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Cliff Lee

Alongside news of the upcoming Boston Marathon, sports stories continue to dominate headlines.  Cliff Lee is a major league baseball pitcher, a left hander currently playing for the Texas Rangers of the American League. He has played for several teams over the past few years as his current contract gets set to expire and he gets set to enter free agency. In 2009, he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies and won two games in the World Series against the New York Yankees, who eventually ended up winning the championship. In the offseason of that year, Philadelphia dealt him to the Seattle Mariners; many felt Philadelphia didn't like their chances of being able to resign him, and therefore they ended up getting Roy Halladay instead.

2010 Seattle Mariners Struggle

The Mariners were expected to put together a competitive team at the very least, but the team failed to do so and thus chose to put Cliff Lee on the trading block prior to the trading deadline in order to get some draft picks and young players. The New York Yankees emerged as the favorites to get his services, and actually had an agreement in principle to acquire the left hander until something fell through causing the deal to fail. All along the Texas Rangers had been on the periphery of discussions with Seattle, but with the team's ownership going through bankruptcy proceedings, no one really felt that Texas had the edge.

Rangers Nab Left Handed Ace

Yet in spite of all of this, the Texas Rangers did end up getting Cliff Lee. He struggled just a bit at the beginning of his tenure in his new home, but eventually helped lead Texas to the American League West division championship and the best overall record in the AL for 2010. In the ALDS they faced up against the American League East champ Tampa Rays, whom they defeated to advance to the American League Championship Series.

In the ALCS, the Texas squad faced up against the very team Cliff Lee was expected to go to back in July, the powerful New York Yankees. the Yankees had finished just one game back from Tampa in a hard fought AL East campaign and earned the wild card spot for the junior circuit Even with Texas holding home field advantage New York was widely favored to win, everywhere outside of Texas. But the Rangers prevailed with Cliff Lee only having to take the mound one time and not even delivering his best performance.

Texas Rangers vs. SF Giants

For the second straight season, Cliff Lee gets to participate in the Fall Classic as a hired gun, a mercenary. There is no telling whether he will end up resigning with the Rangers in the offseason when his current deal ends or if he'll go to a big spender like New York, but for the time being Cliff Lee is in the spotlight in October once again. He is the Game 1 starter for his team, an honor that every child pitching in Little League grows up dreaming about, and probably doesn't have to worry about things like his car insurance rates anymore.

Cliff Lee at age 32 is in the prime of his career, physically healthy and featuring a devastating arsenal of at least four good pitches and precision control. HIs mental makeup is strong, having been proven in numerous big game situations especially during the past few years. Cliff Lee is demonstrating his value in impending free agency with every start he makes this fall. But perhaps a more telling sign of his worth than any other statistic is the fact that Cliff Lee has helped his second different team in his second different league get to the game's final showdown.


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