What will Braves do now that Phillies have Lee?

Cliff Lee has reportedly opted to rejoin the Phillies. (Matt Slocum, AP)

Cliff Lee has reportedly opted to rejoin the Phillies. (Matt Slocum, AP)

Free-agent left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee has reportedly spurned the offerings of the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers and opted to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies – the team that traded him away to land Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2000, Lee is 102-61 with a 3.85 ERA in nine major league seasons. He has excelled in the postseason, going 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA for Philadelphia and Texas in the past two years, including 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA against the Yankees.

According to the Associated Press, Lee has accepted the Phillies’ preliminary offer of a $100 million, five-year contract.

Lee passed up an extra $50 million from the New York Yankees to join a rotation that includes Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt.

How does that stack up against Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens?

The deal clearly makes Philadelphia the favorites to win the N.L. East and the World Series. How should the Braves counter this move? With who? For how much?

192 comments Add your comment

Gfsf

December 14th, 2010
8:45 am

Hit him. Hard.

justin1

December 14th, 2010
8:47 am

Yep, this definately is not good news. I think its time to give up JJ to KC for Greinke. Continue the trend of sending ex-Braves to the Royals. I would be willing to give up JJ and Beachy and maybe 1 mid-level prospect for Greinke. It may be just a dream, but if we could land a deal with KC, the Phillies have something to worry about again.

mike

December 14th, 2010
8:48 am

obviously the braves will not be able to keep up in the pitching department, and there is not any pitching available that the braves coulud go after to significantly upgrade their staff. If they want to have a chance, Wren needs to find a way to milk some more $ out of Liberty and make a trade for a CF bat. The only way for the Braves to compete with Phils is have a stacked lineup. JJ/Huddy/Hanson/Lowe will give them a chance to win, but to overcome the Phils, they must improve their lineup. The best spot to do that will be CF.

Wren, your back is against the wall. Find a way to get it done.

dean

December 14th, 2010
8:50 am

Play for the division. Take the WC. Let someone else take out the Phillies in the playoffs. We go to WS. Simple.

Let's Go Bravos!

December 14th, 2010
8:51 am

Unbelievable!! This is exactly why baseball needs a salary cap. How can they possible afford to have all those pitchers, pay Howard $25M, Utley, and ROllins. It’s not even fair. Maybe the Braves can be relevant again when all their guys retire!

Realist

December 14th, 2010
8:51 am

That blows…

bill

December 14th, 2010
8:54 am

Now the Braves know what it feels like the other teams felt in the 90’s.It’s wild card or bust.

rudy

December 14th, 2010
8:56 am

can we switch division?

Asheville Dawg

December 14th, 2010
8:57 am

A curse on the Phillies for putting together what looks like a Yankees style pitching staff. May their arms all fall off.

Mike

December 14th, 2010
8:57 am

unless they have significant injuries, the braves will be playing for a wild card. baseball is a joke that teams can buy titles.

Eric

December 14th, 2010
8:57 am

I don’t think Wren’s back is against the wall. This off season he made some great moves. But I do think that we need to counter punch Phillies with some sort of move. More starting pitchers will do.

TommyP

December 14th, 2010
8:58 am

Stick to the plan and don’t make a knee-jerk deal.

Braves are looking solid for the Wild Card while also looking very good for the future.

The bullpen could be an Atlanta version of the “Nasty Boys” in time once Marek comes up.

SS

December 14th, 2010
8:59 am

Bill the braves big 3 wanted to play here and stayed here all along. the phillies go out and buy players. plus we weren’t paying crazy money like they are to 3 offensive players ya dope.

justin1

December 14th, 2010
9:01 am

Should the Braves react?…
Absolutley. Go Get Greinke!!!

justin1

December 14th, 2010
9:02 am

Cliff Lee > Dan Uggla

Puma

December 14th, 2010
9:02 am

Chill people, obviously Phillies are going to win a lot of games, but we knew that already. Although their starting staff is undeniably better, I like our starters too. A stacked rotation and stacked line up does not guarantee titles, just ask SF Giants.

mike

December 14th, 2010
9:03 am

too late now! braves needed carl crawford to counter that move! we still need more power in the outfeild

Braves fan80

December 14th, 2010
9:04 am

Phillies are turning into the Yankees of the NL.Buying other teams star pitchers with 20 million a year contracts.

Marshall

December 14th, 2010
9:04 am

@ Let’s Go Braves

Would you want someone telling you that you can only make X amount of money per year and no more? Salary cap is a bad idea from the bigger picture point of view.

South GA Dad

December 14th, 2010
9:05 am

A trade for Greinke sounds like the best move to me. Pray that one of our center fielders has a phenomenal year and that all of our pitchers stay healthy and that Fredi doesn’t wear out the relievers half way through the season. That’s about all we got at this point. Oh and pray that the injury bug bites Philly HARD!!

