According to several baseball sources, the only hurdle standing in the way of a blockbuster trade that will bring reigning American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to Philadelphia is a thorough review of medical records.
The trade will bring Lee, 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA, and right-handed hitter Ben Francisco to Philadelphia in exchange for heralded pitching prospect Jason Knapp, infielder Jason Donald, catcher Lou Marson, and former top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco.
While the medical review is not expected to stand in the way of the deal, a source labelled it an "important part" of the process, given recent injuries to Donald and Knapp. As of early this afternoon, Knapp was still at a Lakewood Blue Claws team hotel in Greenville, S.C., while Donald, Marson and Carrasco were at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Carrasco was scratched from his start today. Donald and Marson did not play. Donald was not scheduled to play after returning last night following knee surgery. Marson did not catch, with an early day game after a night game.
Knapp, a 19-year-old righthander who throws in the mid-to-upper 90's, has been on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue since early July. He has been long-tossing, but has not pitched off the mound since July 11.
Word of the trade has already trickled down to Anaheim, where sources said Cleveland teammates were congratulating Lee on the deal. Lee, however, told reporters that he had no knowledge of the trade.
A Phillies source said no announcement was imminent. An Indians spokesman declined to confirm the trade.
Meanwhile, Roy Halladay took the mound in Seattle for Toronto against the Mariners.
Jays manager Cito Gaston was asked about the impending Lee trade.
“Is it official now? So what is Cleveland doing there?" he said. "I know they’re (unloading) but what are they doing?”
Gaston was then asked if it made him feel any better that one of Halladay's suitor was presumably off the board.
“Well, yeah. It tells me [Philadelphia] is not going to take him? Who knows? They might come back and get him, too," he said. "That would be a pretty good staff over there, wouldn’t it? Because from what I understand, they didn’t give up any of their [top] prospects, not the ones we [reportedly] wanted."
Then he started to laugh: "Hey, it’s still out there maybe. It’s better to have two than one, isn’t it? We’ll see what happens. Today’s the 29th. We’ve still got two days. So it’s still alive.”
More to come. . .