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Shocking Phillies news as Cliff Lee returns and Philadelphia goes wild!

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When Cliff Lee was traded last Christmas, I was in a meeting, had Cliff Lee is back to Philly. Photo: Andrea Kohalmi.my phone off, and received about twelve texts and voicemails from outraged friends spewing their vengeance when I finally checked my phone.

I walked out of the TRON: Legacy screening tonight where I had to turn my phone off, and a feeling of deja vu came over me as I turned my phone back on. There was a message from my friend Jon Evoy, who is thrilled to death that he actually gave ME some Phillies news instead of me finding it out first. Thank you Jon!

This is the most unexpected pleasant surprise in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. Ruben Amaro and this organization have truly put their money where their mouth is.

Cliff Lee is back...........Cliff Lee is BACK!!!!

After checking with about five very good sources, a 5-year $100 million dollar deal has reportedly brought Cliff Lee back to Philadelphia. If this is true, Lee left $60 million on the table from the Yankees!!   However, there are rumors that Lee will sign a seven year, $142 to $150 million dollar deal with the Phillies.

Either way, it's fantastic to see the Yankees get shut out this off-season in free agency. What makes the deal even more surprising is that Lee is close friends with Yankees and former Indians teammate CC Sabathia.

"This will stand as the greatest era of Phillies baseball," adds Philly2Philly.com contributor Jesse Lorenz. "Lee took 54 million less to play in this city on this team in front of us. I never thought I'd see the day."

Personally, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop to see who the Phillies have to deal to make room on the payroll for Lee. Do we get too comfortable yet? Raul Ibanez? Kyle Kendrick? Joe Blanton? Will the team pull a (dare I say it) "Cliff Lee" and trade one of the core members of the team? Does it matter? After all, Joe Cowley probably could be the number four starter on this Phillies team.

Although quite random considering the main contenders in a possible deal up until Monday had been the Yankees and Rangers, this deal makes sense. The Phillies had been mentioned in rumors  last July before Lee was traded to Texas. Lee loves it here. He loves the clubhouse, the players, and his manager. If this team doesn't win over 100 games, it will be a greater disappointment than losing to the Giants two months ago. Oddly enough, the Phillies starting four of Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt were on the losing end of almost all of the Giants' wins in the 2010 playoffs. Something tells me however, that Giants fans are shaking in their boots right now....

The Philadelphia Phillies officially have THE best all-around pitching staff in the majors. The Red Sox staff is a very close second. However, this rivals the 1971 Orioles staff  of Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Pat Dobson, and Mike Cuellar. As we saw last October, you need to hit to win baseball games, and the Phillies still need a right handed bat to take the place of Jayson Werth. However, barring any major injuries or hitting meltdowns again, 2011 should be one of THE most memorable seasons EVER in the history of the Phillies franchise. Good luck trying to get standing room at Citizens Bank Park next April. I wonder if Werth will now attempt to unsign with Washington (I kid, I kid).

Philly2Philly will be on top of everything if the deal is finalized. We have to be. There is no way we can sleep after this. Christmas once again comes early for Phillies fans!

What will the Eagles do to top this?

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

Photo: Andrea Kohalmi