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Tuesday December 14, 2010 6:46 pm

Cliff Lee signs with Philadelphia Phillies, creates best rotation ever




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Cliff LeeThe Philadelphia Phillies may be the first team in history to go 162-0. In a stunning turn of events, Cliff Lee, the offseason’s most sought-after free agent, has opted to return to Philly to join Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt in the starting rotation. We’ve seen phenomenal threesomes in the past, but a group of four like this comes around once a generation. Hamels may be the number four starter on this team, which is incredible, considering he’d be an ace for half of the other teams in baseball.

Rumors floated around that Lee was upset with Philly for cutting him loose in favor of picking up Halladay. If that’s true, Lee got over it pretty well. The Phillies seemed to have learned their lesson as well, as many thought that losing Lee would only hurt when they possibly could have afforded both Lee and Halladay. They’ll get to see if that formula works next season, but at what level should the bar for success be set? With this starting four, is 70 wins too much to expect? What about 65?

Last season, these four pitchers combined for 58 wins, but only two of them pitched for Philadelphia for the full season. In 2009, only Hamels wore a Phillies jersey, and in that season the four pitchers totaled 49 wins for their respective teams. These four guys pitching for one of baseball’s best teams should easily get to 60 wins. 60 shouldn’t be the expected goal; it should be the bare minimum. Hamels’ career high is 15 wins. The other three each have 20-win seasons to their names.

But how Lee’s name can fit into the “H2O” theme remains to be seen, as does the idea that this may be the best starting rotation ever seen in baseball, but it’s already safe to say that this won’t be the worst. It can’t be the worst. Throw in the fifth starter and wins credited to the bullpen and Philadelphia becomes the team to beat in the National League. All hail the best starting rotation in baseball history: Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and that other guy.

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