Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lee to Phils; Jack Z Busy

FOX Sports is reporting, that the Philadelphia Phillies acquired the AL's reigning Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee from the Indians.

Lee will be sent along with Indians LF Ben Francisco to Philly for four minor leaguers.

The Indians received a haul for Lee however. Philly sent Class A right-hander Jason Knapp, Class AAA right-hander Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.

Knapp and Carrasco are consider two of the Phillies best pitching prospects and Donald and Marson have shown the ability to hit at the shortstop and catching positions. This trade certainly will help the Phillies going forward this season. If they make the playoffs, it will be tough to face a three-man rotation that consist of Lee and Hamels. Not to mention one of the best offenses in baseball.

Year after year, the Milwaukee Brewers farm system gained strength during the tenure of Jack Zduriencik.

From 1999-2008, Zduriencik work closely to Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin. Zduriencik is credited with the scouting that led to many of the great draft picks the Brewers had over the years.

Many people were very dissapointed, myself included, when Zduriencik accepted an offer to become the new General Manager of the Seattle Mariners this past offseason. Many thought that the Brewers made a mistake by not giving him the GM job over Doug Melvin.

In his first season as Mariners GM, he has the M's four games over .500, due in large part to his cheap, low risk acquisitions.

One of the first things he did was offer Russell Branyan a full time job, and 500 at bats, at first base. Branyan has put up some amazing numbers, posting a .264/.362/.546/.908 line in 326 at bats. Just think where the Brewers would be had Branyan stayed in Milwaukee and started everyday at third base.

He then stockpiled the bullpen with hard throwing, unproven arms. This is a strategy that has worked before, just ask the Tampa Bay Rays aboutGrant Balfour. He added hard throwing relievers Tyler Walker, and David Aardsma for next to nothing. Although Walker didn't turn out great, he cost the Mariners basically nothing. Aardsma on the other hand has excelled. He is now the closer of the Mariners, and is averaging 12 K/9.

Today, Jack Z made two trades. The first, seemingly eliminated the Brewers from acquiring Jarrod Washburn. This is a trade that seemed to make no sense in the direction that Jack Z was taking. He acquired an overpayed, overrated shortstop in Jack Wilson that has a large contract. Jack Z says he plans to exercise Wilson's 2010 option for $8.4 million. In the deal, he also acquired Ian Snell. Snell is a pitcher that has the arm to be a great starter. He excelled for a couple of years under the radar because he played for the pirates. Jack sent one of the best catching prospect in the game in Jeff Clement to the Pirates, along with former Cub Ronny Cedeno and three other minor leaguers.

In his second trade, Zduriencik sent Wladimir Balentien to the Reds in exchange for minor league reliever Robert Manuel. Zduriencik acquired possibly the best reliever in the minor leagues in this trade. Manuel struck out 92 while only walking 15 last season in AA in just 77 innings, posting an ERA of 1.40 in the process. He has continued to pitch well this season posting a 2.70 ERA in 46 innings with only 10 walks.

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