

    February 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

    But Chuck…you have to take his complete body of work, wouldn’t you say? And that includes the time he was hurt. I know he got hurt. But he is an older player and we cannot say it was a complete surprise. When you sign older players you gotta expect that stuff. I look at Raul performance, as I do with many players, with sort of like a “cost/benefit” analysis. In Raul’s case, we don’t get a benefit commensurate with his cost. I do include his intangibles: hustle, ethic, etc. But I believe that stuff is a tad overrated. We know about Raul what the Nationals will find out about Werth. He’s good – but not worth the money.

    The Dipsy

  39. Chuck

    February 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Rollins, Howard and Utley are all 7-8 years YOUNGER than Raul and they got hurt.

    The Nationals comparison is not even close. Werth signed for A LOT more money and years than Raul did. That’s like comparing an apple to an olive.

  40. Don M

    February 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

    How many players in baseball SURPASS the value of their contract??? Every Major League Player is OVERPAID.. Howard isn’t worth $25 M
    Lee isn’t worth $24 M
    Halladay isn’t worth $20 M ..etc. . . .

    But if that’s what it costs to sign the best players, why are we complaining? I care a whole lot less that Ibanez’s FANGRAPHS value last year was $7 M .. and so we overpaid him by a few … than I would care about us having Pat Burrell, or Milton Bradley as our LF the past two seasons

    The best overall value on the team is probably Placido Polanco at $6 M per season … and people on here were FURIOUS when he signed that deal …since Chone Figgins at $9 M per season was an option too..

    You can’t always get every players at YOUR PRICE … if you really want them, you have to either meet them halfway, or get them at THEIR PRICE .. and in a slim Free Agent market for LF’s two years ago.. Ruben got Ibanez at more than we would have liked . . . but the bottom line is THANK GOD WE GOT HIM …. His $10 M per season contract hasn’t prevented us from doing ANYTHING the past two seasons .. and his on field play has carried this team for stretches of both seasons

    • Lefty

      February 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Your last sentence is precisely the point in my mind. I measure a successful signing two ways-

      Did the player exceed expectations?
      Did the cost of the player prevent you from signing other players?

      The answer to the first one as I demonstrated above is yes, he beat his career averages despite the injuries. And Don is correct on the answer to the second one, think of all the guys we have signed since we obtained Raul- his contract hasn’t hamstrung us at all, we’ve never spent this freely before.

  41. bfo_33

    February 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I think the most important points are that Ibanez’s salary isn’t restricting the team from signing anyone else, and there aren’t a whole lot of significantly better options available in the same price range.

    Go through Raul’s entire career – he is a half season player. Every year, 60% of his homers are in one half, his average changes 40+ points,…. on down the line. He’s never had a consistently solid year, never hit over 34 hrs,….. Projecting his “best” half in any given season puts him near a silver slugger, but it hasn’t happened yet, unlikely to happen this year.

    Is a great half season worth $10M – I don’t know, and don’t really care that much. One thing I know for sure, he’s an offensive weapon when hot, capable for carrying the team for weeks, but be prepared to take a hit/have some depth when he’s not. I’ll take him while we have him, but think there is 0.0 chance he is re-signed. His next stop should be with a young AL team that needs some leadership and a lh dh who can play a little left field – a team such as Baltimore, Oakland, or LAA.

  42. Don M

    February 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Don M for president !??

    The Don M

    • Lefty

      February 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      I was trying to avoid this, but you’re clearly not a candidate for the job. Do we really think it would be a good idea to have the leader of the free world be a guy that might be running around the White House naked because Raul Ibanez didn’t hit 16 home runs? I mean what if you were suddenly needed in the situation room?

  43. bfo_33

    February 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Put Dipsy in at VP, then would be the most entertaining executive office since Adams/Jefferson.

  44. The Dipsy

    February 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    If the measure of a players salary is whether he prevented you from doing something else because of his salary which he was underperforming on, then everything is cool because the Phils can clearly afford just about anything right now.

    The Dipsy

    • Don M

      February 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Thats barely in English . . .

      so .. You wouldn’t have given Raul Ibanez to a 3-year, $30 M deal two years ago? (And “I would have given him $7 M a year” isn’t a legit answer because then he goes somewhere else)

      Who would you have signed instead… and at what price do you think you could have landed them?

