The trade can be broken down into two ugly halves.
The first half comes from the day the deal was made. How could the Phillies turn away a chance to have one of the league‚Äôs most dominating starting rotations?
Lee has gone on to dominate the American League with a 7-2 record and a 2.45 ERA. while playing on a team that is offensively challenged. Lee has walked only 5 batters all season, and he just threw another complete game against the Yankees.
The second half of the issue has also been discussed, but now is really starting to come into focus, and that is Ruben Amaro‚Äôs failure to acquire quality prospects in return for Lee, thereby impeding the chance for any potential deals this year.
The Phillies have issues with the lineup, caused mainly by injuries, but also maybe a little bit from age. The bench has been better since Gregg Dobbs left, but the fact that he is back is an indicator of how thin the talent available in the minors is.
The Phillies still have issues in the starting rotation with J.A. Happ making little to no progress in his rehab starts. And finally, they still have issues in the bullpen with a lack of reliable options.
What Amaro told the fans after the Lee deal was that it was necessary to restock the farm system. Ok. So where are those prospects? None of the prospects from Seattle have performed well, and they have no trade value at this time. Phillippe Aumont was demoted to single A, after posting an ERA over 7. He‚Äôs not faring much better in single A with an ERA above 5. Tyson Gillies is only hitting .236, and J.C. Ramirez, the third player from Seattle, also has a high ERA of 5.54.
The Phillies only attractive prospect is Dominic Brown, who they can‚Äôt afford to let go with the future of Jayson Werth in doubt.
The Phillies have put themselves in an impossible position. Because Amaro failed to get strong prospects in return for Lee, the Phillies can‚Äôt make a move to improve this year‚Äôs team without sacrificing their future.
Even if there a couple of other prospects that some teams may like, the Phillies won‚Äôt be able to outbid the competition.¬† The Cliff Lee trade will haunt Amaro and the Phillies for a long time to come.