|CLIFF LEE7-9, 3.14 ERA|
Looking for an ace to bolster their so-so rotation, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Cliff Lee yesterday from Cleveland, marking the second straight year the Indians traded the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.
The World Series champion Phillies gave Cleveland four minor league prospects for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco.
“I’m going to miss all these guys here, but it’s an opportunity for me to help a team that’s in first place,’’ Lee said after the Indians lost to the Angels, 9-3, in Anaheim, Calif.
“They’re the defending world champions. So as far as that goes, I’m excited. But right now I’ve got to figure out how to get there and meet up with them and get acclimated to their team.’’
The National League East-leading Phillies sent Triple A pitcher Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald, and catcher Lou Marson along with Single A pitcher Jason Knapp to Cleveland.
Last year, Cleveland dealt CC Sabathia, then the reigning Cy Young winner and in the final year of his contract, to the Milwaukee Brewers. Sabathia helped the Brewers into the postseason before signing a $161 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.
“Losing one Cy Young winner one year and another one the very next year is probably hard for a fan to swallow. But it’s the nature of the game,’’ Lee said.
Lee turns 31 next month and his contract includes an $8 million club option for next season.
Philadelphia pursued Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, but shifted its attention to Lee because Toronto’s asking price for the six-time All-Star is high.
“One of our goals was to try and acquire a top of the rotation guy, somebody we felt was going to make a difference, and we think that Cliff certainly can do that,’’ Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
“We gave them four very good baseball prospects, and that hurts. When you want to acquire talent, you have to give talent, and that was part of the deal here.’’
Lee gives the Phillies another top starter to join Cole Hamels. The lefthander is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts this season after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA last year. Hamels, the MVP of the World Series and NLCS last fall, has been inconsistent this season. He’s 7-5 with a 4.42 ERA.
Francisco, who is batting .250 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs, upgrades Philadelphia’s bench, which has lacked a solid, righthanded hitter.
Pittsburgh got shortstop Ronny Cedeno, Triple A catcher-first baseman Jeff Clement, and three minor league pitchers in return.
The 31-year-old Wilson, the most senior Pirates player and an All-Star in 2004, becomes Seattle’s third everyday shortstop this season.
“I would call it a relatively major trade. We got a 27-year-old pitcher with three years’ experience in the major leagues and arguably one of the better defensive shortstops in the league for guys who are yet to be proven,’’ Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said.
Seattle also traded failed left fielder Wladimir Balentien to Cincinnati for righthander Robert Manuel, who has 40 games of experience above Double A.
Seattle had acquired Cedeno in the offseason from the Cubs. He struggled after the Mariners gave him their shortstop job this month by trading Yuniesky Betancourt to Kansas City.
In Clement, the Pirates are getting the third overall draft pick in 2005 who has shown impressive power but has been unable to play catcher consistently. He has primarily been a DH at Triple A, though GM Neal Huntington said Clement will mainly be a first baseman.
The Pirates also get minor league righthanders Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin, and Aaron Pribanic.
The teams announced the trade right after the Giants beat the Pirates, 1-0, in 10 innings. Sanchez merely had to change clubhouses to join his new team, which is in the thick of the NL wild-card race.
He gave his hugs and handshakes and bid farewell on the visitor’s side, then walked some 100 yards to San Francisco’s locker room to pull on his new No. 28 jersey.
“It’s crazy,’’ said Sanchez, who’s unsure when he’ll make his Giants debut because of a knee injury. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a little crazy, a little hectic. I’m here for a reason.’’
Indeed. The Giants haven’t reached the playoffs since 2003 and have endured four straight losing seasons.
San Francisco sent minor league pitcher Tim Alderson to the Pirates for the 31-year-old Sanchez, the 2006 NL batting champion.
“Simply put, our long-awaited next move has finally been consummated,’’ Giants GM Brian Sabean said. “A kid that has distinguished himself as an All-Star three out of the last four years and a batting champ within that time frame. The timing’s great.’’