There is an old saying in baseball about the best trades being the ones you never make. If team owners really believed in this one, then Cliff Lee (and many other players) would have never left their teams in the first place.
Now we get word that Lee has turned down offers by the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers for a deal that pays less money with the Phillies. Can it be possible that in this world someone would turn down more money? Apparently, Mr. Lee has gone with what makes him more happy rather than what will make him more rich.
The real losers here are the Yanks, Rangers, and Mets; the winners are the Phillies and the Red Sox. The deck is now stacked in the National League East for the Phillies to take that division again. The Mets have nothing to show so far this winter except signings of a few minor players that make George “The Stork” Theodore look like Willie Mays.
The deck is also stacked in the American League East now. The Red Sox have made great moves, and maybe the best move of all was to make a play for Lee, knowing they didn’t want him, but confusing the Yankees’ brass enough that they let Carl Crawford slip through their fingers. Steinbrenner must be rolling over in his grave.
Cliff Lee took poet Robert Frost’s advice and went down the road less traveled by signing with the Phillies; in doing so, that may make all the difference, not only in Mr. Lee’s life, but also in the outcome of two division races and eventually the 2011 World Series.