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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cliff Lee Is A Two-Way Player?

("I played basketball, so I'm qualified to talk about which baseball players are the best. They play with a ball in baseball, right?")

Because unless he plays 1st or SS and can hit and get on base, he really doesn't improve a club whose problem has been its offense, not pitching staff. After hearing Mychal Thompson (LA Sports Live on ESPN Radio 710) spout off again about how trading for Cliff Lee had to be done, and Clayton Kershaw should have been included, I had to write something, something to not keep screaming obscenities in my head.

And consider what the Dodgers would have had to give up to acquire his services. Colletti smartly deemed Clayton Kershaw off-limits, and taking into account what the Phillies gave up (4 of their top ten prospects), the Dodgers would have paid a similar price.

Therein lies the problem though - the Dodgers top ten prospects are, on the whole, better than the Phillies top 10 prospects. And yes, I'm biased, but not stupid - the prospects are close, but I would give the Dodgers the edge even if I wasn't a Dodgers fan.

The Phillies, based off of those Baseball America rankings listed above, parted with their #'s 2, 3, 4, and 10 prospects. Obviously the performances of those prospects would have altered their rankings at the time of the trade deadline, but it's still a useful barometer for what was needed to land Lee from the Indians.

Using those same slots, the Dodgers would have parted with James McDonald (2), Ethan Martin (3), Josh Lindblom (4), and Nathan Eovaldi (10) to acquire Cliff Lee. Again, those rankings would have changed at the trade deadline, and I highly doubt the Indians would have accepted 4 pitchers. The Indians very well could have asked the Dodgers for what the Indians were giving up (2 Pitchers, C, SS), and that new deal would then have been McDonald, Ethan Martin, Dee Gordon, and Andrew Lambo/Josh Bell substituted for a C, since the Dodgers don't have a top catching prospect any more (thanks Ned & Frank).

I don't know about you, but that's a ridiculous price to pay for a player in Lee who only, at best, makes you marginally better, and doesn't actually address your team's pressing needs of more offense from the 1st base and shortstop positions. Of course the rotation is more formidable with Lee in it because we keep Kershaw and Billingsley and are replacing the # 5 spot of said rotation, but giving up that many high-end prospects just doesn't sit well with me.

The future is always important, and ripping this team apart for, at best, a slightly better shot at winning this year does not simply hurt our future chances, it comes dangerously close to wiping them out.

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