The old saying in baseball goes “pitching wins championships.” If that’s the case, you can hand the Philadelphia Phillies the 2011 World Series right now because Philadelphia just landed the biggest free agent in the market and now have the most dominant pitching staff in all of baseball. While the Yankees and Rangers were going hard after Cliff Lee, the Phillies came in at the last minute, shocked the world, and signed the former Cy-Young Award winner to a five-year contract. While the San Francisco Giants are the defending world champs, the Phillies, with a battery of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt just became the team to beat in 2011.
Jimmy Rollins joined ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd to talk about how he feels about Cliff Lee being signed by the Phillies, how he heard about the news, what he thought about when he heard the news, what he remembers from lee’s time in Philadelphia, and how they avoid getting caught up in the hype now that they have the best pitching rotation in the majors.
On when he hard about the news of Cliff Lee:
“I heard about it last night. My mother texted me from my dad’s phone and said my dad wanted me to let you know that you guys just got Cliff Lee. So my wife had DVR’d Young and the Restless so I made her press pause and click back on to the ESPN’s and found out it was true.”
On what he was thinking when he heard the news:
“I said ‘wow.’ I picked up my phone, I texted (Phillies GM) Ruben (Amaro) and I said ‘you’re sneaky.”
On what he remembers about Cliff Lee in his previous stint with the Phillies:
“He just came in and he had the right attitude right away. He was the type of player who had grown in the minor leagues, a guy who goes out there, puts in the work, works hard, and makes no excuses. That’s what you got from Cliff Lee from the day he showed up. No one really knew what to expect. We played against him in the interleague but that was it and he showed up, he got on the mound, and he pitched. If he did good, he spoke. If he did bad, he spoke. Then he went about his business the next day.”
On avoiding getting caught up in the hype and what people are saying about the team now after this signing:
“I think last year was a great lesson for us. We had a big three. Cole, Roy, and little Roy when he came over, and we didn’t go home with the ring. Although we know that we have four great pitchers now, it means nothing without a ring. You get a ring then you can talk about the year that was. We’ve been there before with a lot of expectations, but if you don’t bring home that championship it’s just a lot of talk.”
Listen to Jimmy Rollins on ESPN Radio here (Audio begins 8:55 into the podcast)