Still a nice deal for the Phillies. They get Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from Cleveland for four prospects, not bad ones at all, but none of whom is Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ. All of this is pending medical formalities. You may recall that the Fightin’ Phils absolutely wouldn’t trade both for Roy Halladay (and were only prepared to deal one because it was Roy Halladay). Even if the Indians’ new prospects develop nicely, this is still a coup for Philadelphia. Lee may not like the hitter-friendly nature of Citizens Bank Park, but he should still benefit from switching to the weaker National League (The Good Phight has numbers confirming my point), especially the NL East. Assuming the Phillies pick up his team option for next year, he’d hit the open market in the same year as Halladay, and would have plenty of suitors, but it’s really too early to get into the “will he sign long-term” stuff. Ben Francisco, by the way, might help Philly too, as he gives them some outfield/bench help, and he’s right-handed in a team loaded with lefties. Getting back to the prospects, Swing and a Long Drive notes that three were blocked by established major leaguers, while pitcher Carlos Carrasco had obviously fallen below Drabek and Happ in the pecking order (his stats bear that out, and Philadelphia tried to include him in some Halladay proposals). Bottom line? Philadelphia becomes the favorite to win the National League again, unless the Dodgers get Halladay (which they won’t unless they give up Clayton Kershaw- not happening). Not to say that LA couldn’t win a best-of-seven with the Phillies, but I wouldn’t pick them to do so right now. Not with the Phillies’ loaded starting rotation.
Phillie fans seem happy with this deal, and as I said, they really should be. “All Shall Rejoice,” screams 4DaysRest. Red Pinstripes are Cooler asks a good question about who goes to the bullpen or exits town if Pedro Martinez has anything left and so is added to the rotation at some point in August. Fire Ruben Amaro may have to change its name. This blogger gives Philly a “B+” for the deal (you can also see his grades on other moves leading up to tomorrow’s deadline). Intial reaction from Cleveland’s perspective isn’t favorable to the Tribe’s haul, which is understandable given that they probably expected a price similar to Halladay’s. Yesterday, they traded Ryan Garko to San Francisco for a pitching prospect who has shown flashes of potential. Keith Law thinks he’s probably going to make it as a reliever, assuming he ever does.