Worm

December 14th, 2010
9:05 am

bill nailed it-Wildcard or bust!

E-6

December 14th, 2010
9:06 am

Tommy P – right on the mark. You simply cannot outspend the 4th largest media market in the country. On paper, the Phils win the division. On paper, the Braves win about 4-5 World Series in the ’90’s. Things don’t always play out like roto stats say they should.

Eric

December 14th, 2010
9:06 am

The Phillies have become the Yankees of the NL. They just want to buy talent and World Series. I’d like to take a look at their books and see where the money is coming from. I think the Yankes and Phillies are being funded by Al Qaeda. JK. Our pitching is good enough to give us a chance to win games, it just depends on how our bats do. They way I look at it, our hitting can only get better with Pendelton gone.

Tosh.No

December 14th, 2010
9:07 am

And screw baseball again. Jesus, its not even a game anymore. It’s lets see who spent the most money this year. Won’t be watching this crap next year either. Add basketball to that list, since its pretty much the same. The NFL is the only league that isn’t completely a buy your way to victories league, but its close and I’m sure once they finish renegotiating it will be too, and I’ll be completely done with sports in America.

Tremaine

December 14th, 2010
9:10 am

As long as we got MVP canidates Nate McClouth and Jordan Schafer in center field we will be fine.

Stephen

December 14th, 2010
9:10 am

What should the Braves do? Enjoy 2nd place in the east for the next several years.

Eric

December 14th, 2010
9:11 am

I happen to agree with you Tosh. The NFL and golf are about the only sports that are bareable to watch anymore. But, money will spoil them eventually. Atlanta only the Falcons to make us look like a somewhat legit sports city. But I know the rest of the world is laughing at the Hawks for paying Joe Johnson more than LeBron James.

meh

December 14th, 2010
9:11 am

trade McLouth, Beachy, and a couple minor leaguers to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp. He, Uggla, and Gonzo will be the right handed pop to counter Lee and Hamels. McCann, Heyward, and Freeman will be the left handed pop to counter Halladay and Oswalt. bada bing, bada boom, the Braves are champs.

Jeff

December 14th, 2010
9:12 am

The Braves wont do anything because our owners do not care about winning. The Phillies have some random group of minority owners that have decided to play with the big boys. Sucks being owned by Liberty Media they have picked up where Time Warner left off.

Tyler

December 14th, 2010
9:12 am

The season is 162 games long. You got to play out the season.

I do think our team is very comparable to theirs offensively…minus a 40 homerun guy. I still think we’ll be very good in 2011, but if I were a betting man….wild-card.

It would be nice to trade for Grienke, but he’s had one good Cy Young season. I don’t think it would be much improvement over JJ who was steller in 2009.

Maybe the Yanks will come calling for pitching and we could possibly land Gardner. Give us Victorino type speed at the top of the lineup. But if McClouth bounces back to a 30+ homer season…..

Good move by Ruben and the Phillies stealth negotiations. I’m sure that fanbase will sell out another 127 games in a row. If we could do that in Atlanta, maybe we would be gifted high dollar talent like Lee.

Hudson
Lowe
Hanson
JJ
Beachy/Minor

That is still a great staff. Phillies have the edge, but we still have a GREAT staff.

Eric

December 14th, 2010
9:12 am

I think Jeter would have been the answer to the Braves winning the NL East…..

Chris

December 14th, 2010
9:14 am

It still doesn’t bother me. Yes their rotation looks very good. If healthy probably the best in baseball. But you still have to score runs and play good defense to win. They lost a clutch bat in Werth with no actual replacement in waiting. I do have a lot of respect for Cliff Lee now. He left a lot of money on the table for a chance to win a WS. The Braves rotation wasn’t anything to scoff at either last year. It was in the top 5 in ERA. It might not blow you away with power like the Phillies will, but it will still be effective nonetheless (one word?). If Chipper comes back healthy (I know thats a huge IF) and is producing like he was right before the injury, the Braves will be fine. If Wren goes out and gets an impact player because of this, fine. What I don’t want to see is the Braves panic and then do something crazy (Tex trade). A few good prospects and JJ for a Greinke or Upton would be fine. But let’s be patient and see what we have before we start tinkering and throwing good young players away.

Chief Knockahoma

December 14th, 2010
9:14 am

Wow. That could be the best rotation is baseball history. Lace em up tight boys.

Double A

December 14th, 2010
9:14 am

This hurts if you’re a Braves fan!!

MLB is not competitive under the current salary structure. The big market teams have an extreme advantage over everyone else($$$), which allows them to reload every year.

The smaller market clubs have to load up on prospects and time it out to where they are all hitting their stride at the MLB level together.

