Lee Shocks Everybody; Heads Back to Philly

There have already been thousands upon thousands of words devoted to the Cliff Lee signing that kept the baseball world up past its bedtime last night, and predictably I have a few thoughts myself, but also some fun pictures regarding their beastly rotation:

  • Lost in the excitement over the super rotation is the fact that Lee essentially just replaces Jayson Werth.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but Lee isn’t a pure addition to a 97-win team.  Based on Wins Above Replacement at Fangraphs.com, Lee posted 7.1 to Werth’s 5.0, so a repeat would make them a 99-win team, not a 162-win team as some of the bluster last night would’ve led you to believe.
  • As my friend Jason Collette points out, this isn’t your normal free-agent signing.Given the overall cost of bringing Lee back, perhaps we should be face slapping GM Ruben Amaro Jr. instead of backslapping him.
  • My friend Gino Barrica is the clubhouse leader on nicknames for the ridiculous rotation the Phillies now have.
  • Easy with the coronation of the Phillies (Boston’s coronation didn’t last long, did it?!) because they are far from perfect.  The bullpen needs shoring up.  After Ryan Madson, the Bridge to Lidge is shaky at best.  And hell, even when you cross it, Lidge is hardly the bastion of stability.  He strikes out the world, but also walks almost five per nine and gives up at least a home run a game.  Yes this rotation should certainly lower overall bullpen usage, but they aren’t going nine every night.
  • The lineup has a HUGE hole in it with loss of the aforementioned Werth (their OPS leader last year).  The lineup WITH Werth went through stretches of awfulness and now they are going to plug in rookie outfielder Dominic Brown.  In a tiny 62 at-bat sample last year, he looked horrible so there is some concern about him whether fair or not.  Apart from that, all of the key pieces of this lineup are 30 or older: Raul Ibanez (38), Placido Polanco (35), Jimmy Rollins (32), Chase Utley (31), Ryan Howard (31) and Shane Victorino (30).
  • OK, enough Debbie Downer…

(Note: I made all of these and while I’m more than OK with people using them in other places, I’d just ask that you link back to the source.)

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