  45. The Dipsy

    February 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Don – I did not like the signing when it was made. While I thought Ibanez was a pro hitter, I thought he wouldn’t be able to play the field. I didn’t like that he was old and got three years. I would not have minded 1y10m or a two year deal for a little less per year. He is also another lefty, which I didn’t like. I was prepared to pay less and get a lesser player. A well rounded type, good fielding, 14/70/.275/10 type guy. Basically a full time Ben Francisco.

    The Dipsy

    • Chuck

      February 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      Dipsy, whose defense would you rather have…..Pat Burrell or Raul Ibanez?

    • Don M

      February 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

      In this thread alone .. you stated “Raul was a bad sign. I don’t care who the other available outfielders were.” ????? WTF?? That is the whole basis of whether or not he was a good singing..

      I also would not have minded a 1 year, $10 M or a two year deal for a little less per year . . . . but then he wouldn’t have signed our contract .. and again – we would’ve had to choose between this sweet crop of talent:

      Bobby Abreu NYY
      Moises Alou NYM
      Garret Anderson * LAA
      Rocco Baldelli TB
      Willie Bloomquist SEA
      Emil Brown OAK
      Pat Burrell PHI
      Endy Chavez NYM
      Carl Crawford * TB
      Adam Dunn ARZ
      Jim Edmonds CHC
      Cliff Floyd TB
      Brian Giles * SD
      Ken Griffey Jr. * CWS
      Raul Ibanez SEA
      Jacque Jones FLA
      Mark Kotsay ATL
      Rob Mackowiak WAS
      Kevin Mench TOR
      Jason Michaels * CLE
      Craig Monroe MIN
      Jay Payton BAL
      Scott Podsednik COL
      Manny Ramirez LAD
      Juan Rivera LAA
      Rondell White MIN

      …That excludes Mark DeRosa.. who appears to be the type of 14/70/.275/10 guy you were talking about.. except he hit more than 13 HRs ONCE in his career (21 in 2008) stole more than 4 bases ONCE in his career (6 in 2008).. signed for $6 M per season with the Giants and has a batting average of .218

      Basically you get what you pay for .. and if you would have rather had a $6 M-per-year player . . . you would have gone without a 5-6 hitter the past few seasons..

      WAS HE THE BEST OF THAT AVAILABLE OF GROUP? Yes… (besides for Manny at $25 M per season)


  46. The Dipsy

    February 24, 2011 at 7:41 am


    The Dipsy

    • Chuck

      February 24, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Thought you would say that.

      Point is….if Raul is a clear upgrade over Burrell at the plate (I think that’s been the case) and if Raul is preferred over Burrell in the field…..then wouldn’t you say that Ibanez’ signing was a good one by the Phillies??…given what all the other choices were at the time??

      Burrell was offered $11M per year to stay (which he stupidly turned down) and eventually sighned for $8 or $9M per for the next two years.

      So then…. if Ibanez is an upgrade… doesn’t it make sense that you wouold have to pay him more? And it certainly makes sense that he’s worth more than $6 or $8M per year….which you said yesterday that he wasn’t worth.

  47. The Dipsy

    February 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Dear Ibanez Gang – In that free agent season, Ruben jumped out and signed the guy that he wanted: Raul Ibanez. I give him credit for getting his man. When you do this, you also deprive yourself of letting the market “play itself out” and wait for players who price themselves out of the market and have to settle for less. They are good players – just with an inflated sense of self worth. And you can get real good value. Happens every year – EVERY year. Now that season, the market did not have the one “big” guy that you needed to jump on quick if you wanted to get him. There was Bradley, Abreu, etc. I don’y care if the Cubs were gonna sign Ibanez for whatever amount – you could have him. We just needed a capable guy in LF to replace Burrell. Instead, we signed Ibanez for 30m. I thought then, and I still think now, that it was unnecessary and a poor allotment of resources., Remember, these were the days of “salary restraints”.

    OK, so now we have him. Great first half of 2009. Bad 2nd half. Bad first half of 2010. Good second half of 2010. He got injured. Not his fault? Of course not. But when you sign a 37 year old dude to a 3 year contract you can’t be surprised when at some point he pulls up lame. And he did. Like I said, he’s a nice guy and he works hard and I would like my kid to grow up to be just like him (save for the spanish descent). Add his pedestrian offensive stats (remember he’s a LFer…need bigger numbers) to the fact that he can’t run or field and you have a guy that I would pay MAYBE 4m a year for oin a multi year deal. His talent translated into numbers commands nowhere close to what he is earning. Sorry.

