If you happened to go to sleep around 11:00 last night then odds are you missed the news.
What news you ask? Why the news that the Philadelphia Phillies signed a free agent. His name? Some guy named Cliff Lee. It’s OK you can scream if you want. Finished? Good.
Now for the details. Last night T.R. Sullivan who works for MLB.com broke the story reporting that Cliff Lee was signing with the Phillies.
According to Jerry Crasnick Cliff Lee signed a 5 yr $120M guaranteed deal with a easily reachable 6th year vesting option. Ken Rosenthal reports that according to a source that the vesting option is $27.5M and that Lee will get a $12.5M buyout after the 5th year. If both sources are correct then by my math at the end of 6 years Lee could get $147.5M.
So what were the Yankee and Texas offers?
The Yankees last offer was reportedly 6 years $132M with a player option for $16M in 7th year for a total of $148M over 7 years.
The Rangers last offer was reportedly 6 years $138M with an option for a seventh season.
If these numbers are accurate in the end Cliff Lee is making more per year with the Phillies $24M per year than he would of with the Rangers $23M per year or the Yankees $22M per year. If the vesting option is accurate Lee will wind up making $147.5M over 6 years rather than what he would of got with the Yankees $148M over 7 years. The Rangers option could of paid Lee more overall but without knowing the details of the option it’s hard to say by how much.
With reports already coming out with titles like “Cliff accepts deal for love, not for money” I would not be so quick to believe the hype. In the end it may have been more about the money than the love.