Phillies began long-term extension talks with Lee

According to Mark J. Miller of Yahoo Sports, the Phillies have begun preliminary talks with ace Cliff Lee about a contract extension.

The Philadelphia Phillies got Cliff Lee this summer and knew he was good, but didn’t know he’d be that good. The guy cruised through the postseason, making behind-the-back catches, stealing a base, seemingly annoying former Phils ace Cole Hamels, and, of course, racking up wins. He went 4-0 in five starts with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason after going 7-4 in 12 starts for Philadelphia in the regular season.

The Phils would love Lee to continue doing that last one for them for a long time to come and the team and Lee’s agent have apparently entered into talks on a possible long-term contract, according to New York Newsday. Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, says that he and the team have had “very preliminary talks” about an extension.

I’ve always been of the mindset that if a club trades multiple prospects for a player that they should lock said player up long-term. After all, if that player was worth giving up part of your future, then he should be worth a long-term investment.

Lee was brilliant for the Phillies last year and there’s no reason to think that he can’t be great again over the course of a full season. Philadelphia is built to win now, so it would make sense that they lock up their ace with an extension.

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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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