Thanks to MLB Network for allowing me to post this video. Earlier today, the network aired a live special on the signing of Cliff Lee by the Philadelphia Phillies surprising the baseball world. The development occured late Monday night and on Tuesday, analysts were still scratching their heads on how the New York Yankees lost their most prized free agent to the Phillies.
Mitch Williams, Bob Costas and Peter Gammons all discussed what the signing means for the Phillies and where it will lead them. We have some quotage first, then the video.
ON CLIFF LEE SIGNING WITH THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES:BOB COSTAS:“Obviously, Cliff Lee was going to be rich no matter what, so he cashes in big time. But when money is not the only thing, then it restores some of your confidence that there are other factors. That’s part of what free agency is supposed to be about. It isn’t just about money, it’s about selecting your circumstances. What if you want to live closer at home? What if a particular city appeals to you? What if you prefer the National League over the American League or if you want to join a contending team? There are lots of considerations that should go into free agency other than money. In this case, although money was a factor, the fact that it wasn’t the single dominant factor is kind of refreshing.”PETER GAMMONS:“This is a great team with great personality. Why not take the chance and acquire Cliff Lee? The numbers of those four starters are outstanding. You have the top three of the five active pitchers in terms of strikeout-to-walk ratios.”“In terms of dominance, this rotation has the chance to be the best. They throw strikes and they keep their team in the game. ….When you’re around all the Phillies, this is a team you love to be with. Cliff Lee was thinking, ‘I like to hunt, fish, live in Arkansas, I don’t need to have more money than Tyson chicken. I want to finish my career and be really happy. I’ve never been happier than I was with the Phillies, I think I’m going to go back there’…. This is one of the greatest teams a player can ever hope to play with. I think he absolutely took this for the right reasons.”MITCH WILLIAMS:“I think it’s a chemistry in the clubhouse. You can go out and buy players. You can’t go out and buy a team. A “team” is a word that describes how a group of individuals work together. In Philadelphia, they work together well and there isn’t a bunch of egos running around on the field. … There have been a lot of great ballplayers that you wouldn’t want to spend time with. The guys in Philadelphia are truly good guys. It’s a situation where Cliff is very comfortable.”“That’s typical Ruben Amaro Jr. You don’t hear a thing about it until the deal is done. Ruben is one of the best I’ve ever seen at running silent or ‘Don’t announce a thing until it’s done.’”BOB COSTAS ON WHETHER PHILADELPHIA’S ROTATION IS NOW THE BEST OF ALL-TIME:“Philadelphia’s pitching staff is going to be in the argument. Of course, they have to go out and do it and a lot of things can happen. Injuries and off-years, but potentially, they’ve got a staff that will be in the argument with the best of all-time. One that immediately comes to mind is the 1954 Cleveland Indians, with Early Wynn and Bob Lemon in the prime of their career years. Bob Feller was still very effective, Art Houtteman, Don Mossi, that was an awesome rotation. In 1971, the Baltimore Orioles had four 20-game winners. … But I think [Roy] Oswalt or [Cole] Hamels are probably better than the Orioles’ fourth starter, Pat Dobson. Potentially, this Phillies’ rotation, if everyone maxes out, is about as good as any in the modern history of the game.”BOB COSTAS ON THE IMPACT OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES:“They took a swing and missed. … I don’t think it’s a disaster, but it’s a disappointment. I don’t think the Yankees are going to get much sympathy, considering the advantages they have every year and the run of success they’ve had. Outside the talk show callers in New York, I don’t think they’re going to get much sympathy.”BOB COSTAS ON WHETHER PHILADELPHIA IS THE WORLD SERIES FAVORITE:“If you were talking about the old, straight pennant race days where over 162 games the best team would generally prevail, I’d say the Phillies are the World Series favorites. Or even when it was two divisions and you played eventually a seven-game League Championship Series, you might say that. But now, it’s such a gauntlet that you have to run. Would I be surprised if the Phillies don’t win the National League East? Yes, I’d be surprised. …But now anything can happen in a short series in the Postseason.
Now the video.
That’s going to do it for this post.