Phillies get Lee, give up few high-end assets 

July, 29, 2009
For the Phillies, this looks like a steal. In Cliff Lee, they acquire one of the best pitchers in the American League over the past 18 months while retaining their top two prospects and trading four guys who all have serious question marks.

Cliff Lee


Lee has been the best left-hander in the AL and top-three in the league since the start of the 2008 season, although before that he went off the rails and had to be optioned to the minors in July of 2007. Lee's entire game turned around in 2008, as he picked up some velocity, improved his command and began to work more effectively in the lower half of the zone; he's now a four-pitch guy with command and control who works deep into games. (He has shown a large platoon split this year, with right-handed batters gaining more than 250 points of OPS, but it's out of line with his previous seasons and appears to be a fluke.) His contract includes a $9 million option for 2010 that the Phillies will certainly pick up; even if they decided they couldn't afford to keep him, he's extremely tradeable and they'd probably get value close to what they just gave up to acquire him.

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer