Lee Wants to Win Somewhere, Anywhere
But that dream has faded over the past eight-plus months of regular-season baseball. The Phillies missed the postseason in 2012 and improved to just 32-35 following last night’s 3-2 victory over the Twins at Target Field. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak as the Phillies left for a weekend series in Colorado with the sixth-worst record in the National League.
“The past year and a half hasn’t gone the way I would have anticipated,” said Lee, who improved to 8-2 with a 2.55 ERA. “It’s why you play the games. You never know. I don’t think anyone here is happy with the way we’ve played in that time frame. It’s due to a lot of injuries. There are some good excuses, but they’re still excuses. We’re the Philadelphia Phillies. We should play better than we have.”
But can this team win as it is currently constituted? The offense and bullpen each are one of the worst in baseball.
“I can’t look at it any other way, besides I expect us to win and catch up with the Braves and get into the postseason,” Lee said. “That’s the only way you can look at it.”
Does he want to stay if the team doesn’t turn things around?
“I definitely want to win,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
But if it doesn’t turn around?
“I want to win,” he repeated. “I don’t know how else to say it besides that. I want to win.”
Lee’s name already has been an endless topic of conversation weeks before the July 31 Trade Deadline, and the buzz should reach a manic state in the next few weeks if the Phillies continue to struggle. Lee signed a five-year, $120 million contract before the 2011 season, but he has continued to dominate and a team in need of an ace certainly will be interested in acquiring him.
The Phillies have said they have a better chance to win in the future with Lee than without him. While that is true, when asked if he is prepared to play out the string the final two months of the season if things don’t improve, Lee said, “I don’t have any control over that. I know that I want to win and I’ll voice that to whoever. And that’s that. I want to win here. That’s why I signed here. And that’s where my focus is.”
Of course, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Phillies were supposed to be the Yankees of the National League. They were supposed to be heavy favorites for the World Series every year.
“Yeah, that’s what I expected,” Lee said. “That’s what I expected. We’ve had one chance (to win a World Series) in two-and-a-half years and this year is not over yet. I expected us to get multiple shots at it, but there are 29 other teams thinking the same thing so nothing is going to be given to you. Nobody feels sorry for you or any of that. You’ve got to go out there and earn it. I’m going to continue to do what I can to give this team a chance to win when I pitch and that’s really the only thing I can control.”