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Indians Trade Lee, Francisco To Phillies For Prospects

July 29, 2009
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The Indians today have traded LHP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for four prospects: RHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP Jason Knapp, SS Jason Donald, and C Lou Larson. In the preseason rankings by Baseball America, Carrasco was ranked #2, Larson #3, Donald #4 and Knapp #10.

Carrasco, 22, is an immediate option to replace Lee in the Indians starting rotation the rest of the season. The 6'3" 215 pounder was 6-9 with a 5.18 ERA in 20 starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley at the time of the trade (114.2 IP, 118 H, 38 BB, 112 K). He is likely to report to Cleveland, though may go to Columbus if the Indians choose to activate Fausto Carmona.

Knapp, 18, is a 6'5" 215-pound fireballing right-handed pitcher who is the centerpiece of this deal for the Indians in that they are getting a high upside power arm who already hits 98 MPH with relative ease. In 17 starts for Low-A Lakewood he is 2-7 with a 4.01 ERA (85.1 IP, 63 H, 39 BB, 111 K). He will likely report to Lake County in the coming days.

Larson, 23, is a 6'1" 200-pound catcher who in 63 games this year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was hitting .294 with 1 HR, 24 RBI, and a .751 OPS. His acquisition may mean he may be flipped in another deal or one of Kelly Shoppach or Wyatt Toregas. With Carlos Santana in Double-A Akron that is a lot of catching depth, so something has to be in the works. It could also be a signal that Victor Martinez may be on the move. He will likely report to Columbus, but if one of Shoppach or Martinez is dealt he could report right to Cleveland.

Donald, 24, is a 6'1" 195-pound middle infielder who can play shortstop, second base, or third base. Last year at Double-A Reading he hit .307 with 14 HR, 54 RBI, and an .889 OPS. This year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley he is hitting .236 with 1 HR, 16 RBI, and a .629 OPS. He will likely report to Columbus in the coming days.

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