This deal, according to Andy Martino is agreed to pending physicals, which seem like a formality.
The deal, as reported here by Ken Rosenthal, is Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco for Jason Knapp, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson.
For Indians fans who find my site via google, here are some links for you to find info on the prospects you’re getting.
You can also find weekly updates on these guys by checking the Lehigh Valley (AAA) reports here. Check below the fold for my take on this deal
First, what the Phillies are getting. Cliff Lee, the 2008 Cy Young winner, bounced back from a rough patch in 2007. Always a good prospect, he has excellent control and is very durable. He’s incredibly consistent from start to start and is a very reliable number #1B guy to slot in with Cole Hamels. He makes only $5.75M this year, and has a team option worth $9M next year which will almost certainly be exercised. He’s 30, turns 31 next month, and is in the prime of his career. Is he Roy Halladay? Not quite, but he’s really not far off. They’re both under control in 2010, and Lee is much cheaper.
Ben Francisco addresses the need for a legit RH bat on the bench. He’s only 27, and hasn’t really emerged as the starting OF he was projected to be, but he still hits lefties well (.845 OPS this year, .810 for his career), and he’s still got some room to grow. Francisco has only 920 PA’s in the majors, and he’s not going to get a chance to play every day here, but he has some potential. Francisco will have less than 3 years of service time after this season and won’t be a Super 2, so he’ll be very cheap.
Now, onto what the Phillies gave up.
In my preseason Top 30, I had them ranked as follows; Carrasco (#1), Marson (#2), Donald (#4), and Knapp (#14). These rankings have obviously changed. The Phillies Top 3 right now is Drabek, Brown and Taylor in some order, depending on your preference, and Knapp may or may not have moved ahead of Carrasco. So, looking at this from just a really broad level, the Phillies did not trade any of their top 3 prospects, but they did give up 4 guys who still figured to be in the Top 8 or 10. For those who just found the site and aren’t familiar with the system, here’s a very brief synopsis before you dig into those links above
Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Has been on the Phillies prospect lists seemingly forever, but is still only 22. Has had mixed results at AAA this year, has a good arm, above average fastball, but his secondary pitches are still lacking polish. Throws a changeup with lots of late fade and a 12-6 curveball, but has recently started working on a slider. Biggest knock on him is his mental approach on the mound.
Jason Donald, SS/3B – Had a big season last year in AA, 15 HR power or so, but a line drive swing with lots of doubles, and showed the ability to work the count and take a walk. His range is fringy at best at SS, could maybe play 2B, but had spent some time at 3B because of a need in Philly and being blocked by Rollins and Utley up the middle.
Lou Marson, C – Young catcher, had a big breakthrough offensively in AA last year. Has maybe the best plate discipline in the system, draws tons of walks despite not having much power. Looks like an 8-10 HR a year guy but a line drive swing produces lots of doubles.
Jason Knapp, RHP – Made as big a jump as anyone in the system this year. Huge arm, already sits in the 93-94 range, can hit 97, and could add even more velocity in the future. Very projectable frame, secondary pitches need work, which is the case for most 18 year olds in full season ball. He’s on the DL with “shoulder fatigue”, but consensus seems to be just a precaution to keep some innings off his arm at a young age.
So, now you know who is involved. My thoughts? This is a clear win for the Phillies. They pick up a top of the rotation starter signed to a very affordable deal both this year and next, and also pick up the RH bat for the bench they’d been searching for. They were able to protect their three best prospects in the deal as well. This type of trade is the reason that you don’t trade guys like Jason Donald for middle relievers, because if you accumulate enough 2nd tier prospects, you can package those guys together for a bigger deal. The Phillies did lose 4 good prospects, 4 guys with a chance to be big league regulars, but they added a Cy Young winner to their pitching staff, plus an OF under club control for 4 more years. This trade really couldn’t have been drawn up any better from the Phillies side.
This trade is a big big win for Ruben Amaro. You have to give him credit for not blinking when JP Ricciardi postured over Halladay. I’m excited.
Update: Jim Callis said it perfectly in his chat
What makes Drabek worth not getting Halladay?
Jim Callis (2:37 PM) Drabek’s fastball and curveball give him the potential to be a frontline starter. But it’s not like it was a done deal if they included Drabek. Look at it as the Phillies had an option of a) Lee, Drabek, Happ, Brown/Taylor or b) Halladay, Carrasco, Marson, Donald. I’d do just what the Phillies did.