As Cliff Lee signs, Phillies are the targets now

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It is going to take awhile to think about the Phillies as the overlords of baseball, the team that can outspend and outrecruit all of the others.

But that day is here. With their midnight strike to acquire Cliff Lee, the Phillies have assembled a pitching staff — Cole Hamels as No. 4? — that really should win the World Series come late October. Anything less will be failure.

Yankees fans, who must wonder if New York bumptiousness in management and in the stands turned off Lee and his wife, always embrace the awesome responsibility of front-runner. Now Phillies fans will learn to live with it.

Remember when Phillies fans had a surly underdog mentality every time the Mets and their raffish fans arrived in town and took over their ballpark? Ha! That era is long gone, on both sides.

The Phillies have assembled one of the great pitching staffs in baseball history, just going by the credentials of (might as well use alphabetical order and let the manager work out a rotation) Roy Halladay, Hamels, Lee and Roy Oswalt.

This staff is competing with the great Atlanta staff of the past generation, the Cleveland staff of the mid-1950s and the Los Angeles Dodgers staff of the ’60s, and some Yankees staffs of various ages.

Full story: As Cliff Lee Signs, Phillies Are the Targets Now –