Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Phillies Rumor Update: Halladay talks, Cliff Lee an option

With 10 days to go until the Trade Deadline, things are starting to heat up for the Phillies in their search for a starting pitcher. While many are beginning to feel that the Phillies don't need to get another starting pitcher because of their huge division lead, the team knows that they need another pitcher to put into their playoff rotation. A staff of Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ and Pedro Martinez is good, but shaky, in the playoffs.

The biggest name being thrown about is Roy Halladay, with all indications being that the Phillies are the favorites to land the Blue Jays ace. The Phillies would likely have to give up a package of three or four prospects to get Halladay, but word has come out today that they aren't willing to give up their best prospect, pitcher Kyle Drabek. According to Jon Heyman of SI, the Phillies have informed Toronto that they will not include Drabek in a deal to get Halladay, essentially making him untouchable. While this could kill any deal with the Blue Jays, it does show that the Phils are playing hardball with the Jays, who may not have any other teams making serious offers. The best package Toronto will likely get from the Phillies now is Michael Taylor, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and another prospect or possibly J.A. Happ. This may lead the Blue Jays to decide not to trade Halladay and wait until next season.

As a precaution if they don't get Halladay, the Phillies are starting to seek out other options. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies have also looked into getting Cliff Lee from the Indians. While I wouldn't be happy with a rotation that featured 4 lefties (Hamels, Lee, Moyer, Happ), Lee could be acquired for much less and he is nearly as good as Halladay. Lee also has another year on his contract and is set to earn 11 million next year, not a bad value for a top of the rotation guy. And, with Lee, you know the Phillies wouldn't even have to consider giving up Drabek, although the Indians could demand J.A. Happ, someone I'm sure the Phils are trying to hold onto.

With the deadline approaching, the Phillies will continue to work the phones to try and get a deal done. With so many quality prospects in their system, it seems pretty likely that the Phillies should be able to get a deal done, whether it's for Halladay or Lee or another top pitcher. Should that happen, I think it would be safe to say that a return trip to the World Series is in order. These should be an exciting 10 days.

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