July 29, 2009 2:46 PM

Phillies Acquire Cliff Lee

MLB: MAY 19 Indians at Royals

Multiple sources are reporting that the Phillies and Indians have agreed, pending physicals, on a deal that would send Cliff Lee to Philadelphia.
The Phillies would, reportedly, send RHP Carlos Carrasco (AAA), IF Jason Donald (AAA), C Lou Marson (AAA), and RHP Jason Knapp (A), to Cleveland, in exchange for Lee, and OF Ben Francisco.

While it is disappointing not to pick up Toronto ace Roy Halladay, acquiring Lee, without dealing top prospects Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown, or Michael Taylor, is a great move. A rotation of Cole Hamels, Lee, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ/Pedro Martinez could go deep in the playoffs, with Martinez/Happ/Rodrigo Lopez/Brett Myers bolstering the sagging bullpen. (Starter Jamie Moyer and reliever Chad Durbin seem likely to be the odd men out, when the playoffs start, if not sooner.)

Ben Francisco gives the Phils a legit RH bench bat/late-inning defensive replacement for Raul Ibanez. Eric Bruntlett can return to being a utility infielder, who is used sparingly. John Mayberry, Jr. can return to Lehigh Valley (AAA), and play more regularly.

As for the players the Phils gave up:
Jason Donald doesn't seem to be anything more than a utility infield prospect. Not a lot of upside there.
Lou Marson could be a suitable backup catcher, but likely won't hit (or field) well enough to supplant Carlos Ruiz. Travis D'Arnaud was the Phillies' likely "catcher of the future", even before this deal. (Unless you consider Sebastian Valle to be the "catcher of the future.")
Carlos Carrasco could be really good, #2 starter good. He has the stuff, but lacks the poise. However, he is certainly young enough to gain the necessary maturity to be a mid-rotation starter, and he has been very unlucky this season (in AAA).
Jason Knapp is an incredible prospect- 18 years old, throws high-90s heat. But anything could happen here; fireballers that young don't always pan out/stay healthy.

The Phils gave up some quality prospects, but they definitely improved their WFC II/III chances, without seriously jeopardizing their ability to contend in subsequent seasons.
Great job by Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro!

(Of course it would be a REALLY great job, if Amaro still managed to get Halladay. Don't see that happening though...)

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