I guess I'm on board with most people who think that the Phillies made themselves World Series favorites by picking up Cliff Lee on Wednesday. With Cole Hamels pitching great again -- the Phillies are 5-0 in his last five starts -- and Joe Blanton pitching really well since late May (5-1, 2.31 ERA in last 11 starts), and the Phillies having scored 40 more runs than anyone else in the league … yeah, I think Cliff Lee makes them awfully good.
But here's what really strikes me: Lee has really been just about as good as Roy Halladay since the beginning of the 2008 season … and the Phillies got him for A LOT less.
Lee: 29-12, 2.78 ERA, 375 IP, 277 Ks, 67 walks, 22 homers, 160 ERA+
Halladay: 31-15, 2.74 ERA, 394 IP, 335 Ks, 59 walks, 29 homers, 156 ERA+
Not only did the Phillies get Lee without giving up Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ, you also have to note that Lee will make A LOT less money than Halladay over the next year and a half. According to the indispensable Cot's …
Lee: Prorated $5.75 million this year; club option for $8 million in 2010
Halladay: Prorated $14.75 million this year; $15.75 million in 2010
Halladay is incredible, we all know that. But Lee is a little younger, a lot cheaper, left-handed, undervalued and pretty awesome himself. There might be this sense among some that Lee is not quite as good as he has pitched the last two years, and let's face it there are still people in baseball swayed by a pitcher's win-loss record (Lee is 7-9 this year). But, basically, I don't think the Phillies could have done much better.