The Phillies have reached agreement on a trade that would bring them left-hander Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians for Class A right-hander Jason Knapp, Class AAA right-hander Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
The deal, which does not include any cash, is pending a review of medical records. If completed, it will be a coup for both the Phillies and Indians.
The Phillies would get Lee without giving up any of the three players the Blue Jays initially wanted for Halladay — left-hander J.A. Happ, right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Dominic Brown.
Francisco would fill the Phillies’ longstanding need for a right-handed hitter off the bench. Lee would give the Phillies four left-handed starters, along with Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Jamie Moyer. But Happ or Moyer could go to the bullpen once right-hander Pedro Martinez is ready to pitch in the majors.
Say and think what you want, but the Phillies just got a whole lot better. Lee is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA this season. He won the AL Cy Young award in 2008, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 31 starts.
The Indians, meanwhile, would get four of the Phillies’ top 10 prospects according to Baseball America’s pre-season rankings. Carrasco was rated second, Marson third, Donald fourth and Knapp 10th.
I shudder to think how much better he will pitch in a league without a DH and facing batters that have never faced him before.
I doubt the Mets will respond in kind with a move of their own, so don’t hold your breaths.