Sports Outside the Beltway

Cleveland Indians trade P Cliff Lee to Philadelphia

Lee was the 2008 American League Cy Young award winner. From ESPN-

The Cleveland Indians traded Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for four minor leaguers on Wednesday.

Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, Class A righty Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson — the likely heir apparent to Victor Martinez — and shortstop Jason Donald were sent to Cleveland.

“At the root of this deal was balancing the conviction of our ability to compete in 2010 with the opportunity to impact the team’s construction for years to come,” Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “Without the sense of confidence in the team’s ultimate competitiveness, we acted aggressively to add players that will impact the organization in 2010 and beyond.”

Why don’t team owners come out and say why certain personnel transactions are made instead of lying? Indians fans know why Lee was dealt. Salary considerations and the fact Lee was likely to be lost to free agency after the 2010 season.

The Phillies weren’t required to give up pitcher J.A. Happ or the three prospects they balked at trading for Roy Halladay — outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor and pitcher Kyle Drabek.


Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young winner who turns 31 next month, is having another solid season for the Indians, posting a 3.14 ERA while walking just 33 in 152 innings. He will make $8 million in 2010 and then be eligible for free agency.


Lee would be the sixth Cy Young winner to be traded in the offseason or during the season following his Cy Young win. Last season, 2007 AL Cy Young winner CC Sabathia was traded by the Indians to the Milwaukee Brewers.What does it say about an organization when it trades its best player year after year? Nothing good is the answer. It angers a team’s fans, who are ultimately the customers of the business/Major League baseball team. Cleveland is already finding it difficult to fill its stadium because of their dealing away people like Lee, Sabathia, and others.

Lee gives the Phillies another top starter to join Cole Hamels. Hamels, who was MVP of the World Series and NLCS last fall, has been inconsistent this season. He’s 7-5 with a 4.42 ERA, though he pitched well in a Tuesday night victory over the Diamondbacks.Hamels has been worked awfully hard at a young age(He’s only 25, but this is his 4th season as ML starting pitcher). As baseball stats man Bill James has documented in some of his books, young pitchers who are worked hard before their arm matures are more likely to have their careers shortened by arm trouble. Some Baseball people recognize that, Earl Weaver for instance who said the best place for a young pitcher was long relief.

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