In a breathtakingly stunning turn of events, Cliff Lee has signed with the Phillies, turning down both the Rangers and the Yankees. Immediately, once news of the signing broke, it was figured that Lee was leaving a lot of money on the table to return to Philadelphia. How much money? Now that we have some details, we can start to figure it out.
According to Joel Sherman, Lee's five-year contract with the Phillies is worth somewhere around $100 million. Additionally, via Jerry Crasnick, we find out that there's a sixth-year vesting option that should be "easily reachable". Lee, clearly, is getting a mammoth contract. But it's not quite the $154 million over seven years he stood to get from the Yankees, so he's still making a considerable sacrifice.
The contract apparently came together in a hurry, and once it was agreed to, Lee and agent Darek Braunecker personally informed the Rangers and Yankees of their decision. What's yet to figure out - aside from where the Rangers and Yankees go from here - is what the Phillies intend to do about payroll. From Roy Halladay to Ryan Howard to Chase Utley to Raul Ibanez to Brad Lidge to Jimmy Rollins to Shane Victorino to Joe Blanton to Cole Hamels, and so on, there are a lot of big-money players already in-house, and only time will tell whether the Phillies are able to shed some salary, or if they simply increase the budget to accommodate their new acquisition. It's also possible that they'll backload Lee's contract, as they have a lot of money coming off the books after the 2011 season.
It isn't going to be an easy situation for the Phillies to figure out. But as problems go, this is a rather pleasant one.