Phillies could finalize contract with Cliff Lee tomorrow

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UPDATE: NBC 10 in Philadelphia provides the photo evidence that Cliff Lee has arrived. And boy, do his eyes look mighty tired. Must be from staring at multiple offers of $100-plus million over the past week. Poor guy.

9:13 PM: You probably thought we were done talking about Cliff Lee, huh? Nope, not yet.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Lee will be in Philadelphia for a physical tomorrow and his deal with the Phillies could be officially announced later in the day.

Just to bring you up to speed, Lee and the Phillies have reportedly agreed to terms on a five-year, $120 million contract. The deal includes a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016 which could bring the total value of the contract to $135 million over six years.

According to the Associated Press, Lee will make $11 million next season, $21.5 million in 2012 and $25 million from 2013-2015. There’s a $12.5 million buyout on his vesting option for 2016.

In order for the option to vest, Lee must either log 200 innings in 2015 or 400 total innings between 2014 and 2015. He also must not finish the 2015 season on the disabled list because of a left shoulder or elbow injury.

And so, while Lee turned down more guaranteed money from the Rangers and Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that the southpaw’s $24 million annual average value (AAV) will be the highest ever for a pitcher on a multi-year contract.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: