Reaction As Pride Of Benton Shocks Sports World

14 Dec

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Philadelphia Phillies surprise signing of Benton-native, former Arkansas Razorback standout, and postseason ace Cliff Lee to a 5-year/$120 million contract today, even after weeks of being led to believe he’d end up back with the Texas Rangers or opt for the most money with the New York Yankees. Here’s a smattering of national reaction following the free agency shocker: 

Jayson Stark, ESPN: Of all the crazy free-agent sagas in baseball history, where would we rank this one? Of all the nutty, convoluted, out-of-the-wild-blue-yonder twists and turns in any free agent’s plot line, who could top this one? Apparently, a wise man once told Cliff Lee that what goes around, comes around — because one very mixed up year later, he’s come right back around to the very same Phillies team that traded him, didn’t want him and broke his heart.

Ian O’Connor, ESPN NewYork: But out of left field Monday night, the City of Brotherly Love broke up the near-certain pinstriped brotherhood of Sabathia and Lee. Philadelphia pulled another Rocky Balboa and threw one of the most improbable punches in the history of the great American sport known as free agency.

Jon Paul Morosi, FoxSports: I’ll be honest. I was jaw-on-the-keyboard flabbergasted by what transpired late Monday and early Tuesday. I haven’t been this surprised by baseball since . . . uh . . . the last time I saw Cliff Lee pitch. The Giants. Edgar Renteria. Remember?

Andy Martino, New York Daily News: The Yankees would have given Lee not just more money, but the security of knowing he would not ever be stuck for long on an irrelevant team. The Phillies might be great next year, and a rotation beginning with Halladay, Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt sounds like one of the best ever. But what if it doesn’t immediately click, due to injuries or inconsistency or other human frailty (remember, that group without Lee was supposed to win a World Series this year)?

Joel Sherman, New York Post: This is an era in Yankees history that will be defined by what they have done without Cliff Lee. Because twice, they were on the doorstep of acquiring the ace and now have twice been spurned — or two more times than they anticipated.

Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News: Ultimately, the New York Yankees did not beat the Rangers out for Cliff Lee. That will have to be the Rangers’ consolation prize. Lee informed Rangers officials late Monday night that he would be accepting a five-year contract from the Philadelphia Phillies , for whom he pitched the last half of the 2009 season. The deal gives Lee a chance to hit in the National League, which he enjoyed, and gives him a place to pitch where he and his family felt comfortable.

Jeff Wilson, Dallas Morning News: “Let’s give the guy some credit,” Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. “How many people criticize players for running after the last dollar? Cliff didn’t do that. He made a decision for other reasons, and I have to respect that.” The Rangers are believed to have offered Lee six years at more than $20 million annually last week as CEO Chuck Greenberg, assistant general manager Thad Levine and co-majority owner Ray Davis met with the Lee camp Thursday in Arkansas.


One Response to “Reaction As Pride Of Benton Shocks Sports World”


  1. World Spinner - December 14, 2010

    Reaction As Pride Of Benton Shocks Sports World | Blue Hog Report ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……


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