The Phillies placed Cy Young winner CC Sabathia atop their trade-deadline wish list but fell short simply because they couldn't beat the package the Milwaukee Brewers put together for him.
The Brewers offered top prospect Matt LaPorta to Cleveland, while the Phillies had nobody comparable in their system to persuade the Indians to change their minds.
The Indians yesterday traded Sabathia to the Brewers for outfielder LaPorta, righthanded pitcher Rob Bryson, lefthanded pitcher Zach Johnson, and a player to be named.
"They were pretty much focused with Milwaukee," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said of the Indians before last night's game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. "They liked what they had there. I think the rest of us that were talking to them - I don't know how many there were - we were sort of a backup position if they didn't get what they wanted from Milwaukee."
The Phillies know they were a backup plan because that's what the Indians told them.
The Indians also weren't looking for pitching in a trade for Sabathia, which might have hurt the Phillies' chances. The Phillies' top prospect is double-A Reading righthander Carlos Carrasco. But those familiar with the talks indicated he wasn't the key piece in the package the Phillies put together because the Indians wanted a young power hitter, not a young pitcher.
LaPorta, 23, was the Brewers' first-round pick in 2007 and had 20 home runs and 66 RBIs in 84 games at double-A Huntsville. The Phillies have some premium position players in their organization but none who has the pedigree of LaPorta:
Second baseman Adrian Cardenas is hitting .315 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 60 games for single-A Clearwater.
Shortstop Jason Donald is hitting .306 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs in 73 games for double-A Reading.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis is hitting .227 with one homer and 21 RBIs in 75 games for single-A Lakewood.
Catcher Lou Marson is hitting .323 with four homers and 43 RBIs in 78 games for Reading.
"They liked LaPorta because he fit their situation," Gillick said.
The Indians' situation is this: Travis Hafner is having shoulder problems, and Victor Martinez is suffering a power outage at the plate, so they need a power bat that could help them sometime soon.
Now that Sabathia is gone, that leaves the Phillies looking at Plan B.
"There was Sabathia and then a big drop," Gillick said.