The Philadelphia Phillies stunned the baseball world on Monday night, agreeing to a contract with Cliff Lee for substantially less than the New York Yankees or Texas Rangers offered, multiple major-league sources confirmed to FOXSports.com.
Sources told FOXSports.com early Tuesday morning that Lee has agreed to a five-year contract worth $120 million. A vesting option worth $27.5 million for the 2016 season could bring the maximum value of the deal to $135 million over six years.
Lee was widely expected to sign with the Rangers or Yankees. That presumption was shattered Monday evening, in the hours after FOXSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal reported that the Phillies were still involved in the bidding for the left-hander.
"It’s disappointing, but we knew this was a possibility," Texas general manager Jon Daniels told FOXSports.com shortly after midnight. "We still like our club, and expect to improve it further. It’s hard to argue with his decision. They went to a spot they like. They have a chance to win. And they left money on the table. How many players can say that? We’ll move on now."
How much money did Lee leave on the table?
Well, sources told FOXSports.com that the Yankees and Rangers each made Lee two offers.
The Yankees offered Lee his choice of a six-year, $138 million deal or a seven-year, $148 million contract, including a player option.
The Rangers also offered Lee six years, $138 million, but with significant deferrals. The Rangers’ other offer was for six years, $120 million. Both proposals included a vesting option for a seventh
Lee’s $24 million average annual value will be the highest ever for a pitcher on a multi-year deal. The Yankees paid Roger Clemens a prorated portion of $28 million to pitch part of the season in 2007.
Philadelphia now boasts what – on paper – appears to be one of the best starting foursomes in modern baseball history: Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
The Phillies, needing to clear payroll to accommodate the addition of Lee, were deep in discussions Monday on a trade that would send right-hander Joe Blanton to the Red Sox, according to a source.
Blanton is set to earn $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons. The Phillies would either include cash in the deal or take another salary in return, the source said.
Check back with FOXSports.com frequently for further details.