Jays Need More for Halladay Than ESPN Says
The Roy Halladay deal, if it goes down as outlined by several sources, is not enough of a return for the Jays and the best pitcher in baseball to make it worthwhile.
The pieces are coming together:
The Jays will be sending Halladay plus $6 mllion (all figures U.S.) to the Phillies.
The Phillies will send Cliff Lee to the M's and Kyle Drabek (RHP), Travis D'Arnaud (c) and Michael Taylor (of) to the Jays. The Jays will turn Taylor around to the A's for Brett Wallace (1B/3B). The M's will send Phillippe Aumont and Tryson Gillies to the Phillies. Play Ball!
The Phillies' front-office smarts are being cast in doubt from a segment of their fan-base asking why they would be simply switching Cy Young hurlers in the mega-swap with the Jays and the M's while also giving up an armload of top prospects to the Jays, receiving just two in return.
The answer lies in the simple fact that Halladay is a significantly better pitcher than Lee and will be with them for a significantly longer time. Plus, if the Jays are indeed paying $6 million this year towards Halladay's contract, Doc = Cliff in cost at least for next year. That's a bonus.
The following is a brief, but telling Tale of the Tape in support of the Good Doctor.
Please don't bring up the issue of money. If it's not your money that's paying players and the organization isn't whining about cost, you shouldn't care. Fans should care simply about on-field results for the team they are purchasing tickets to see. That's it, that's all. If you must deal a player because you don't have financial resources, just make sure that you have replacements from the farm or in trade.
Halladay: 32-years-old, 6-6, 225 lbs; 148-76, 3.43 ERA lifetime. A healthy Halladay with a vesting option for 2014, would give the Phillies 1,200 innings for the next five years.
Lee: 31-years-old, 6-3, 190 lbs; 90-53, 3.97 ERA lifetime. Lee, signed through 2010, will give the M's about 220 innings, plus yield two June '11 compensation draft picks, next season.
Here are a couple of more Halladay-Lee comparisons of significance demonstrating Doc's better chances of helping his team to a World Series victory for the second time in three years.
Against the big boys of the AL East, the Red Sox and the Yankees: Halladay is 32-20, with a 3.59 ERA in 516-2/3 innings. Lee is 6-8, with a 4.69 ERA in 107.1 innings.
But against the sad-sack Kansas City Royals combined with the generally lighter-hitting lineups of the National League: Lee is 31-11, with a 3.65 ERA in 359-2/3 innings. Halladay is 26-11, with a 2.90 ERA in 322-1/3 innings. Doc's had stiffer career competition and excelled.
In the World Series last year, manager Charlie Manuel was unwilling to match his starting ace, Lee, up on three days rest because he had never done it before in his career. Halladay is 4-2, with a 2.79 ERA in six starts on short rest, averaging seven innings per outing. If the situation arises again in 2010, you know Halladay will be taking the ball and matching up against the opponent's ace on short rest.
Let's analyze the Jays trade return for the Jays and the impact or non-impact each player will have in terms of arrival date at the Rogers Centre with the major-league club.
Drabek, 22, clearly has a bigger upside than J.A. Happ. But the son of former Cy Young winner with the Pirates, Doug Drabek, is still considered to be a year away. He is coming off Tommy John surgery in 2007. No help for the 2010 Jays' rotation.
D'Arnaud, 20, is more of a defender at this point than he is an offensive threat and is still a few years away. With the Jays' re-signing of Raul Chavez to a minor-league deal, the signings of John Buck and Ramon Castro as free agents and the presence of highly-regarded backstops J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman high up in the system, the inclusion of the third man D'Arnaud in the Halladay deal it's like the mayor of Newcastle getting a great deal on more coal and thinking it's a good idea.
As for the late addition (does that make it a four-way?) of the former Cards' second-ranked Baseball America prospect, Wallace is a corner infielder with a potent bat. He's not a corner outfielder with good speed as Taylor, the guy that passed through from the Phillies on the way to the A's was.
Wallace is going to be in the 2010 Jays' lineup. If he plays third base, what do they do with Edwin Encarnacion? If he plays first base, what do they do with Lyle Overbay? Neither crisis is a deal-breaker because even a dump of one of the corner guys will save the Jays a little money.
But what it does mean is that the young Jays' starters are on their own, with a Top 2, right now, of Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum. The Jays' clubhouse should include a shrine to Tommy John.