Looking Back at the Cliff Lee Trade


The Tribe made waves throughout the league in early August, 2009, dealing Cy Young winner Cliff lee to the Phillies. Rumors about Lee being traded had circulated throughout the league all season and it ended up coming down for to this:

Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco went to Philadelphia in exchange for pitched Carlos Carrasco, pitched Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson and shortstop Jason Donald.

It’s hard to believe this trade occurred nearly five years ago. Ample time has passed and now we can take a look back at the trade.

First of all, Cliff Lee after the trade went 7-4 with the Phillies with a solid sub-3.40 era. He would leave the Phillies in the offseason and head to Seattle, only to be traded midseason to Texas. Lee returned to the Phillies the following offseason, where is today. Overall, Lee has a record of 57-42 with an ERA around 3.3. Lee has been very good since he left the Tribe, he came as advertised.

Ben Francisco bounced around with a few teams and is not currently on an MLB roster. He had brief stints with the Phillies, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays and Astros. He managed 21 homeruns in these scattered stints.

The Tribe tabbed Lou Marson as the eventual successor of Victor Martinez, however that really didn’t work out the way they thought it would. Marson has a career average of just .219 and has hit just 5 homeruns in over 780 major league at bats. Marson has been disappointing to say the least and has lost his spot at catcher to both Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes.

Another prospect that Indians acquired was Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco has had some issues throwing at batters in the past seasons, but has cut that out this year. Unfortunately, he is still allowing the long ball. After starting the year as a starter, he has bounced around between the minors and the bullpen. This year he is 0-3 with a 5.25 era, which is on par with his MLB career era of 5.28.

Jason Donald was acquired by the Tribe in this deal. The short stop is currently in the Kansas City organization. Donald has a career MLB average of .257.

Jason Knapp was the centerpiece of the deal. A top prospect, Knapp was the main target of the deal. Unfortunately, Knapp never had the opportunity to live up to his potential, as should surgery sidelined him all of 2011. After another shoulder procedure the following year, he was released.

This deal was a robbery. The Indians gave up a Cy Young pitcher for nothing. Only one of the players the Indians received is currently on a major league roster and that is Carrasco. This deal didn’t work out in favor of our tribe.

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