Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's official: Halladay in, Lee out

Despite the little hiccup this afternoon that a player had failed his physical, the mega-trade has gone through: Roy Halladay is a Phillie and Cliff Lee has been traded to the Mariners. The trade is actually two different deals, one between the Blue Jays and Phillies and the other between the Mariners and Phillies.

Here is the breakdown:

Trade #1:
Phillies get: Roy Halladay (now signed through 2013), 6 million dollars
Blue Jays get: Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, Travis D'Arnaud

Trade #2:
Mariners get: Cliff Lee
Phillies get: Phillippe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gillies

First of all, I love the acquisition of Roy Halladay. He is one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in baseball. Having him atop the Phillies rotation for the next four years has me very excited. Even though it took the heavy price of Kyle Drabek, the Phillies traded an unknown commodity for a proven ace, which is a deal you have to make. The fact that the Phillies also got some cash in the deal that can be used to sign free agent bullpen help shouldn't be overlooked as another positive in this deal.

The second trade, the dealing of Cliff Lee, is obviously met with some disappointment. Lee was a stud down the stretch for the Phillies last year and a rotation that is anchored by Halladay and Lee, even for one season, would be unstoppable. What has to be understood, though, was that the Phillies gutted their farm system in their trade for Halladay and this second trade re-stocks it. While none of the prospects they got from Seattle are sure-things and aren't as good as who the Phillies traded to Toronto, the farm system won't see a huge drop-off. The other obvious factor in the equation for dealing Lee was money. The Phillies simply couldn't afford to keep his salary on the books this year.

Now that the dust has settled, every Phillies fan should be happy with this deal. The Phillies rotation for 2010 will be Halladay, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ and either Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick, which is the best in the National League. While you may be disappointed that Cliff Lee is leaving, you can't forget that Halladay is better than Lee and he will be in Philly for four years. There was no guarantee Lee was going to stay beyond this year so that is why the Phillies had to pull the trigger on these deals.

Simply put, the best team in the NL got even better today. Time will tell if it will be enough to overtake the best the AL has to offer.


T-Bone said...

We should be happy with this deal? Someone is obviously drinking the Phil's head office Kool Aid. The comment that "The Phillies simply couldn't afford to keep [Lee's] salary on the books this year" is absolutely absurd, and is symptomatic again of the small market mentality of these owners.

One can argue the relative merits vs liabilities of moving the prospects, but there's really no good argument financially to preclude having both stars on this team! Consider:

Lee was slated for $9 mil in 2010. This is a freakin' steal when considering that Moyer gets 6.5 mil, Lidge 11.5, & Myers was getting 12 mil. After arbitration, Blanton will come in around 7 mil. Now, the Jays are shelling out 6 mil as part of the trade. Blanton could be non-tendered which, combined with the Jays $$$, gives the Phils $13 mil to play with. Halladay will be getting 15.75 mil in 2010, but the above extra $13 mil would effectively bring his cost down to 2.75 mil in 2010. In that light, it's obvious the Phils could afford to have both Lee & Halladay. In fact, the ACTUAL cost for BOTH in 2010 would be LESS than they were paying Brett Goofball Myers!!! And we should be happy with that??!!

Joe W. Linden said...


allthingsphilly said...

This deal makes the Phillies better in the long-run, not just this year. The 6 million they got for Halladay is going to be used to further improve the team with bullpen help. If they kept Lee, that would leave no money left to shore up the teams biggest weakness in 2009. I do agree that they should have tried a little harder to move Blanton but I think they were worried about having a completely depleted minor league system.

T-Bone said...


I don't disagree with you, and I'm not as rabidly contrary to this move as my comment might have suggested. What I was really reacting to were many of the initial rationales offered for moving Lee, which tended to focus on the financial side. I was trying to point out that it was supremely do-able to have both Halladay and Lee in 2010 without coming close to breaking the Phil's bank, or even stressing their budget. As a result, I still think it's reasonable to feel some ambivalence about the deals, as opposed to all-out glee. I actually think this can work out very well -- though a lot will depend on Hamels -- and Amaro is clearly looking for long-term success, not just a single monster year. On the face of it, that's a good thing. But I think it's natural for Philly fans to feel some trepidation since we have another team in town that supposedly targets long-term success, but which hasn't yet delivered its first championship. To their enormous credit, the Phils did accomplish what that other team hasn't, but to be a Philly sports fan in general is to live in a constant state of anticipatory anxiety -- and with good reason!