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CLiff Lee Returns to Philly! Who Says You Can't Go Home?

For the second time in as many years, a top of the line, top of the rotation pitcher has left a ton of money on the table to come play for the Philadelphia Phillies.  Cliff Lee is about to accept a 5-year, $120 Million contract to re-join the Philadelphia Phillies team that shipped him to Seattle nearly one year ago.  How did this happen?   

A team emerged last week as a contender in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.  For a while it was believed to be the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals were throwing inordinate amounts of money around this offseason, and the thought was that going after Cliff Lee would complement their overpayment for Jayson Werth and show a commitment to winning.   

On Monday, things became clearer, and rumors began to swirl.  Men emerged from shadows.  And suddenly it was the Phillies name being tossed around as the the third team.  Late last evening, it was reported that even though the Phillies could not match the money of the other teams, they were thought to be a player by Lee.   

Cliff Lee received offers from the New York Yankees for somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 years, $150 million.  The Texas Rangers reportedly offered him 6 years, $130 million.  Apparently Lee really did enjoy his time in Philly, and obviously the man has character.  He wants to win, and he just left $50 million on the table to do it.  Much like Roy Halladay did last year when he accepted a 3 year, $60 million offer from the Phillies.   

A year ago the Philadelphia Phillies completed a pair of blockbuster trades that left the fans of Philadelphia wondering "what if?"  On the same day the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay, they traded away Cliff Lee.  Instead of assembling what would be regarded as the best rotation in baseball with both Halladay and Lee, the Phillies put their chips on Doc Halladay.  And that paid off.  Halladay won the Cy Young this year.  But the Phillies had to make another move to acquire Roy Oswalt to bolster their rotation.  A move that many saw as admitting the mistake in trading Lee.  The team even made a play for Lee at this year's trade deadline.  Oswalt came to Philly instead and the Phillies went on to surge in the second half.   

But the Phillies seemed to miss something this post season.  Perhaps it was Lee's swagger?  The same swagger that carried them through the 2009 MLB playoffs in dominating fashion.   

The starting rotation of the Philadelphia Phillies will now be, Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels.  Amazing coup by the Phillies.  Most people thought the Phillies would have a quiet offseason with no punch.  Well, take that.  The Phillies land the knockout blow.   

The Winner and still MLB Hot Stove Champion... The Philadelphia Phillies.

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