O Batter, Where Art Thou?

I don’t know if you guys were aware, but Cliff Lee is really good at throwing baseballs. We seem to have forgotten this in the hype over the frankly insane notion that it might be wise to trade Cliff Lee to…some other team for some other ballplayer. But that has not come to pass, thank God. Tonight? Seven innings, no runs, five hits, one walk, seven strikeouts, and with the bat, 1-for-3 with a stolen base, a run and an RBI. A “screw you for even thinking about trading me” performance if ever I saw one.

We’ve all wondered how Cliff Lee became so good at baseball.  When Lee rejoined the Philliesin 2011, he caught a ride to Spring Training with Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. Lee told Hamels, Rollins and Howard during that car ride.

Cliff Lee: You folks going past Clearwater?
Cole Hamels: Sure, hop in.
Jimmy Rollins: How you doin’, son? Name’s Jimmy. These two soggy sons of bitches are Cole and Ryan. Keep your fingers away from Ryan’s mouth, he ain’t eaten for 13 years, ‘cept Subway footlongs, cheese steaks and grooved fastballs.
Cliff Lee: Thanks for the lift, sir. My name’s Cliff. Cliff Lee.
Hamels: How you doin’, Cliff? Say, I haven’t seen a ballclub here for miles. What’re are you doing out in the middle of nowhere?
Cliff Lee: I had to be at that crossroads last midnight. Sell my soul to the devil.
Rollins: Ain’t it a small world, spiritually speakin’? Cole and Ryan just been baptized and saved. I guess I’m the only one still unaffiliated!
Hamels: This ain’t no laughing matter, Jimmy.
Rollins: What’d the devil give you for your soul, Cliff?
Lee: Well, he taught me to throw this here baseball real good.
Hamels: Oh, son, for that you traded your everlasting soul?
Lee: Well, I wasn’t usin’ it.
Howard: I’ve always wondered, what’s the devil look like?
Rollins: Well, of course, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Ryan, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail and he carries a hayfork.
Lee: Oh, no, sir. He’s half-Mexican, half-Jewish. With empty eyes, and a big hollow ego.  And he travels around with an enormous sack of money and no grasp of the long-term consequences of his actions.
Howard: And he told you to go to Clearwater?
Lee: Well, no, sir. That was my idea. I heard there’s a man down there–he pays folks money to pitch for his baseball team. They say he pays ’em extra if’n they pitch real good.
Rollins: Clearwater, huh? How much he pay?


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  1. BradInDC

    July 31, 2012 11:02 PM

    Who plays the Stephen Root role? Charlie I guess. He also lucked into a big successful group of guys.

  2. Hog

    August 01, 2012 04:26 AM

    But why would you want a pitcher the quality of Lee when we could get a prospect I’d never heard of from the Rangers? This article confuses me.

  3. hk

    August 01, 2012 05:58 AM


    In a vacuum, trading Lee for one or more prospects might not make sense, especially not for 2013. However, when you consider that Lee is about to turn 34, that the Phillies are going to pay him $95M over the next 3 seasons + 2 months and that the team may have an actual payroll limit, is it really confusing as to why they would at least pursue the idea of trading Lee for the prospect(s) and the savings such a trade would provide? Cliff Lee is great and I love that he’s on the Phillies, but if your choices for spending approximately the same money on SP, 3B and CF are (a) Cliff Lee + some combo of Polanco, Galvis and next year’s versions of Wigginton and Fontenot + Mayberry or something like (b) Anibal Sanchez + Mike Olt + Michael Bourn, don’t you at least have to consider whether (b) > (a)?

  4. Ryan

    August 01, 2012 02:41 PM


    They can have option (c) Lee + third baseman x (quite possibly Polanco) + Michael Bourn now that they cleared some salary and got two more low salary players on the big league roster for next season (DBrown and Lindblom). I don’t know if Olt would be appreciably better than Polanco next season. In future seasons–probably, but for next season, who knows? Keeping Cliff Lee fits in a lot better with trying to reload and win while we still have Doc and Utley, Howard, Rollins, and Ruiz aren’t completely finished (thinking positively).

  5. hk

    August 01, 2012 03:13 PM


    I agree that there are more options than just the two I noted. I was just pointing out that, if they traded Lee for a package headlined by Olt, it would not have been done because they felt that Olt was a better baseball player than Lee. I am glad that they kept Lee, but I am also glad that RAJ was at least seeking some alternative, even out of the box, ways to move forward.

  6. Alan Silver

    August 01, 2012 03:19 PM

    not a comment but – please weed out dead links on your bloglists – thanks! xoxoxo homies

  7. Hog

    August 01, 2012 06:59 PM


    I get what you mean but personally I don’t like trading known high ability for potential. Sure you have to be open to all reasonable offers but what are the chances of Olt being as good at third base as Lee is at pitching? I’d say pretty low. There is a time to dump salary but I reckon unless the guy is useless try and get something half decent in return.

  8. Allen

    August 01, 2012 07:34 PM


    I think Jimmy must have heard you, mashing taters left and right.

  9. simpsone4

    August 01, 2012 10:42 PM


    This may be the best one of these you’ve done yet. Bravo, sir.

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