The Philadelphia Phillies seriously bolstered their chances of repeating as World Series champions by outbidding several teams for reigning American League Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee(notes) of the Cleveland Indians, according to baseball sources.
The Phillies also received left fielder Ben Francisco(notes), and in return, the Indians netted a strong group of prospects: Class A right-handed pitcher Jason Knapp, Class AAA right-handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco(notes), shortstop Jason Donald(notes) and catcher Lou Marson(notes).
The Dodgers and Angels, among other teams, had pushed hard for Lee, whose market expanded in recent days when it became clear that the price tag for Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay(notes) was extremely steep.
Lee, who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Cleveland Indians, had a rebirth last season when he went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA. He is only 7-9 this season for the disappointing Indians, but his ERA is 3.14.
The Phillies were able to make the deal without giving up top pitching prospects J.A. Happ(notes), already in the big leagues, and Kyle Drabek, who is in Double-A. Philadelphia abandoned its quest to acquire Toronto's Roy Halladay when the Blue Jays insisted on both Happ and Drabek.
The 18-year-old Knapp, a right-handed pitcher drafted on the second round by the Phillies in 2008, is believed to be the player most desired by the Indians. He hit 97 mph in the New Jersey state high school playoffs a year ago last spring, according to Baseball America.
Marson ranked as Philadelphia's top catching prospect and Donald is a highly regarded infielder who broke in at shortstop but whose position in the future is probably second base. Carrasco was rated the team's No. 1 pitching prospect in 2007 and '08.
Francisco is batting .250 with 10 home runs playing nearly every day for the Indians, but he will become a reserve with the Phillies, providing insurance in case 37-year-old left fielder Raul Ibanez(notes) is injured again. Ibanez missed nearly a month because of a strained right groin, returning just before the All-Star break.
- Cleveland Indians