I got an early Christmas present on December 14, 2010. Here is what the New York Times had to say at the time:
All along, the Yankees knew they were fighting the Texas Rangers for Cliff Lee. But they also had a sense of dread, a feeling that a stealth team might steal the latest pitcher of their dreams. They had reason to be worried.
The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to terms late Monday night with Lee, the prized left-hander who pitched for them in the 2009 World Series, according to a baseball executive told of the deal. The executive was granted anonymity so he could speak freely about a contract that was not completed.
The contract is believed to be for five years and $120 million (or $24 million a year) with a vesting option for a sixth year based on innings pitched. The baseball executive said the Yankees initially offered Lee six years for $138 million (or $23 million a year), then extended the offer to seven years at $148 million...
Lee also had a strong offer from the Rangers, although it was not as lavish as either the bid from the Yankees or the Phillies.
It was Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, who informed the Yankees that Lee was headed to Philadelphia, where he never wanted to leave after his dominant 2009 postseason run.
Meanwhile, Jon Daniels, the Rangers’ general manager, told MLB.com that Lee was the one who called him to deliver the bad news. Lee helped the Rangers reach their first World Series in October, but now he is gone.
“People rag on players for following that last dollar,” Daniels said. “Cliff didn’t do that. I have a lot of respect for him."