Monday, July 27, 2009

What About Cliff Lee?

Cliff Lee went 22-3 and won the American League Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians last year. This year, he's 7-9, but has a very respectable 3.14 ERA. Lee has been pitching well of late, with a complete game and a 1.69 ERA last week. He's 3-0 in his last three starts, with two complete games. When he's throwing well, Lee is a very effective left handed pitcher who has proven that he can win games in the major leagues.

The Indians are going nowhere fast this year. They're 41-58 and 12 games out of first place, and they're in a rebuilding mode. Mark Shapiro, the Tribe's GM, is shopping for young talent, and will trade Lee for a couple of solid prospects. Since talks with Toronto for Roy Halladay are not going well, the Phils are now looking at Cliff Lee as a potential acquisition, and I think that Lee would be a good fit with the team. Having four lefties in a starting rotation--Hamels, Moyer, Happ, and Lee--would be most unusual, but it would make the Phils tough to hit.

Clearly, the Phillies would prefer to get Halladay--most consider him the best pitcher in baseball--but the price for him is just too high. Toronto wants J. A. Happ, Kyle Drabek, and Dominic Brown, and that price is more than the Phillies will pay. They project Drabek as a starter next year, and Happ has already proven that he can be a successful major league starter. They view Brown as a five-tool prospect, and it's a lot to give up for a 32-year-old pitcher. Lee would be an excellent addition, and the price for him can't be as high as what Toronto is demanding for Halladay.

Would I like to see Halladay in pinstripes? Sure, but not at the cost of mortgaging the future of the franchise. If they can get Cliff Lee for less, then I'm all for it. I think he would make an excellent addition to the team, and hope that he can be had for a reasonable price.

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