In a rather surprising move, the Philadelphia Phillies swooped in out of nowhere and signed Cliff Lee to a five-year, $120 million deal on Monday night and are now the favorites to win the 2011 World Series.
According to latest MLB future odds and online sports book Sportsbook.com, the Phillies are 7/2 to win next year’s World Series. That number betters the Boston Red Sox (5/1) and New York Yankees (6/1), as well as the defending world champion San Francisco Giants (12/1).
The Yankees and Rangers (20/1) were the two teams that appeared to be most likely to land Lee this winter. Everyone believed that he would either take the money and go to the Yankees, or take a lesser deal and wind up with the team he helped get to the World Series last year in the Rangers.
Instead, he decided to return to a place where he as comfortable, although not Texas. Lee had a great deal of success with the Phillies in the second half of the 2009 season and helped them make it to the World Series that year, where they eventually lost to the Yankees. He now joins a rotation that already features Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels to form a starting four of aces. It’s truly an unbelievable pitching staff.
It’ll be interesting to hear whether or not Lee spurned the Yankees because of the way his wife was treated during a game at Yankee Stadium when her husband was a member of the other team. According to reports, fans yelled obscenities at his wife and generally harrased her throughout the game.
But hey, at least those Yankee fans can sit back and watch A.J. Burnett pitch instead of Lee.