(credit: Rube Waddell)
Four years and a day after the Phillies dealt Scott Rolen to the Cardinals for an aging reliever, an injured minor-league starter and a league-average infielder, the team has made what might well be a worse deal to send an arguably better player out of Philadelphia.
Abreu and Cory Lidle, who has won his last four starts and is a career 41-25 pitcher after August 1, were traded for infielder C.J. Henry, lefty reliever Matt Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez, and pitcher Carlos Monasterios. Smith is a triple-A lefty; the other three are 20, 18, and 20 respectively, and all played in the Gulf Coast League, the lowest level of the minors in the U.S. It's very possible that none of these four "prospects" will be anything more than marginal major-leaguers... in 2011 or so.
Henry, the most-heralded of these prospects, is a 20 year-old who put up a .714 OPS in the Gulf Coast League last season. This year at low-A Charleston, he's hitting .237 with a .676 OPS. Smith is... you know what? I don't give a shit. He's a 27 year-old effing relief pitcher.
This for Abreu, one of the best offensive players in club history, and Lidle, the best starter known to be on the market.
And this was a deal the Phillies didn't have to make. They could have made a better deal for Lidle alone, they could have held onto Abreu for next year, recouped two draft picks for Lidle, or dealt Abreu in the off-season.
I give up. This is just a crushing piece of bad news.