Cliff Lee Analysis


Indians lefty Cliff Lee just got traded to the Phillies along with OF Ben Fransisco  for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. Back when I explored some potential Twins deals, I mentioned that I would break down any deals involving the Twins. Since the Twins see the Indians quite a bit in the 2nd half, I would say this involves them. But mostly it’s an excuse to break out the Trade Value Calculator.

Cliff Lee
YearSal (M)WARVal (M)Net (M)Sal (M)Arb %
FA Picks$5.0

Giving Lee just 5 WAR is probably a bit harsh, especially given he was worth over 7 last year and will probably hit 6 this year, but I decided to err on the side of caution. Now, to the prospects:

Jason Knapp is an 18 year old pitcher with a high ceiling. He was a midseason top 50 prospect by Baseball America, and although he is a high risk pitcher who is a long way away from hitting his ceiling, I feel comfortable putting him in the top 75 range, giving him a value of 12 million. Lou Marson currently has a AAA line of 295/.384/.367. Not a ton of power, but given that he is a catcher, I think he is a top 75 hitter, making him worth about 14 million. Jason Donald was a top 100 prospect last year, but given his struggles with the bat and the fact that he probably won’t be a full time shortstop, he gets knocked down a peg or two. I would liken him to a Jhonny Peralta type with less bat, and given that he is outside the top 100, but not a grade C hitter as graded by John Sickles, make him worth 2 million. A lot of people had Carlos Carrasco as a future superstar, but given the fact that he has a FIP of 4.01 in AAA, and doesn’t really have a breaking ball, I’m bumping him down a bit, to the 75-100 range, making him worth about 10 million. Again, if you want to see where these values come from, go here and here.

In the end, the Phillies gave up more than Lee was worth, but didn’t have to give up any of their top prospects like Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, so as cliched as it is to say I think this is a win win for the clubs.