Looking for a top starter to bolster their so-so rotation, the Philadelphia Phillies are pursuing reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee.
PHILADELPHIA — Looking for a top starter to bolster their so-so rotation, the Philadelphia Phillies are pursuing reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee.
The defending World Series champion have offered the Cleveland Indians a package of players for Lee, a baseball official familiar with the trade proposal told The Associated Press today.
Philadelphia's offer doesn't include top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, the person said on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing. The non-waiver trade deadline is Friday.
Philadelphia is reluctant to trade Drabek, a right-handed pitcher who was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft. Drabek, the son of former NL Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, is 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA at Double-A Reading.
Phillies minor league pitcher Carlos Carrasco was scratched from his scheduled start at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for today's 11 a.m. game. Infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson also weren't in the lineup.
The NL East-leading Phillies also have been pursuing Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, but shifted their attention to Lee because Toronto's asking price for the six-time All-Star is high.
Whether Cleveland is willing to trade Lee is unknown. Lee turns 31 next month and the Indians hold a $8 million club option for next season. The Indians traded a reigning CY Young winner last summer when they sent CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers. Sabathia, however, was in the final year of his contract.
He helped pitched the Brewers into the postseason before signing a $161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees.
Lee would give the Phillies another top starter to join Cole Hamels. The left-hander is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts this season after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA last year. Hamels, who was MVP of the World Series and NLCS last fall, has struggled this season. He's 7-5 with a 4.42 ERA, though he pitched well in a Tuesday night victory over the Diamondbacks.
The Phillies have a comfortable lead in the division — seven games ahead of second-place Florida going into today's games. They've sought pitching help since No. 2 starter Brett Myers had hip surgery in June. Forty-six-year-old Jamie Moyer leads the staff with 10 wins, but he has a 5.32 ERA.
Philadelphia also remains interested in Halladay. He's a legitimate ace who's been one of the best pitchers in the majors for several years. Halladay was 11-3 with a 2.62 ERA entering his start tonight at Seattle.
Halladay's price tag is much bigger than Lee's. He's due to earn $15.75 million next season in the final year of his contract.
AP sports writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.