To regurgitate a comment a made elsewhere, Kenny Rogers aside, it’s rare that one man can generate equal amounts of anxiety/depression in Yankee and Mets fans, so full credit to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who last night made his club the prohibitive favorites for the 2011 NL pennant with the surprise signing of highly coveted Cliff Lee. That Lee might’ve left somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million on the table in order to return to Philly is a staggering blow to Brian Cashman, who comes out of the Winter Meetings having a) pissed off his aging shortstop and b) signed Russell Martin. Compared to recent events just south and north of the Bronx, it’s not exactly the haul anyone expected.
Under most circumstances, a rotation featuring Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton would have to be considered one of the game’s best. Adding Lee to the mix, however, begs comparisons to Braves/Orioles rotations of yore, and if nothing else, increases the likely asking prices Tampa and Kansas City will demand for Matt Garza and Zach Greinke, respectively. Don’t expect the Mets to be mentioned in connection with either player ; it will be a very long time before the Amazingly Destitutes are in the bidding for a top flight free agent ala Lee or have the pieces assembled to deal for a player the caliber of Greinke. But before you fall into a Benigno-esque tailspin of suicidal thoughts and poor grooming, consider the encouraging words of SNY’s Ted Berg, who reminds us the Phillies are halfway- to-decrepit.
As Mets fans, we think of the Phillies as invincible because the Phillies are the bad guys, and the ones that so often victimize our favorite team. But the cracks are starting to show. Probably not enough to slow them in 2011, but don™t go writing off 2012 for the Mets. Have you been watching baseball? Do you not realize how quickly things can go south for old players?
For a variety of reasons, the Mets could not sign Cliff Lee. They didn™t have the money and he didn™t seem particularly eager to pitch in New York. That™s fine, because the Mets should not have signed Cliff Lee. The Phillies™ decision is perhaps defensible since they™ve got an old team and an opportunity to win now and flags fly forever. They can worry about how they™ve got $80 million committed in 2013 to four players who are 33 and older in 2013.