Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halladay Trade Complete. Finally

THE PHILLIES ACQUIRE GILLIES. I just wanted to be the only person to not start their trade article with the introduction of “Happy Halladays.” The trade cannot be made official until all players pass their physicals, but the trade in principal has been agreed upon and all players that are involved are finally known. This was an incredibly weird trade as it was incorrectly reported as a three team trade. In fact this is not a three team trade; it is the Phillies making two separate trades. When it is all said and done the outcome will appear like this.

Phillies Get:

Harry Halladay. Oh you didn’t know that was his name huh
Tyson Gillies. Centerfield prospect from the Mariners
Phillippe Aumont. Pitching prospect from the Mariners
Juan Ramirez. Pitching prospect from the Mariners
$6 million from Blue Jays to pay Roy Halladay’s contract

Mariners Get:

Cliff Lee

Blue Jays Get:

Kyle Drabek. Pitching prospect from the Phillies
Michael Taylor. Outfield prospect from the Phillies
Travis D’Arnaud. Catching prospect from the Phillies.

This trade started off so simple and it grew right in front of our eyes almost as quickly as Robin Williams in the movie Jack. Originally, the Phillies were giving up only Cliff Lee and receiving only Roy Halladay. This seemed fair and benefitted the Phillies because as great as Lee is, Halladay does represent a marginal improvement. On the other end of the table, the Jays would receive whatever prospects the Phillies were given for Cliff Lee. That all seemed simple enough but the Jays felt that they were not receiving enough in return for Halladay, and I can’t disagree with that at all. The trade really took off from there as the Jays were not satisfied on the collection of prospects the Mariners were delivering. From here, the Jays started to demand certain prospects from the Phillies organization. The Phillies were originally hesitant to release some of their elite prospects but were committed to complete this deal, so they eventually let their top pitching and catching prospects go in Drabek and D’Arnaud. The Phillies were also asked to give up outfielder Domonic Brown as well, who is their top overall prospect. The Phillies were never willing to allow Brown to leave so they decided to trade outfielder Michael Taylor instead. This truly hurts and it took a lot of time for me to get over the loss of Michael Taylor, but I held it together and did not cry. I eventually accepted this, it helps that the Phillies still have Brown and many other good outfield prospects. At this point in the trade it was apparent that the Jays were more than satisfied in their return but the Phillies were giving up way too much for only one player. This then led to the Phillies renegotiating with the Mariners for more prospects just as the Jays were doing before. The Phillies ended up receiving 3 of the Mariners’ top 10 prospects in Tyson Gillies, Phillippe Aumont, and Juan Ramirez.

In the end, these seemed to be fair trades for all teams involved. The Jays received a good amount of the Phillies’ elite prospects for Roy Halladay, the Phillies received Roy Halladay, the Mariners received Cliff Lee, and the Phillies received a good amount of the Mariners’ elite prospects.
It is funny because none of this insanity would have ever been created if Cliff Lee was willing to resign with the Phillies without going into free agency. Halladay, on the other hand, has already agreed to a 3 year extension worth $60 million which is much less than he would receive on the open market. Lee was an amazing pitcher for the Phillies, especially during the postseason. There are only a few pitchers in this league that are better than Lee, fortunately Halladay is one of those few and there are absolutely no questions that come with Halladay. I feel no need to validate that comment with statistics as I feel my readers are intelligent enough to know this. You’re welcome.

Once I became aware that this was not a three team trade and the Phillies were trading away Lee because of salary restrictions, I became infuriated with Phillies ownership. I understand the purpose of a budget and that it needs to be obeyed but it’s just not nice to acknowledge as a fan. After seeing how this trade finally ended up, I understand that trading away Lee was imperative. If the Lee trade did not occur, the Phillies would have lost too much of their farm system and the Phillies’ window of success would be seriously limited. It could have been possible that the Desi Relaford days would be revisited. Just kidding, the Phillies farm system is incredibly deep and the future remains strong.

All in all, this trade is about as fair as can be in terms of value given up and value received. It is obvious that swapping Lee with Halladay is a marginal increase. Lee has been incredible but Halladay has proven to be a cy young candidate every year. In terms of the minorleague players that were turned over throughout this trade, the Phillies gave some great prospects to the Jays but received some great prospects from the Mariners. It appears at initial glance that the Phillies farm system declined marginally. Actually, the difference that the Phillies farm system declined, seems to be the exact difference between Halladay and Lee. With almost no difference in the value received compared to value lost, the Phillies still come out significantly better because they have Halladay under control for at least three more years than they would have had Lee.

I would like to state that after a little over one season of Ruben Amaro Jr. as general manager, he has done an immaculate job. Very little was known about him and the expectations weren’t necessarily too high as he didn’t have any previous general managing experience. I can say that after being hired after the 2008 season, Amaro is questionably the best general manager in all of baseball. Yes, I did just make that claim and don’t believe it to be sensationalistic at all. Some moves that he has made were questioned but ever single move that he has made has worked out. He resigned Werth, Howard, Hamels, Eyre, Madsen, and Lidge to very reasonable contracts. Yes, even though Lidge and Hamels had subpar 2009 seasons, their contracts are still reasonable based on their career numbers. The Ibanez signing was immediately put into question but he clearly outperformed his contract, at least through the first year of it. The addition of Park and Pedro proved to be extremely valuable come the end of 2009. No words can even describe how great the original Lee deal was. This current deal cannot truly be evaluated for sometime but I can’t forecast a realistic situation where the Phillies end up losing. I feel that based on Amaro’s very brief career as the Phillies general manager, he has made great decisions and Phillies fans should be overjoyed that he is taking the Phillies far past their inferior competitors.

In my next post I will go in depth with the minor league players that the Phillies received.

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