Tag:Cliff Lee
Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:05 pm

Lee signing leaves reporter exposed

In this world of nonstop, streaming information and internet commentary, we're all bound to say something we come to regret once in a while.

Reporter Andy Martino, who covers the Mets for the New York Daily News, made a mistake that's going to become really uncomfortable for him this spring in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Surveying the rumors and buzz swirling around the first day of the Winter Meetings, Martino wrote in his Mets blog on December 6 that "if the Phillies sign Cliff Lee, I'll cover spring training in a Speedo."


The story earned him a mention as one of the Worst Persons in the World on Keith Olbermann's show, and he'll be on CNN tomorrow. Martino says he'll honor the bet -- sort of. "I am grateful for one thing above all else: I didn't say I'd cover spring training in only in a Speedo, without any clothing to cover it."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 15, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 4:30 pm

Werth ticked at Lee?

Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee had their introductory news conferences Wednesday, and there seemed to be a story behind the story.

Werth and Lee became BFFs when Lee was in Philadelphia before, and as both approached free agency this winter apparently they had talked about landing in the same place. Werth signed first and sort of scuttled any chance of a reunion by signing for a last-place team and hogging half the payroll. The Nationals reportedly made inquiries on Lee, but weren't considered serious players in the negotiations.

Nevertheless, Werth was apparently upset when Lee called to break the news that he was heading back to their old digs.

"When he found out I was coming here," Lee said, "he wasn't the happiest person in the world."

It could be Werth was bummed about not being reunited with his buddy. It could also be that he's upset the Phillies cried poverty when it came to re-signing him, then magically came up with $120 million to sign Lee. So he gets to sit in last place and watch Lee and the Phillies play NL wrecking ball.

"The news in Philadelphia, they got their boy back, I guess," Werth said. "That's fine. I think that's good. I like that. If you're going to be the best, you've got to beat the best. They make their plays, and we're going to make ours."

VIDEO: Lee meets the press in Philadelphia:

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:09 pm

Another Phils rotation option: Pedro?

Pedro Martinez Why stop with two Cy Young Award winners in your rotation when you can have three?

According to the New York Daily News, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. inquired about Padro Martinez during last week's Winter Meetings. Martinez, 39, didn't play in 2010 but is not retired. He last pitched for the Phillies in 2009, joining the team late in the season and pitching alongside Cliff Lee in the Phillies' World Series run.

Asked earlier this month about whether he wants to pitch next season, Martinez told the Daily News, "I'll have to try it again. [Pitching] runs through my veins. When I saw Lee pitching this World Series and I had a chance to go to Texas for the remainder of the season, it really ticked me, but I was able to control it."

The Phillies are apparently ready to move fifth starter Joe Blanton, which could open a spot for Martinez to return with an incentive-heavy contract. That would give them this rotation: Roy Halladay (two Cy Youngs), Lee (one Cy Young), Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Martinez (three Cy Youngs). Yikes.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:22 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:15 pm

5 Questions (or more) with Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce The Reds announced a six-year contract extension with Jay Bruce on Tuesday. Bruce, who won't turn 24 until April, is the proud owner of a $51 million contract.

The five questions (or more) is something our football brethren have been doing for a while (check it out here ), and we thought you might enjoy a baseball version. The Reds held a news conference on Tuesday for Bruce and CBSSports.com's Facts & Rumors blogger C. Trent Rosecrans caught up with Bruce afterward.

1. CBSSports.com: So, at the end of this contract (even if you include the team option for 2017), you'll still be younger than Jayson Werth was this year…

Bruce: (Laughs) Yeah, you know I paid a little bit of attention to that. We're just starting this one. It's something that takes care of itself. Winning takes care of it too. If you win, everyone's going to be happy and excited to play. I'm just really excited about this.

2. CBS: Speaking of winning, how many times have you watched that home run to clinch the division?

Bruce: I've seen it a lot. Whether I've watched it, seeked it out, that's different. It was a great moment.

