The Halladay trade rumors have delivered yet another scenario. Even though at the same time, Phillies management has denied any involvement in the trade talks. Take that for what you will, but I believe that anything an organization states publicly means nothing. Philadelphia's current front office seems to be very successful at deceiving the media which is a great thing. Not necessarily for the devoted readers of phillienation.blogspot.com, but for the success of the organization. If the Phillies didn't do this last year, Cliff Lee would probably be donning Dodger Blue. Last year, the Phillies were associated with Halladay trade talks for weeks but only associated with Lee trade talks for about 64 minutes. I would count that as a win for Phillies management as it seemed to work out.
My opinion remains unchanged on whether or not the Phillies should trade for Halladay. As I originally said, the base package of the rumored trade includes J.A. Happ and Domonic Brown, but if the trade is to be completed, more prospects will be included. Based on Philadelphia radio speculation, those additional prospects are Antonio Bastardo and Anthony Hewitt.
After a full season of Ruben Amaro Jr. as general manager, I have faith that Amaro will not be desperate or stupid enough to make this trade. If the Phillies refused to pull the trigger on the Halladay trade last year, then there is no way that the Phillies will complete this trade. Last year, the Phillies organization approached the Halladay trade intelligently and conservatively. Obviously Roy Halladay is one of the best pitchers in this league and would be a great addition to any team, but trading away too much future talent for any one player for a short-term period is irresponsible. During last year's trade rumors, the Phillies were reported to have 3 players that were "untouchable." Those 3 players were Kyle Drabek, Domonic Brown, and Antonio Bastardo. With the midseason addition of Lee, it would make no sense for the Phillies to all of a sudden release the "untouchable" label for 2 of those players.
I have already made it clear on my opinions of Happ and why he should be kept. Brown, even though he is an elite 5-tool prospect, could be made available for a trade because Michael Taylor plays the same position and is more major league ready at this point in his career. Bastardo, is an amazing talent and will be counted on this year as a lefthanded reliever. I honestly don't understand why Bastardo isn't valued as highly as Drabek, as he is 24 years old and has embarrassed batters ever since he entered the Phillies organization. This article would be much more effective if I finished my prospect lists already but I have not. I don't want to ruin the suspense but Bastardo will be ranked lower than Drabek but not lower than any other pitcher in the Phillies' farm system. You figure it out. I hope you can. Anthony Hewitt was a first round round draft pick in 2008 but has been very disappointing. Hewitt is a very raw high school prospect and was viewed as a long-term project. Hewitt was probably the most athletically talented player in the 2008 draft but has still been disappointing enough that he is not viewed as valuable as other first round talents.
I understand that many baseball followers will disagree with my trade opinions. I will be the first to acknowledge that trading proven talent for unproven minor league prospects is risky in both directions. Maybe this statement will help you better understand my views on baseball management. A single short-term rental of great baseball talent rarely rewards a team with a World Series. If the Phillies trade for Halladay and fail to win the World Series, then that trade has to be considered a bust as the Phillies have officially lost out on the futures of so many talents. If the Phillies feel they have the ability to extend Halladay for more than two years, then his acquisition is more than worth it. It would be great to have Halladay on the Phillies for multiple years, but it seems unrealistic that the Phillies would be able to sign another marquee player to a long-term deal. The Phillies will be concentrating on resigning Rollins, Victorino, and Werth after the 2010 season and it is even unrealistic to expect the Phillies to be able to resign all 3 of those players.
Adding Halladay to the Phillies should not happen. The Phillies have always been a conservative organization when it comes to prospects and payroll. The Phillies do not appear to be willing to let their elite prospects go, and the Phillies are also about to hit their reported budget limit which is $140 million. The Phillies are a legitimate World Series contender without Halladay. The ultimate goal is to get better every year but completing a trade such as this would damage the organization's future too much.
A full season of Lee, a full season of Happ as a starter, a non-crap season of Colbert Hamels, the always reliable Blanton, and the late season appearance of Drabek. The addition of Halladay would be a little too much for the National League to handle as the Phillies havn't lost more than one playoff game in any National League playoff series in the past 2 years. It's the holiday season, let's leave some hope for others.