Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Deal

Let me preface this post by being one of the only bloggers to admit that I have no clue what actually happened between the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Indians in the past few days or weeks.

One way or another, the Phillies today announced a trade to acquire the Indians' Cliff Lee in return for Single A pitcher Jason Knapp, Triple A pitcher Carlos Carrasco, Triple A shortstop Jason Donald, and Triple A catcher Lou Marson.

Providing context, the Phillies have been for viewed by all major media outlets (and rumormongering bloggers like me) as the heavy favorite to add Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays ever since Toronto GM Ricciardi announced his willingness to trade Halladay a few weeks ago.

Whether the Phillies were ever serious contenders for Halladay, whether Ricciardi ever truly intended to trade Halladay, whether the Indians were lucky to get as much as they got or could have gotten far, far more....these are fascinating questions for baseball geeks like me. I'd gladly read a large book about these things. But these are also very complicated questions about negotiations and baseball evaluations and priorities and human emotions of fear and desire and the dreams of millions of fans (including me) for another parade down Broad Street.

So, for the moment (until that very large book is written), you and I have to content ourselves with this very uninformed, and short blog post.

And I feel obligated to limit this post to a discussion of what actually happened.

What happened is phenomenal.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. is a genius.

He managed to address the Phillies' two primary gaps: a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher and a right-handed bat off the bench without giving up a single player from the current major league ballclub or even giving up the one of the top "untouchable" prospects from the minors.

I'm not trying to diminish what the Indians have received. I think they got one hell of a haul. I've always been suspicious of pitchers who are head cases (among the classic examples for the Phillies are Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers) and Carrasco is allegedly another one. Sometimes, they come through, but most often, their physical skills are overwhelmed by their mental deficits.

So, I'm willing to watch Carrasco go, and maybe he turns out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but we get last year's Cy Young winner in return.

Lou Marson? Well, as I said in a previous post, I'm convinced that Marson is ready for the bigs.

Jason Knapp? I'm just not willing to project guys that far out. Veteran baseball guys get paid the big bucks to do that. To me, Knapp is a hope and a prayer.

Jason Donald? By all accounts, this was a journeyman kinda guy for a long time who seemed to catch fire last year at Double A and hasn't done much at Triple A. Maybe he's a regular in the big leagues. Or maybe not.

By any reasonable assessment, that's a lot that the Indians received.

But the Phillies got




They also go a right-handed bat off the bench.

This is baseball, so nothing guarantees nothing. I don't know whether the Phillies will win the World Series this year (but this atheist is praying hard for it). What I do know is that Ruben Amaro, Jr. has significantly improved his team's chances for doing so.

And in doing so, he did not sacrifice any of the pieces (see yesterday's post) that everybody thought he'd have to give up to do so.

I like this team. After today, I like this General Manager even more.

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