CBS: You still get chills?

Bruce: Absolutely. It was a great moment for me and a great moment for the Cincinnati Reds fans. Those people, it's been thin around here for a few years, but we're bringing back a good tradition. There's such tradition here in Cincinnati, I'm just happy to be part of the revival.

CBS: There's a YouTube clip from someone right behind home plate, have you seen it?

Bruce: I've seen that. That's pretty surreal. It's cool they got it and they were sitting there to see it.

CBS: I think they even called it.

Bruce: I've talked to a bunch of people who say they've called it.

CBS: Did you?

Bruce: No, I was just trying to hit the ball hard.

3. CBS: When you talk about contracts like this, there are people who say you left money on the table, how do your react to that?

Bruce: You know what? It's not a true statement because you don't know what you're going to put on the table or take off the table. I plan on leaving money on the table, I plan on outperforming this contract, because that would probably mean I'm playing well and we're winning here in Cincinnati. I'll tell you what, yeah, OK, say I left money on the table, you're talking a ridiculous… it's an absurd amount. It's not bad what I took from the table. I plan on outperforming it, that's the best case for me, leaving money on the table. I'll make it up in the long run and it's not a big deal. The money took care of itself, the money's going to be there. It's just a blast.

CBS: It's kinda stupid seeing those kind of numbers…

Bruce: It is; it doesn't feel real. I'm going to take it a day at a time and enjoy it. There's a lot of doors that will open from that.

CBS: Have you splurged on anything yet?

Bruce: No. I have everything I need.

CBS: What do you drive?

Bruce: I have a truck and a [BMW] 7 series. I keep my truck at home and I take my 7 series through the season.

CBS: That's nice

Jay Bruce Bruce: Absolutely. People think I'm getting this big $51 million check, like Happy Gilmore. It's not how it is. There's some planning that goes into that.  You still have to be a normal person, you can't get too ahead of yourself. If I tend to this money correctly, as I know I will, there won't be any worries for me and my family for the rest of my life.

4. CBS: This game has a way of humbling you, so I guess that's not too tough. You can look at the Phillies, who swept you guys last year, and you add Cliff Lee. What does that make you think when you saw that?

Bruce: That's four legitimate aces they have over there. But to be the best, you have to beat the best. We're going to go out there and play those guys like we've always played them. We can beat them, we didn't last year, and we have to prove that to people. I'm obviously a huge believer that we can. I'm not worried about it.

5. CBS: One last thing, I know you and Joey [Votto] always competed with numbers throughout the minors, do you still do that?

Bruce: Absolutely. Joey, he's been tremendous, obviously. I think there's always been a sense of competitiveness between us -- that's just us and people on this team. But yes, I aspire to be the hitter Joey is -- who doesn't? He's the MVP of the league. Joey's done such a great job with all aspects of this game and his life, to go through what he's gone through and be where he is, is truly amazing. I consider Joey one of my better friends. It's really excited to have gotten to watch him.

Bonus question: Another reporter asked Bruce about MVP Joey Votto's desire to stay long-term, and Votto's comments earlier this month about not thinking about a long-term contract with the Reds or anybody. Here's what Bruce had to say: "I think people are construing it a little differently than it really is. Joey doesn't want to leave here. He told me last night, I don't what to go anywhere, I love Cincinnati and I want to be here. What people have to understand is Joey and I are in a different situation. He's almost four years older than me. Joey wants to be here. He doesn't want to go anywhere. For people to think he does is not the right thought."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:07 pm

Where do Yankees go from here?

Zambrano Now that the Yankees have lost out on Cliff Lee, who could the club go after?

Well, for starters, the club has agreed to a minor-league contract with Mark Prior. Who knows, it could work out. But probably not.

