At 1AM on Tuesday morning the texts started pouring in:
"MERRY CLIFFMAS!"..."WE DID IT!"..."He's Back!"..."WOOOOO!"..."Unbe-LEE-vable!"
My initial reaction was disbelief. The Phillies signed Cliff Lee??? This can't be real. He can't be coming back after we shipped him away unexpectedly. The Yankees would not allow it after they missed out on Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. Texas couldn't let him go after he led the franchise to their first World Series appearance.
I ran to the computer and saw the news on MLB.com. It was just one source, still might not be true. After I read the article on ESPN I proceeded to forward this glorious news to everyone I know. I felt like Will Ferrell in Elf when he ran into a crowded room and screamed, "I'm in love, I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"
Truthfully, it feels like Christmas really has come early in the form of the best starting rotation in the history of baseball. [Go ahead, name me a better depth chart...I'll wait]. The Philadelphia Phillies have four premium quality Aces in the form of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. They are all easily among the top 20 pitchers in the league.
I won't give you too many stats, just know that Lee won the 2008 AL Cy Young and is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in the postseason over the past two years, Halladay has 2 Cy Young awards, Hamels was the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, while Oswalt is a 3 time All-Star and won the 2005 NLCS MVP.
What a year for big name free agents to take a pay cut (who cares about a few million when you've got $100,000,000?) to join forces with their previous, major competitors in the hopes of winning championships.
However, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have nothing on this group. Mainly because, unlike the Miami Heat, the Phillies supporting cast includes NL MVP's and All-Stars, along with Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winners. Oh, and Lee's "decision" came while most people were asleep on a Monday night rather than on a 1 hour ESPN special.
Also differing from the Heat, the Phillies will save the parade and celebration for when they actually win their championship(s).
Add insult to injury:
The first place Eagles get the best of the last place Cowboys and the Rangers lose Cliff Lee to the Phillies on back to back days. Poor, poor Texas.
Sorry to the Seattle Mariners. Not only did you lose the prospects you traded to the Phillies last season, but you no longer have the player you traded them for. Not to mention, your single season record of 116 wins set in 2001 is officially in jeopardy.