x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

In-demand Lee prefers Phillies to Yankee dollars

Having helped lead the Rangers to the World Series last season, the left-handed pitcher, who was a free agent, was courted most notably by the Yankees.

Cliff Lee has agreed to rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies, turning down offers from the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers.

Having helped lead the Rangers to the World Series last season, the left-handed pitcher, who was a free agent, was courted most notably by the Yankees.

But he opted to return to Philadelphia where he spent a portion of 2009, performing well in the World Series for the Phillies, before being traded away to the Seattle Mariners.

Lee spent half of 2010 with the Mariners and then was traded to the Rangers for the late post-season run.

This time he is deciding his own destination.

"Cliff called me," Jon Daniels, the Rangers general manager, told his team's website. "He was very classy. He and his family enjoyed his time here.

"He also enjoyed his time in Philadelphia and liked some of the things that opportunity had to offer."

Lee reportedly agreed on a five-year deal worth US$100 million (Dh367m) with an option for a sixth year that could make the contract worth $120m.

Lee received bigger offers from other teams competing for his services, but it was no surprise that he chose to go back to Philadelphia.

He had made it clear at the time he left to go to Seattle that he had not wanted to leave.

He said: "I thought I'd be spending the rest of my career there ... I was under the impression they wanted to keep me there for a long time. In my mind, it was going to happen."

The Yankees had reportedly started with a $138m, six-year offer to Lee.

After Carl Crawford, the outfielder, agreed to a seven-year, $142m deal with the rival Boston Red Sox, the Yankees immediately increased their offer to Lee to $150m over seven seasons.

But he will now join a formidable Phillies pitching staff that includes Roy Halladay, the National League Cy Young Award winner, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

Lee, who was the 2008 American League Cy Young winner, went 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA last season but he has thrived in the play-offs where he has gone 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA over the past two seasons.

* Agencies