    For all the reasons above, I feel it was a bad sign. That said, I think Raul is gonna have a good year. Best of the three. Go Phils.

    The Dipsy

    • Chuck

      February 24, 2011 at 10:58 am

      What’s wrong with being of Spanish descent? My real name is Carlos.

  48. Don M

    February 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

    You would have the sh!ttiest team in baseball if you decided to always LET THE MARKET PLAY OUT… and attempted to sign the best available player at a position of need .. to an insult of a contract..

    The closest thing to a GOOD CONTRACT on the Phillies.. is Placido Polanco at $6 M per season!!.. and so many people think that was/is way too much money for him . . but when the other guys were getting $8, 9 M per seaon, Polanco was a steal ..

    When Ibanez was widely considered the 1st half MVP on 2009 … his deal was a steal … then he got hurt and it was a BAD CONTRACT?? …. Truth is .. they knew they had increased revenue from the Postseason .. and the increase is season tickets for the upcoming 2009 season … The knew they needed to spend the money to get the players they wanted .. and they did … and for some reasons their “fans” continue to question every move they make and say that they wouldn’t have offered such a big contract . . . If the Phillies would have DOWNGRADED FROM BURRELL – which any player besides Ibanez would have been – there would have been hell to pay from the fanbase …. except of course from The Dipsy .. who would rather the Phillies save some coin and get less production from less talented players … ala the Phillies from 1995-2003

    Ruben Amaro is my daddy.. and he can do no wrong in my eyes I love every contract he’s given because he has the balls to take chances, and to be aggressive to get the players he feel will make a difference. . .

  49. Don M

    February 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I’d be interested to see what you’re take on Chase Utley is going to be when his deal runs out … after the 2013 season … he’ll have made $15 M in each of the previous four seasons … and he’ll be 35 years old

    Something tells me you wouldn’t want to offer him something well below market value … or wait around to see what other cheaper options would be there.

    And you’d have to sign him to a higher-than-actual-value contract … or you’ll lose him to some other team that would be willing to pay him.

    I’ll wait to read your post though instead of speculating that you think it would be a bad deal since he would be “an older player” …and you wouldn’t want to offer him a 3-year-deal

  50. The Dipsy

    February 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Don – We just disagree on Ibanez, OK? I could have cared less if we lost Ibanez to another team. We could have replaced the value he gave us for less money….get it? Now, if I knew then that the Phillies actually had no salary cap then I could have given a crap. Just like I don’t give a crap about the Lee contract. I don’t have a problem overpaying for the right player, and Ibanez wasn’t it. BTW, the Polanco contract is fine as far as I’m concerned.

    If Ruben can pay his players whatever he wants and it would never impede the team from making other moves, they can all make a trillion dollars as far as I’m concerned.

    The Dipsy

  51. Don M

    February 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I generally like you . . . but in this case I think you’re crazy .. and its okay to disagree and have discussions about it. that is what the whole blog-comment section is about, right?? If we all agreed on everything there would be no point…

    Im just a firm believe that NO we could not have replaced the value he’s given us for less money – from the players that were available at that time … It was rumored that Burrell turned down $11 M per season over two years from the Phillies … so they let him walk .. and for $8 more than they offered him for two years – they got Ibanez who has been an upgrade in every sense of the word ..

    Burrell overestimated his worth, and ended up with a deal of $16 M over two years from the Rays.. $8 M per season. He was overpaid …

    Milton Bradley signed a deal with the Cubs.. for 3 years.. at $10 M per season … he was overpaid

    etc, etc. . . So Ibanez was inked to a deal for what the Market Value dictated for an effective OF.

    I think I just don’t believe that YOU believe things you type.. and you just do it for dramatic effect . .

    You’ve repeated it being a bad deal … and then say if you knew the Phillies didn’t have a salary cap, you wouldn’t have cared . . . But now that we’ve seen his contract hasn’t prevented the Phillies from doing anything at all payroll-wise …. and his red hot 1st half of 2009 carried the team to the position where they actually ADDED CLIFF LEE – which was the spring board for the Halladay deal, the Oswalt deal etc . . .

    and now Ibanez’s contract takes up a whopping 6% of the phillies payroll ! …

    Knowing what we know – I could see some hesitation from people when that deal was initially inked .. but how people would consider it a “bad signing” now just doesn’t make any sense

    • Chuck

      February 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      You’re saying Dipsy’s dramatic????? NOOOOOOO…. Really?

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