Monday, March 7, 2011

Phillies' camp all about Cliff Lee

As the Philadelphia Phillies opened camp for spring training, everyone looking at March Madness odds knew there would be a lot of media attention. Afterall, the Phillies are a World Series contender and are loaded with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers.

But as it turns out, most of the attention from March Madness Betting pundits is on one guy. The newest guy, Cliff Lee. He is also the guy who many expect will help the Phillies win another World Series in 2011.

So despite a starting rotation of Roy Halladay, who is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, who have World Series rings and Roy Oswalt, who has more 20-win seasons and All-Star game appearances than Lee, everyone is talking and following Lee.

It makes sense seeing as how the team landed his talents. The Phillies stunned the baseball world when they lured Lee away from the Texas Rangers and out of the grasp of the New York Yankees. When you pull off something like that, it turns Lee into an instant rock star and home town hero.

Lee got a taste of the World Series with the Phillies in ’09 and the Rangers last year. But he didn’t win a title and he chose Philadelphia because he wants to get over that hump in Philly.

This will be the second stint with the Phillies for Lee. He first joined the Phillies in 2009 in a trade with Cleveland. He had a sensational postseason, going 4-0 and earning two wins in the World Series. But the Yankees won the title in the end.

Lee never actually wanted to leave Philadelphia, but the team feared it wouldn’t be able to afford him when his contract was up after the season. So, he was dealt to Seattle on the same day Halladay was acquired from Toronto. The Phillies then tried to reacquire Lee last July, but ended up getting Oswalt from Houston instead.

Now the Phillies have all of those pitchers in their lineup and easily possess the scariest pitching staff in baseball.

The most exciting part for Lee heading into the 2011 season is he can simply focus on pitching again. Lee doesn’t have to worry about trade rumours or wonder where he’ll end up going in the summer this time. He is with the Phillies for the full season and one that he hopes ends with his first World Series title.

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