By Jon Heyman, SI.com
The Phillies bolstered their rotation and significantly enhanced their chances to repeat as World Series champions by acquiring top starting pitcher Cliff Lee from the Indians in a six-player trade, SI.com has confirmed. The deal, which is pending physicals, also sends outfielder Ben Francisco to Philadelphia for four solid prospects.
The Indians receive a quartet of coveted minor leaguers: Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, Single-A righty Jason Knapp, Triple-A shortstop Jason Donald and Triple-A catcher Lou Marson.
The bonus in the deal for the Phillies is that they were able to hold onto both their top young pitchers (Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ), as well as both their top outfield prospects (Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor). Philadelphia had been pursuing star pitcher Roy Halladay but balked when Toronto requested Drabek, Happ and Brown.
The Phillies beat out the Dodgers, who also were pursuing Lee. However, L.A. couldn't match Philadelphia for depth in the minor league system.
Lee, the reigning American League Cy Young winner, gives the Phillies a very nice rotation, albeit a heavily left-handed on. They already had ace Cole Hamels plus Jamie Moyer and Happ in the rotation. The Phillies also have right-hander Joe Blanton plus legend Pedro Martinez on the way. Lee is 12-2 vs. the National League over his career.
The Phillies offered similar player combinations to the Jays for Halladay but also signaled a willingness to include Happ in those deals.
The Jays have been talking to a small handful of teams regarding Halladay, including the Red Sox, Angels and Rangers. However, Toronto has made clear that it would prefer to trade Halladay out of the American League East. The Red Sox were reported to have offered a package including pitcher Clay Buchholz for Halladay.
Foxsports.com first reported there was agreement on a Lee trade.