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July 30, 2009 9:55 AM

Phillies? More Like Phil-LEE'S!

In yesterday’s MLB trade deadline activity, Philadelphia did indeed land a Cy Young winner from a team that plays on one of the Great Lakes. Only, it wasn’t that one. Unable to make a deal for the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay, the Phillies turned their attention to Cleveland, and made a move for Cliff Lee, who last year was 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA. Not a bad Plan B.

Cliff Lee's new teammates were so excited to get him, they gave the man responsible for the trade a clubhouse curtain call. Looking for an ace to bolster their so-so rotation, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Lee on Wednesday from Cleveland, marking the second straight year the Indians traded the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.

When general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. walked through the locker room hours before the defending World Series champions played in Arizona, many Phillies greeted him with applause.

"One of our goals has been to add someone to our rotation that can be a difference-maker," Amaro said in a conference call. "It's important to show our guys on the field that we're making the best effort to put the best team out there."

The Phillies already lead the National League East by 6 games, and trail the Dodgers by just three for the best mark in the NL, and they just added a guy who won the Cy Young last year. True, he's not Halladay, but he's pretty darn good. Lee has a 2.66 ERA since April 16, and he's lasted at least 6 innings in nine of his last 11 starts. So how good does this make the Phillies?
"...[T]hey're now your official Team to Beat in the National League ...

"For me, they're just as formidable with this guy as they would have been with Halladay," one NL scout said Wednesday as the impact of the four-for-two deal that will bring Lee to the Phillies began to resonate within the sport. "Heck, for me, they would have been formidable without doing anything. I just love their team -- and 'team' is the key word.

"But now they're adding another stud to that rotation, and filling another need -- a right-handed bat [Ben Francisco] -- on a very good team. So I know one thing: I wouldn't want to play them in October."

A rotation of Cole Hamels, Lee, Pedro Martinez, Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer ain't too shabby. Phillies fans: you may now begin to celebrate by punching things and/or other people.

Phils get Cy Young winner Cliff Lee from Indians - AP
Only in Philadelphia … - Jayson Stark
World Series Champs! Wanna Fight About It?! - RCS

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