I understand why some (most?) Phillies fans are baffled by the Roy Halladay-for-Cliff Lee trade. So, I’ll try to break it all down by arguing some basic points coming out of this deal …
Cliff Lee was awesome last season. It’s stupid that we are trading our best pitcher.
Yes, Lee carried the pitching staff and without him, a return trip to the World Series might not have happened. However, fans have to realize two things: A) Lee is a free agent after 2010 and he will not re-sign with the Phillies, and B) Halladay is better. Period.
Fact is, had we not traded Lee right now, we would get nothing in return of equal or greater value once he bailed for more money.According to reports, the Phillies approached Lee about a contract extension recently, and he declined. Simply put, he wants to test free agency.
In addition, from what I understand, Lee isn’t thrilled to be in Philadelphia. In other words, I’m not so sure he’s ever been very comfortable here, which is yet another reason why the Phillies have zero chance to sign him.
Roy Halladay is better and he wants to be here. Look at the career numbers and compare. Some fans of the Phillies do not know Halladay, thus they are reluctant to trade Lee. Well, all I have to say is… just wait. There’s a reason why Halladay is considered the best pitcher of this decade.
One more thing to consider: Lee wasn’t necessarily dominant during the regular season. After a strong start, he was awful from late-August to the end of September. I don’t think you’ll get a more consistently good-to-great pitcher than Halladay.
We could have kept Cliff Lee and traded Cole Hamels instead.
Uh, no, we couldn’t.
Fact is, Lee was sexy trade bait because he’s earning an affordable salary and he’s in the last year of his contract. Hamels, on the other hand, is locked up for the next three seasons and is coming off a terrible year. Hamels’ trade value is at an all-time low.
Fact the facts: Cliff Lee was a one-year rental at best. On the other hand, we’re getting Halladay for at least four seasons.
The Phillies gave up a lot of prospects to get Lee. Now, we traded Lee and even more of our best prospects for Halladay. That’s dumb!
On paper, yes, it appears the Phillies emptied their farm system for, essentially, one player.
But I’ll tell you to take another look. A harder look.
The Phillies, by most accounts, traded an average package of prospects to get Lee. I’m sure catcher Lou Marson will be a starter at some point, but what about pitcher Carlos Carrasco and infielder Jason Donald? Carrasco was horrendous in his September call-up, while Donald projects to be a career back up. The young flame-thrower, Jason Knapp, is coming off major surgery and is still four or five years away from the bigs.
Now, on to the Halladay deal…
I was initially disappointed to learn that Kyle Drabek, arguably the Phillies’ best pitching prospect, would be dealt to Toronto. I think everyone in the Philadelphia area hyped up this kid to be The Next Big Thing … but, upon further review, the Phillies are getting two of the Mariners’ best prospects, INCLUDING THEIR VERY BEST, right-hander Phillippe Aumont, who is basically Seattle’s version of Drabek.
Outfielder Tyson Gillies is supposed to be the Phillies’ version of Michael Taylor, who is headed to Oakland.
So, all in all, it looks like a pretty fair trade.
Look at it this way: The Phillies are getting the best pitcher in baseball, one of the best pitching prospects in baseball (Aumont), two more quality prospects (Gillies and RHP Juan Ramirez) and $6 million cash!
In conclusion, this trade works well in the Phillies’ favor. Embrace the fact that Halladay is coming to town and will dominant the National League over the next several years.
Sounds good, right?