Cliff Lee doesn’t give into hitters and he is not backing off comments that he made during the Phillies last road trip that some construed as a trade request.
Lee said following a 3-2 win at Minnesota on June 13 that he wants to compete for a World Series title.
When asked if he wanted to remain a Phillies if their record didn’t improve, Lee kept responding “I want to win.”
So after improving to 9-2 with Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals, Lee said more of the same, when addressing his comments in Minnesota, while making one clarification.
“I think it was misconstrued into thinking I want to play somewhere else and that is not the case,” Lee said. “I want to win and I want to win here.”
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He doesn’t care if his comments created a stir.
“I was asked questions and answered truthfully how I felt and will continue to do that and continue to be honest and say what I feel,” Lee said. “I really don’t care how it is interpreted to be honest.”
Repeatedly he mentioned that the only thing that matters to him is winning.
“I want to win and signed here to win and that is not ever going to change no matter who asks me, I will say that to anyone,” Lee said.
He says he expects that winning will occur in Philadelphia.
“I am confident we can win,” he said. “I like our team.”
He said the return of Carlos Ruiz is huge and says the expected arrival soon of Chase Utley from his oblique injury is another boost.
“If all our guys get healthy and on the field, we can beat anyone and I am confident this organization will do the best it can to field the best team,” Lee said. “Those are the reasons I came here and that is what I expect and what everyone here should expect. I don’t think anybody is happy with the way we have played and basically that is what I was saying in Minnesota.”
So he expects to win here and wants to win here, but what happens if the winning isn’t sustained?
No doubt Lee’s preference is to compete for a World Series in Philadelphia.
Yet if that isn’t possible, it seems like he will choose winning over staying with the Phillies. Whether he gets the choice or even has to make it, is what makes things fascinating between now and the July 31 trade deadline.