The Braves, with a mid-level payroll, are somewhere in between. We can only afford mid-tier free agents and are too scared to trade away established vets for young talent under the fear of sinking into levels of despair comfortable only to the Washington Nats. Basically, we can’t afford to miss, because our medium payroll will then be tied up on losers that don’t produce (*cough* Lowe, Kawakami, McClouth *cough*).

It’s hard to stomach, but the Braves are only an upper-middle level team that has no hope of a World Series without the addition of an MVP caliber position player or a true power-arm ACE in the mold of Halladay, Lincecum, Lee, etc. The problem is that we cannot afford to add an established player, so we should all start praying for luck in farm system.

Blackberry Cobbler

December 14th, 2010
9:14 am

The Braves are going to do what they always do………… put together a lineup and pitching staff with retreads and duct tape. The Phils have Cliff Lee. The Braves will do nothing as always.

Tyler

December 14th, 2010
9:14 am

Trade Lowe to the Yanks and then trade for Grienke.

WinderDogg

December 14th, 2010
9:15 am

Continue to spend less money than everyone else and at the end of the season sit back and realize what they got for spending so little while being happy with an almost season….

wait that was this year….so I expect no changes in the future

randyarnold

December 14th, 2010
9:15 am

Braves are playing for the wild card, even if Chipper plays 140 games. Would a Jurrjens for Greinke deal make sense? Probably so (and the Braves would probably have to throw in a relief pitcher). Greinke’s social anxiety probably wouldn’t be a factor in Atlanta since people don’t show up for games anyway.

DO NOT TRADE JURRJENS

December 14th, 2010
9:15 am

Trading Jurrjens will be the biggest mistake in the world.Its not wrens fault,its that stupid owner who dont even care whats going in atlanta.I bet he doesnt even see that lee is going to philly.He probably doesnt even know who cliff lee is.

DO NOT TRADE JURRJENS

December 14th, 2010
9:16 am

why do you all think grenke is better than JJ????

jasont13

December 14th, 2010
9:16 am

To the person who said Frank Wren made some great moves this off season. Name them as I can only think of one and it will not be a GREAT move until Uggla is signed to a long term deal.

Dick

December 14th, 2010
9:16 am

Tosh.no is correct. With high unemployment and homeless people being turned away from shelters, we continue to have sports figures signing obscene contracts. There is no level playing field, and fans seem to be ok with that as long as their team ’s owners have the deepest pockets.

WinderDogg

December 14th, 2010
9:16 am

See if we can get Faith Hill to sing this year instead of Sara Evans….I think that will help

jasont13

December 14th, 2010
9:17 am

It’s said when the Nationals have more money to pony up than the Braves. What a has been organization.

Sean

December 14th, 2010
9:17 am

To all of you sore Braves fans, this is not a team buying a championship. Lee turned down 50 mil from the Yankees to come to the Phils. He just loves cheesesteaks I guess!

PMC

December 14th, 2010
9:17 am

Rember that the Phillies couldn’t hit at all in the Playoffs and that first baseman has a hole in his swing that is Francouer sized at times.

If the Braves were healthy they could easily have won the World Series the way it shook out this year.

Just go play. Hit and pitch, if they win the division, get in on the WC and then go win the WS. The Braves will still be a 90+ win team next year.

jasont13

December 14th, 2010
9:20 am

Major League Baseball has a luxury tax which helps bank roll other teams. What I see is teams get this money and instead of taking that money and investing it in the product on the field it goes right into the owners pockets. Like the old saying “sometimes you have to pay to get good results”.

Bob Horner had a big fro

December 14th, 2010
9:20 am

Bad news for the Braves AND baseball. The lack of a salary cap is killing MLB. There should just be a playoffs now between the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox and just let everyone else play for the final spots. If I live in cities like KC, San Diego, Seattle, Milw., Miami… I don’t even get excited about the season.

For the Braves, our pitching is very good – maybe good enough. Closer is a concern, but more of a concern is lack of a lead off man and CF. We really need a good CF and back up plan for Chipper. Otherwise, we will just hope we don’t have injuries and pray for rain when Lee is scheduled to pitch.

Outside Observer

December 14th, 2010
9:21 am

This is crazy talk but…
Ask Chipper to retire and stay on as a coach. Then spend his money on Beltre. Great hitter who seems to be a little undervalued on the market right now.

Jesus

December 14th, 2010
9:22 am

As a true Braves fan, the news I recieved last night while crossing the days off until spring training was a kidney punch. Over the last two weeks, I was not worried about the Phillies getting Lee, then in a span of four hours, he was back in there rotation. My first thought: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!. My second thought: How will the Phillies lose 55-60 games year?? And finally my third thought: Can we make a move now for Grienke? I realize over the last decade or so, we don’t make reactionary moves. This situation should be different. We are in a position to compete for the division and gaining a pitcher the calibur of CG would be hepful. Any objection of giving up Minor and or Beachy to get him? Make the move Wren, do not let the Phillies punk us before the season even starts….