Phillies exercise Lee's option for 2010; extension talks next?

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In perhaps the biggest no-brainer decision of the offseason, the Phillies have exercised their $9 million option on Cliff Lee for 2010.
While speculation about Roy Halladay dominated the headlines leading up to the July 31 trading deadline the Phillies sent prospects Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Jason Donald, and Lou Marson to the Indians for Lee and watched as he went 11-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 starts between the regular season and playoffs following the deal.
Prior to the trade Lee had a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts for the Indians and was the reigning AL Cy Young winner after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 2008, so there should be little doubt that the 31-year-old left-hander is among the truly elite starting pitchers in all of baseball.
Expect the Phillies to pursue long-term contract talks this offseason and expect Lee to begin negotiations with a proposal well north of $100 million.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.