Good thing there's always Andy Pettitte. The Yankees could up their offer to entice him out of retirement, but even with Pettitte, the Yankees are seeking a strong option for the rotation. Right now, it would be comprised of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and... who knows, maybe Sergio Mitre?

Carl Pavano is the only starter left on the market that fits the bill. Any other starter would fill in at the back of the rotation, while Pavano would make a strong case to be the No. 3. One problem: The Yankees and the fans have already had their fill of Pavano. However, New York did give Javier Vazquez a second try, so you never know.

Other options reside in trade. There's obviously Zack Greinke, but there are too many reports that New York doesn't have what it takes to acquire Greinke, plus there's far too many questions on whether Greinke would even want to pitch in New York, nevermind if he could.

Other trade options include the White Sox and Gavin Floyd as the club has been willing to listen on the righty. You can bet the ChiSox would also love to listen to deals involving Edwin Jackson as Jackson was only acquired in a desperate gambit to land Adam Dunn from Washington in what remains a curious decision from the Nats in passing. However, is Jackson better than what's left on the free agent market sans Pavano? Mmm... probably not.

The name of Ricky Nolasco is also making the rounds, but Florida has said it has no plans to move Nolasco even with the two sides struggling to agree to a contract extension.

Perhaps the Cubs could be enticed to part with Carlos Zambrano (pictured). It's no secret the two sides are tired of each other, but Big Z has a hefty contract and blew away the competition near the end of 2010, so would require a strong package in return. Still, the Yankees have the money and perhaps the will to pry Zambrano away.

Past that, the Yankees could come calling for Matt Garza or James Shields, although the Rays may not want to deal within the division. Jesus Montero may be enough to change their minds.

Another option New York has is to slot in with an average pitcher and wait until 2012 to make their move for a top starter.

Problem: Unless Philadelphia declines Roy Oswalt's 2012 option, the best starter on the market is C.J. Wilson. And granted, if Wilson repeats his 2010 season, he'll be an enticing name. But that should tell you all there is to know about 2012's free-agent market.

Except there's one very important person in the Pacific that will be posted and could make major waves.

That's Yu Darvish, who has opted to stay in Japan one more season but has essentially conceded he is headed east for 2012. The Yankees -- as well as any other team -- would love to get Darvish's services, and you can bet New York will be hot to trot after the righty.

But so will any number of teams such as Washington and the Angels, so Darvish to the Yankees isn't quite a sure thing. And no, simply expecting New York to outbid everyone in the posting process is not a sure thing. For one, the Red Sox blew the Yankees away for Daisuke Matsuzaka. And second, the Oakland A's not agreeing to terms with Hisashi Iwakuma in what some believe was a gambit to keep him away from the Rangers underscored a flaw in the posting system. That is, you can bid any amount for the player but do not have to pay the fee if no terms are agreed to.

What's stopping Boston from bidding an outrageous $100 million fee (double Matsuzaka's fee) and then just simply letting him walk away?

This much is clear: the Yankees have a lot on their hands to build their rotation now that the Cliff Lee saga has ended.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 11:09 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:31 pm

Phillies the new World Series favorites

How much does the addition of Cliff Lee change expectations in the baseball world? Well, Phillies fans expect to win every year, but to get a more logical perspective than any fan base, let's look to Las Vegas.

According to BoDog.com, the Phillies are now 7/2 favorites to win the World Series. After the World Series, the Yankees were 4/1 favorites with Philadelphia coming in at 6/1.

While the Phillies are the favorites, they're followed by the Red Sox (5/1), Yankees (6/1), Giants (12/1), Twins (18/1) and Cardinals (18/1). A group of five teams are 20/1, those are the Braves, Reds, Rockies, Rays and Rangers.

The Rangers were getting 16/1 odds after the World Series of winning in 2011.

As for the Phillies, the over/under for wins in 2011 is 96, Lee's over/under for wins is 17 and the over/under for wins by Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels is 61.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: December 14, 2010 10:50 am

Winners and losers in Lee aftermath

Cliff Lee What in the world of Mike Cuellar is going on?

