Great Moments in Cliff Lee Love

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Apparently ladies love cool Cliff:

Cliff Lee love isn’t about box scores, ERAs, or innings pitched. You won’t understand it by dissecting interview transcripts, psychoanalyzing his heart, or rereading the fine print of the leaner contract he signed with Philadelphia at the expense of a fatter paycheck dangled by the Yankees.

It is about animal instinct. It is about being a Marlboro Man in a Metrosexual World. And it begins and ends with Game 1 of the 2009 World Series, when in one of those rare moments of superhero shine, a less-is-more ace incinerated the almighty Yankees the way Indiana Jones crushed the Germans with little more than a whip, a sneer, and a few good Hollywood one-liners.

…Watching Lee’s no-drama dominance that night, women across this cubicle-cluttered, iPhone-armed nation of pale-faced dot-comers and overpaid Wall Street slicksters were wondering: They still make men like that?

Sure enough, as Beckner handed us menus she shared a final thought about Lee and that World Series game, and she served it up with naughty relish: “I wanted to do all sorts of things to that man.”

I was going to mock this reaction to Lee as the silly and superficial ravings of a troubled woman, but than I realized that most of the male Phillies fans who read this blog reacted in more or less the same way when Ruben Amaro signed him this winter.

(thanks to Jonny for the heads up)

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.