PHILADELPHIA — Cliff Lee’s new teammates were so excited to get him, they gave the man responsible for the trade a clubhouse curtain call.
Looking for an ace to bolster their so-so rotation, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Lee on Wednesday from Cleveland, marking the second straight year the Indians traded the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.
When general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. walked through the locker room hours before the defending World Series champions played in Arizona, many Phillies greeted him with applause.
“One of our goals has been to add someone to our rotation that can be a difference-maker,” Amaro said in a conference call.
“It’s important to show our guys on the field that we’re making the best effort to put the best team out there.”
The NL East-leading Phillies gave Cleveland four minor league prospects for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco. 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.
“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. But right now I’ve got to figure out how to get there and meet up with them and get acclimated to their team,” Lee said.
The Phillies sent Triple-A pitcher Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson along with Single-A pitcher Jason Knapp to Cleveland.
Lee turns 31 next month and his contract includes a $9 million club option for next season.
The Phillies pursued Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, but shifted their attention to Lee because Toronto’s asking price for the six-time all-star is high. Philadelphia balked at trading top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, who was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft.
Amaro acquired Lee without giving up Drabek, rookie left-hander J.A. Happ, who was 7-1 going into his start at Arizona, or highly touted minor league outfielders Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown.
Lee gives the Phillies another top starter to join Cole Hamels. The MVP of the World Series and NLCS last fall has been inconsistent this season — Hamels was 7-5 with a 4.42 ERA, though he pitched well in a victory at Arizona on Tuesday.
SEATTLE — The busy Seattle Mariners have acquired right-handed pitcher Robert Manuel from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for outfielder Wladimir Balentien.
Mariners general manager Jack Zdurienick’s second trade Wednesday was for a 26-year-old pitcher with three games of major league experience as a reliever — all in the last three weeks.
Manuel has just 40 games of experience above double-A.
Seattle earlier added shortstop Jack Wilson and right-hander Ian Snell from Pittsburgh for shortstop Ronny Cedeno, catcher Jeff Clement and three minor leaguers.
Seattle designated Balentien for assignment Sunday. The 25-year-old struggled as Seattle’s left fielder following a season-ending injury to Endy Chavez, hitting .213 with 13 RBIs in 56 games.
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants have acquired three-time all-star infielder Freddy Sanchez from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The teams announced the deal right after the Giants beat Pittsburgh 1-0 in 10 innings Wednesday. The Pirates got minor league pitcher Tim Alderson for Sanchez.
Sanchez was the 2006 NL batting champion and should boost Giants’ bid for the NL wild-card slot. He is hitting .296 with six home runs and 34 RBIs, and did not play in this week’s series at San Francisco because of a tender knee.