Big League Stew - MLB

So we just spent the better part of a month debating which package of top-flight prospects it'd take for the Phillies to pry Roy Halladay(notes) away from the Blue Jays. 

And how does it end? With Philadelphia deciding they'd rather trade a handful of less-favored prospects to Cleveland for reigning Cy Young pitcher Cliff Lee(notes) as well as a much-needed right-handed bat in outfielder Ben Francisco(notes).

That may seem like a little bit of disappointment to all of us expecting a north of the border blockbuster, but as The 700 Level so accurately put it

"It's like buying a Porsche after spending 2 weeks at a Ferrari dealer. You're still getting a ... Porsche."

Not to mention with some nice dealer incentives. 

Look, is Philly's rotation potentially a little lefty heavy with Lee, Cole Hamels(notes), Jamie Moyer(notes) and J.A. Happ(notes)? Yes, though righties Joe Blanton(notes) and Pedro Martinez(notes) can help remedy that problem in the playoffs, where pitching depth is assuredly never a curse. 

Is Lee just as good as Halladay? Not quite, though the slight difference is worth it when you consider it means that the Phillies have kept control of Happ and high-value prospects like Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown. 

(For the record, the Phillies are sending single-A pitcher Jason Knapp and AAA-ballers righty Carlos Carrasco(notes), shortstop Jason Donald(notes) and catcher Lou Marson(notes) to Cleveland. It's a nice crop, but Phils' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. can rest a little easier knowing that there's a smaller chance that trading one of them will come back to haunt him.)

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has some more reasons why this deal made more sense than the one we were expecting, including Lee's cheaper salary and the fact the Phillies will provide Lee the run support he wasn't getting in Cleveland (where he was 7-9 despite a 3.14 ERA).

Really, it's hard not to like this deal and that's even before you realize that Lee is 12-2 with a 3.18 ERA against the NL in his career. Though the NL already had plenty of reasons to fear the defending World Champions, they just picked up one more. 

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