Cliff Lee Trade: A Coup For Philadelphia Phillies' GM Amaro

Jim McNultyCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Pundits predicted Phillies GM Ruben Amaro’s tenure would be defined by how he handled this year’s trading deadline.

The verdict?  This guy’s good.

Amaro managed to wrangle the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner away from Cleveland.  And didn’t have to give up possible rookie-of-the-year candidate J.A. Happ, who is 7-1 on the season.

He didn’t have to part with Kyle Drabek, the crown jewel of the farm system.  He got to keep top prospects Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor.

And now he gets to add Cliff Lee to his rotation of reigning World Series MVP Cole Hamels, Happ, Joe Blanton and either Pedro Martinez or Jamie Moyer.

All this for a team that is now 19-5 in July and sporting a seven game lead in the NL East.

Naysayers are sulking, complaining we didn’t get the top guy available.  Fair enough.  But when have the Phillies EVER gotten the top guy? 

Normally it’s a “middle-tier” guy, like Kyle Lohse, or “Average Joe” Blanton.  The fact that the Phillies were even in the conversation to get the top guy is out of character.

Well, at least it was until the Phillies became 2008 World Champions.  When else in team history has Plan B arrived sporting his Cy Young Award? 

Not to mention the shot-in-the-dark Cy Young winner in Pedro Martinez that’s getting into shape up in Allentown?  Sure, Pedro’s not the same guy he was ten years ago.  But if he can pitch as well or better than Rodrigo Lopez—who’s done a great job for the Phils—combined with the Phil’s potent offense, you could be looking at the first NL team to repeat as World Series Champs since the Big Red Machine in the mid '70s.

This deal follows the offseason signing of Raul Ibañez, who is among the league leaders in home runs and started the All-Star Game.

Not bad for a rookie GM.

Can’t wait to see what he does for an encore.