Phillies add Lee to rotation; Giants get Sanchez

Jul 30, 2009 - 2:28 AM By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer

When Cliff Lee and Freddy Sanchez faced off during interleague play in June, they never could have imagined they'd see each other again this season.

Two big trades Wednesday ensured they will - this weekend, and with playoff implications.

Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, was acquired by the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies in a deal with the foundering Cleveland Indians, bolstering their rotation for a run at a second straight World Series title.

One player who wasn't dealt two days before the non-waiver deadline was Roy Halladay. The Phillies pursued Lee after making a run at the Toronto Blue Jays' six-time All-Star.

"I'm going to miss all these guys here, but it's an opportunity for me to help a team that's in first place," Lee said after the Indians lost to the Los Angeles Angels 9-3 in Anaheim, Calif. "They're the defending world champions. So as far as that goes, I'm excited."

Sanchez, a second baseman, became the second starter traded by the salary-dumping Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, switching clubhouses in San Francisco after the Giants beat the Pirates 1-0 to move ahead of Colorado for the NL wild-card lead.

"It's crazy," said Sanchez, who's unsure when he'll make his Giants debut because of a knee injury. "I'd be lying if I didn't say it's a little crazy, a little hectic. I'm here for a reason."

The Giants host the Phillies in a four-game series starting Thursday night. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he'll probably make a decision about the rotation on the team's plane ride.

In other trades Wednesday, the Pirates dumped two more of their highest-paid players, sending shortstop Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell to the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Ronny Cedeno, Triple-A catcher Jeff Clement and three minor league pitchers.

The Mariners also acquired right-handed reliever Robert Manuel from the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wladimir Balentien.

In getting Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from Cleveland, the Phils didn't have to part with top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, the 18th overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft.

They sent Triple-A pitcher Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson along with Class-A pitcher Jason Knapp to Cleveland, which traded the reigning Cy Young winner for the second straight year. The Indians sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee last season.

"At the root of this deal was balancing the conviction of our ability to compete in 2010 with the opportunity to impact the team's construction for years to come," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said in a statement.

The left-handed Lee is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts this season after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA last year. He'll complement World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who has been inconsistent this season - 7-5 with a 4.42 ERA.

Francisco, who is batting .250 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs, upgrades Philadelphia's bench, which has lacked a solid, right-handed hitter.

"We gave them four very good baseball prospects, and that hurts," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "When you want to acquire talent, you have to give talent, and that was part of the deal here."

San Francisco sent minor league pitcher Tim Alderson to the Pirates for the 31-year-old Sanchez, the 2006 NL batting champion, revamping the right side of their infield as they try for their first playoff appearance in 2003.

On Monday, The Giants got infielder-outfielder Ryan Garko from Cleveland. Garko will get most of the starts at first base.

"Simply put, our long-awaited next move has finally been consummated," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "A kid that has distinguished himself as an All-Star three out of the last four years and a batting champ within that time frame. The timing's great."

Sanchez is hitting .296 with six home runs and 34 RBIs, and did not play in this week's series against the Giants because of the knee. He will move into the No. 2 hole in the batting order and be the regular second baseman. Sanchez is 3 for 34 over his last eight games, but hopes once the knee is back to full strength he'll be back on track.

The 31-year-old Wilson, the most senior Pirates player and an All-Star in 2004, becomes Seattle's third everyday shortstop this season.

"I would call it a relatively major trade. We got a 27-year-old pitcher with three years' experience in the major leagues and arguably one of the better defensive shortstops in the league for guys who are yet to be proven," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said.

The Mariners hope they can restart Snell's stalled career. He had a 0.96 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Indianapolis, after starting the season 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA in 15 starts for Pittsburgh.

Seattle is also entertaining offers for starter Jarrod Washburn.

"I'm all ears at this point," Zduriencik said. "I can't say anything's imminent. I don't think I have a framework yet. ... There are discussions."

Since starting the season with a $48.7 million payroll, ahead of only San Diego and Florida, Pittsburgh has traded what had been its four highest-paid players: Wilson ($7.45 million), Adam LaRoche ($7.05 million), Sanchez ($6.25 million) and Snell ($3.2 million).

"It's just part of the game. It happens," third baseman Andy LaRoche said. "I don't know if this is normal but it's just the way that our brass sees it."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!