Lee's always been an incredible bargain, but payday's coming soon
NEW YORK -- Every trade or signing that's involved underrated pitching star
The Phillies will surely try to lock up Lee this winter, and he has a chance to become the game's fourth $100 million pitcher, joining
The undervaluing of Lee, who makes $5.75 million this year (or just under half
That may be the best trade for prospects in a quarter century. But another great trade was yet to come.
First came the great signing in 2006. Lee inked a long-term deal ($15 million for four years) that gave him security, and he looked very wise to do so after he was sent to the minors to work out some kinks when he was hurt two years ago. But now that he's won a Cy Young Award, blown through the National League playoffs with a 0.74 ERA and dominated a stacked Yankees lineup in his World Series debut, he looks like the biggest bargain in baseball once again.
This summer, when several teams were looking for pitching but prospects were at a premium, the Phillies landed Lee for four solid-to-good minor leaguers in what might be the trade of the year. The Indians received pitchers
Though, Lee's already made Philly's side of it worth it. Lee has been underappreciated for years, but that should change now that he has shown his stuff on the big stage.
Perhaps it's that he throws only 92 mph and relies on control and a varied repertoire. The Phillies' scouting staff, including
Finally, it looks like Lee's primed for a major payday this winter. The Indians passed last winter, knowing their small-market dollars wouldn't do the trick. But Philly knows what it has in Lee, and more to the point, it has the loot after two straight World Series appearances.
Before Lee became a one-man postseason dynamo, it was presumed he'd shoot to be in the range of
As for who makes a fair comp, the friend said in mid-gem Wednesday night, "Looks like the comp is on the mound the next inning." That was a not-so-subtle hint at
So Lee has actually outpitched CC over two years, not just one game.
However, even if Lee is viewed as comparable to Sabathia (and the numbers indicate he is), there are a couple differences that favor Sabathia. CC was only 28 when he signed the richest pitching deal, whereas Lee is 31. Also, Sabathia was a free agent, whereas the Phillies hold a bargain $9 million option for 2010, which is as good as exercised already.
Two agents (not Lee's guy) offered their take on Lee's value during his brilliant, 122-pitch Game 1 mastery that included 10 strikeouts, no walks, an unearned run and some eye-catching plays.
Agent No. 1: "His option is obviously a bargain ... But the question is, what will the market bear for him? He is a few years older than CC but is elite and a proven big-game winner. He's still not seen as the overwhelming force with the infinitely high ceiling, so I would put him behind Johan and CC and I would guess $18 to $20 million a year for five years."
Agent No. 2: "He will get less than Zito or he will have to wait. He will get five ... $15 to $17 million."
The contract that gave him peace of mind when he struggled so unexpectedly in 2007 contains that option, which delays free agency until after 2010 and could prevent him from getting well into nine figures. The guess here is that Philly adds $91 million over five years, making it an even $100 million over six. Whatever they give him, with Lee's obvious drive and repertoire, it will probably turn out to be another bargain in a career of them.
Former Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt -- Frank fired her earlier this month -- said in divorce papers she'll need nearly $500,000 a month if she's out of the Dodgers, and $332,000 if she's in.
"It's a real mess," one MLB power said.
There is a lot of ugliness here, but lawyers say the key claim by Frank McCourt could be that Jamie signed a post-nuptial agreement giving control of the team to him. No surprise, she doesn't' quite see it that way. She's apparently going to claim she didn't' know what she was signing. With her being a lawyer, it seems like a tough case. But other lawyers still seem to think she has a shot.
If Frank McCourt wins the case, it appears he might have a chance to keep the team. But if the team is split into two, it's going to be tough for either of them to wrest control (though she is said by Los Angelenos in high places to have more good relationships with the well-healed of L.A.)
If she wins her case, the team will be considered community property, and we may have a repeat of the San Diego situation, where club owner
"We could be headed for Moores-ville," the MLB big said.
Mets ownership is loading up at the top of their hierarchy, talking VP of scouting
The question isn't anymore whether Minaya retains "full autonomy" but rather if he has any at all. With ownership planning to hire yet another senior level executive, one Mets official said all the front-office plans seem to be "setting the stage" for Minaya's eventual ouster.
Minaya's three-year contract (for $3.5 million) may be keeping him employed for now. But one Mets official said, "No way he lasts the three years."
Gillick had the inside track anyway. Gillick originally drafted Werth with the Orioles and also had Werth's stepfather,
"I always thought (Werth) had a lot of potential and that he'd been hampered by a wrist injury," Gillick said. Werth wound up needing two wrist surgeries when the first didn't take.
Gillick also knew that his mother was
"He has good genes," Gillick said.
• There were no big umpiring incidents in Game 1, and the one controversial call was discussed in a huddle before the umpires got it right. They correctly called a double play when
• One reason
• Sabathia looks like he's almost assured of going in Game 4 and then again 7 (if necessary), but the Yankees may yet want to see how
• Though the Nationals have expressed interest in
• But Rollins' prediction of Phillies in five is still in play.