Phillies pick up Lee’s $9 million option


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It was a pleasure to watch Cliff Lee during the playoffs. The Phillies left-hander flaunted a studly 1.56 ERA in five starts, finishing 4-0. When the Phillies aquired Lee in late July for four minor leaguers, the former Indian went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA. Given his success, it’s the no wonder the Phillies have decided to pick up his $9 million option for the 2010 season.

The 31 year-old is a perfect fit for a Phillies club that suddenly lost it’s pitching prowess. Throughout the year, the Phillies dealt with a shaky rotation. Every pitcher on their roster was a risk factor, exluding Lee: Cole Hamels couldn’t find the groove he had in 2008; Joe Blanton lacked confidence in big games; Pedro Martinez couldn’t give you a full nine; Jamie Moyer was hurt; J.A. Happ was a sensation the team couldn’t trust; Brett Myers was still Brett Myers. Cliff Lee brings a calmness and a confidence to a Phillies team with dynasty potential.

Although Lee’s contract expires after next season, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is open to signing the former Cy Young winner to a long-term deal similar to Yankees zillionaire CC Sabathia. The Phillies have a slew of free agents to juggle, but keeping Lee was obviously a priority. The organization needs to decide what they’re going to do with Pedro Feliz, Matt Stairs, Scott Eyre, Chan Ho Park, Myers, and Martinez. Also of concern are the the expected raises coming to Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin, and Blanton.

I think the Phillies team of next year will look similar to the team that lost to Yankees in this recent World Series. Feliz, Moyer, Stairs, Eyre, and Myers might not be back, but the Phillies should contend for another championship.

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