Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cliff Lee turns his back on the Cubs

I’m joking, of course…The Cubs were never even considering signing one of the best playoff pitchers in history (which is smart because they are nowhere close to being able to make the playoffs right now).

But, Cliff Lee did bypass two seemingly superior offers from the Rangers and the Yankees to go back to the National League and pitch for the team that he helped lead to the 2009 World Series.

So the Phillies now have a rotation of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

Holy crap!

Remember back in the day when we Cubs fans were so excited about the idea of a rotation of Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano and Greg Maddux? The difference that and what Philly has right now? Lee, Halladay, Oswalt (and to a lesser extent Hamels) have all established themselves at dominant ace pitchers. They’ve fulfilled their potential. The Cubs pitchers during that time never did (with Maddux past his prime).

Many people last year were wondering if the Lee-Halladay trade that the Phillies made with the Blue Jays and Mariners was the good idea. Now, almost one year later, it looks like the most brilliant move in baseball history. In the end, the Phillies have ended up with both star pitchers.

Here is the kicker…I think it is very possible that Ryne Sandberg could be managing these 2 pitchers in two years. Current Philly manager, Charlie Manuel is going to be 67 years old in January. That’s approaching the same age as Lou Piniella, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox who all retired last season. Assuming that the Phillies aren’t grooming Pete Mackanin as their manager in waiting, Sandberg could be chosen to take over for Manuel if and when he retires.

How lucky for him.

I said before that I didn’t want Sandberg to manage the Cubs…and part of the reason for that was that I wanted him to succeed as a manager. I didn’t think he could succeed as a manager here in Chicago.

Many people felt bad for Ryno when he didn’t get the job here…why? Do you like him? Do you respect him? If so, then why would you want him to be cursed by managing the Cubs? You should want him to succeed. He is now much more likely too.

Ok…back to Lee…

The Phillies have set themselves up to continue their dominance in the National League which has led them to 4 straight division titles, 2 National League pennants, and 1 World Series title. They should be the favorites to win the NL pennant again this year and probably will be for a number of years to come.

Are the Phillies invincible? No…there are still questions about their bullpen and their hitting was somewhat sleepy for a good part of 2010. In the end, though, a rotation with 3 potential Cy Young candidates and another pitcher who is a potential All-Star will take you a long way for a long time.

The Phillies have Roy Halladay under contract until 2013 (with an option for 2014), Cliff Lee under contract until 2015 (with an option for 2016), Roy Oswalt under contract thru this coming season (with an option for 2012)…

It almost makes me wish I was a Phillies fan. Almost.