That was among the oft-repeated messages of today's press conference announcing Cliff Lee's signing with the Phillies -- this was where the lefty wanted to be all along and once Philadelphia got serious, the Rangers and, yes the Yankees, had no chance.
“It was really Kristen and Cliff and Darek coming back to us and saying, Listen, this is the place we want to be,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “They really, truly expressed to us this is the place they wanted to be.”
Lee said it was a decision about wanting to play here, not NOT wanting to play in New York.
There wasn't anything that scared me away from New York," Lee said. "I wasn't scared to play there. I wasn't any of that. It was just I wanted to have all my options in front of me. Once the Phillies were there, it was relatively close to everything, it was a no-brainer for me."
He said the negative experiences his wife, Kristen, had during the ALCS at the Stadium, which she discussed in a USA Today story during the World Series, had no impact.
“That was way overblown,” Lee said. “No one came up to my wife and spit on her. That story was way overblown, it was false, and had zero to do with anything. Hopefully we can put that behind us because it was a non-issue.”
Afterward Kristen said she was quoted accurately but that she was describing generally how those wearing Rangers gear were treated, not her being specifically targeted.
In any case Braunecker, said a deal with the Phillies got seriously involved only last Friday after the winter meetings.
“There’s nothing the Yankees could have done differently,” Braunecker said. “Nobody outworks Brian Cashman…He [Lee] just saw this as a better option for him and his family.”