According to multiple reports, Cliff Lee is set to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies for something in the neighborhood of 5 years and $120 million. Setting aside for the moment the fact that the Phillies may now have one of the best rotations in history (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, and the fifth guy seriously doesn’t matter), this is slightly bad news for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs’ primary target right now is pitcher Matt Garza, and with Lee going to Philadelphia rather than Texas, the competition for Garza will increase. The Cubs are already expected to face competing bids from the Brewers and Nationals, among others, and the Rangers are a hungry team that’s going to be ready to pull the trigger on a serious offer to get some pitching. At a minimum, the asking price for Garza just went up – and it might just have gone out of the Cubs’ prospect price range.
On the plus side, with Lee signed, you can expect things to heat up. A number of teams and free agents have been waiting until the Lee issue was settled to make moves. Now that it’s taken care of, the Cubs might be able to start improving the club.
Oh, and let the speculation about Carlos Zambrano being traded to the Yankees begin…