Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Done Deal: the Phillies acquire Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco

The Phillies got themselves the rotation help they needed. Cliff Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young winner, was acquired from the Indians, along with outfielder Ben Francisco, for pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.

Ever since Brett Myers went down, the Phillies needed someone to help them at the top of the rotation. While the Phillies would have loved to get Roy Halladay, when the price was determined to be too steep, the Phillies went to Plan B, getting a pitcher that wasn't quite at Halladay's level, but was still a top pitcher in the game. Cliff Lee immediately shores up the top of the Phillies rotation, giving them a great one-two punch with Cole Hamels.

To make the deal even better, the Indians threw in the right handed bench bat that the Phillies have been wanting, Ben Francisco. Francisco will be a nice piece off the bench, and his acquisition likely means John Mayberry is headed back the Triple A, where he belongs.

The Phillies did have to give up four prospects, but none figures to be a major loss. Carrasco was supposed to be an untouchable pitcher for the Phillies the last few years, but he has struggled mightily this season, posting an ERA over 5 in Triple A. Carrasco will probably turn out to be a decent back of the rotation starter in the majors, nothing more.

Donald was a solid minor leaguer with plenty of upside, unfortunately, his best two positions were second and short, two spots that are filled for the foreseeable future by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Having no position to play made Donald expendable.

Losing Marson and Knapp are the two bigger blows to the Phillies. Marson figured to be their catcher of the future, on course to be a backup to Carlos Ruiz next year and be a starter in the coming seasons. Knapp also has tremendous potential, but he is still very young and only in Single A, so who knows what the future will hold for him. You have to give up something good to get something good, so the Phillies rightfully parted with these two.

In all, an excellent move by the Phillies. They get their top of the rotation starter without having to give up J.A. Happ or Kyle Drabek, two players that the Blue Jays demanded in return for Roy Halladay. In addition, the Phillies didn't even have to give up their best two outfield prospects in Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown, so Ruben Amaro comes out looking great in this deal. Adding Lee to this team gives them a rotation of Hamels, Lee, Joe Blanton, Happ and Jamie Moyer, with Pedro Martinez waiting in the wings, although I wouldn't count on him contributing at all for the Phillies. While some may be disappointed with not getting Roy Halladay, you have to be happy that the Phillies got a great pitcher without mortgaging away their future. This move doesn't guarantee a return to the World Series for the Phillies, but it sure makes it much more likely.

12 comments:

GaroH said...

Is this how the rotation plays out for the next few years?

2009
Hamels
Lee
Blanton
Moyer
Happ

2010
Hamels
Lee
Blanton
Happ
Drabek/Moyer?

2011
Hamels
Happ
Drabek
Moyer

Keeps us competitive tomorrow, gives us a great chance to win today. Masterstroke, Amaro.

allthingsphilly said...

Those rotations look good, except Moyer is out after 2010.

2011:
Hamels
Happ
Drabek

The rest is TBA, maybe Blanton gets signed, maybe prospects, maybe free agents.

GaroH said...

Oh, thought Moyer was 3 years.

With Mayberry back down to AAA, how are we going to get rid of Bruntlett?

Jonathan Atwood said...

I still prefer Halladay, but it is really hard to argue with the reigning Cy-Young award winner, at that price.

I think Carrasco, Donald, and Marson are all overvalued. The only possible loss is Knapp and he is so young anything could happen to him.

A great deal.

Corey R said...

I love GaroH putting Moyer in the 2011 line-up! Lee is a free agent after this year, apparently he plans on testing the market. Phils betterget the lock on this guy in they want to keep him.

allthingsphilly said...

Sorry, Corey, Cliff Lee will be with the Phillies next year, there is a club option for 2010. The Phils will definitely pick that up.

GaroH said...

Corey R:
Clearly I should have studied the "How they were built" post: http://allthingsphillysports.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-they-were-built-phillies.html

But Lee isn't a FA after 2009, he has a club option for 2010 ($8mil); does that come with him to Phils, or is that done?

GaroH said...

Took too long to write that comment apparently; guess the option is ours.

allthingsphilly said...

The club option indeed comes with Cliff Lee to Philadelphia, he's here until 2010 for 8 mil, that's quite a deal. I will post an updated "How they were built: Phillies" soon

Real Fake Sports said...

Lee is so much better than his record indicates. Phils will be tough to beat in the playoffs. Not to mention next year.

John "Roose" Russo said...

This was a great move in my opinion. They got to hold onto Happ, who will likely get the bull pen treatment in place of Pedro, and got to hold onto Drabek, who could potentially be better than Hamels.

Imagine the four-man rotation in the playoffs of Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Martinez/Happ with Lopez and a possible return for Myers in the bull pen. This team is ready for a title defense.

JFein said...

Great move by the Phillies! I love it! We may have had to give up 4 prospects, but in the long haul, Cliff Lee is worth it and we still have our best of the best in terms of prospects, if you will, in particular Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown.

Besides, don't underestimate what Ben Francisco can contribute. That may end up sort of being a diamond in the rough sort of find for us.