The Big Gamble

The first big splash in this offseason came from the Washington Nationals signing Jayson Werth, for a Barry Zito sized contract over seven years.  This left a hole in the Phillies lineup, zapping all of their power from the right side of the plate.  Would they pick up another big bopper, do they trust the emergence of Domonic Brown, or do they do the unthinkable?  I don’t know anyone that could have predicted Cliff Lee going to the Phillies; after all, the Yankees were involved in a free agent signing.  While the Yankees are going through boxes of Kleenex after the signing was announced, the Phillies are sipping on champagne.  Don’t I sound like ESPN giving the World Series to the Phillies already, hold on a minute, let’s look at the facts.

I am not trying to deny that Lee is not a Cy Young type of pitcher, but there are still holes that are left in the Phillies team.  How did Cliff Lee do in his first stint with the Phillies?  He posted a 7-4 record with a 3.39 E.R.A.  What were Cliff Lee’s most recent pitching statistics?  Who could forget the Giants thrashing him in the World Series for a 0-2 record with a 6.94 E.R.A.?  The Phillies rotation will be rock solid, Halladay and Oswalt will be turning 34 this year, and the lefty Hamels will fill out the top four in their rotation.  All of the media outlets are giving them the pennant this year, but there are other teams with outstanding pitching, how about the San Francisco Giants.  Another aspect that is not discussed, are the teams that are going to be played within the division.  The Rangers were the top team in the AL West last year no question about it, but how about the other teams in the division.  It was almost as if the other teams were swinging wiffle ball bats against Lee.  The light hitting Mariners, Athletics, and Angels were no match for Lee.  The new division, the AL East has a bunch of teams with power bats, in particular the Braves who upgraded their lineup by getting Uggla, the Mets…ehhh, the Marlins are a bunch of boppers, and let’s not forget Werth’s new team the Nationals have some power as well.  Look for Lee to be dominant, but I don’t think he will win the Cy Young award.

Here is a sneak peek for next year’s NL Center winner.  My winner for the Central this year will be the Brewers, mark it down! They are finally getting pitching with the additions of Marcum and Greinke today.  Their lineup is one of the best in the league; watch out for the Brew Crew this year.

Harrison Ellman writes exclusively for CloudFantasy.  Email him here

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