By adding Cliff Lee to the already-potent Roy Halladay-Roy Oswalt-Cole Hamels top of the rotation, the Phillies potentially have the best top of the rotation since the Orioles had four 20-game winners in 1971 with Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer and Dave McNally.

It's certainly the best rotation since the mid-90s Braves that featured Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, followed by someone like Steve Avery or Denny Neagle.

The bad news for the Phillies is that it wasn't starting pitching that let them down in October. It was not scoring enough runs against quality starting pitching from the Giants.

As for the offense, how has that changed? Jayson Werth, the team's best offensive player last season, is gone. Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco are a year older -- and Jimmy Rollins seems to age two years for every year nowadays. He's not been the same player the last two years that he was before. There are also emerging questions about Chase Utley. And then there's Ryan Howard, who is still imposing in the lineup, but suddenly looks less protect and reminds people that he's 31 with fewer home runs than the year before in each of the last two seasons.

Still, ask most teams and they'd take their chances with Howard, Utley, Polanco and even roll the dice on whether Rollins will be happy, as long as they're behind a starting rotation for the ages, like the Phillies have accumulated.

The Phillies are the clear winner in this whole deal. Because even if there are chinks in the armor, it's still one heck of a suit of armor -- especially the sleeves.

For the Yankees, Andy Pettitte becomes that much more important to the Yankees. Pettitte has reportedly been mulling retirement, but is crucial to the team's rotation going forward. And if you think the Yankees feel bad about these developments, let's think about how the Mets feel having to be in the same division as Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels.

The Rangers, on other hand, were right all along. They could offer Lee comfort the Yankees couldn't match, and something he obviously valued in the end. However, the Phillies offered not only the pillow top mattress, but one he'd slept like a baby in before.

Texas also has a World Series-type team, but one without an ace. The Rangers weren't serious contenders until they pulled Lee from the Mariners last season, and now they're faced with the same problem months later.

The rivalry between New York and Boston means any time the Yankees lose, the Red Sox win and vice versa. The Red Sox, who have added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez are better (no matter what Evan says ), and the Yankees aren't as good as expected -- so the Sox win.

The biggest winner in all this -- besides the Phillies and Lee -- could be the Royals. Kansas City is dangling a bona fide No. 1 starter in Zack Greinke. And don't think Andrew Friedman in Tampa isn't receiving calls on Matt Garza about right now. The prices on those two starters haven't gone down in the last 12 hours, that's for sure. If you're going to get one of those, you'll have to pay.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 14, 2010 8:38 am
Edited on: December 14, 2010 1:17 pm

Blanton headed to Boston?

Joe Blanton Maybe the Red Sox were so grateful to Phillies for keeping Cliff Lee out of the American League East, they're helping Philadelphia afford Lee by taking Joe Blanton off their hands, Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman tweets .

Blanton has two years and $17 million left on his contract, some of which the Phillies are likely o pick up. Still, it seemed moving Blaton was something the Phillies needed to do to be able to afford Lee, because $17 million is just a tad much for a fifth starter for anyone but the Yankees.

Blanton was 9-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 28 starts for the Phillies last season. He won 42 wins in his first three full seasons of his career with Oakland, before being traded by the A's to the Phillies in July of 2008 for Adrain Cardenas, Matt Spencer and Josh Outman.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe 's Pete Abe tweets the Phillies and Red Sox have talked about Blanton, but no deal is in place.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

UPDATE : The Boston Herald ' s Scott Lauber says talks between the two clubs were never serious, according to sources from both sides. This never made sense in the first place as the Red Sox are five-deep in the rotation. (Six, if you count Tim Wakefield in the bullpen.)

One possible school of thought is that acquiring Blanton would have allowed the Sox to shop Daisuke Matsuzaka as teams have reportedly had a fair amount of interest in the righty.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com