While it has not been finalized yet after being announced just less than 48 hours ago, the deal that has been rumored to go down for the past half a year is actually about to happen.
The deal that I am talking about is something involving the Philadelphia Phillies and them dealing for a former Cy Young Pitcher by the name of Roy Halladay.
Ring any bells?
If it doesn’t, go into the Philly Phour archives and read over ever single post I wrote in the month of July, and then it will refresh your memory.
So, the trade that was destined to take place is actually doing so. Now, I hate writing about posts about issues that are not finalized, but even if one of the players fails a physical (which is rumored to have happened), this trade is going to happen. So with that said, here is what the final trade details look like involving not three, but four teams (opinions to follow).
Philadelphia gets: Halladay, three Seattle Mariners prospects (Phillipe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Juan Ramirez), and six-million dollars in cash from Toronto
Toronto gets: Two Phillies prospects (Kyle Drabek and Travis D’arnaud) and Athletics top prospect Brett Wallace
Oakland gets: Phillies prospect Michael Taylor
Seattle gets: Cliff Lee
With all the details out there on the table, here’s my general opinion on the deal, in which my feelings have ranged from excited to bittersweet over the past two days.
By getting Halladay, and signing him to an three-year extension (with a possible 4th and 5th year option), the Phillies window of opportunity for another World Series title has been opened for another five seasons. As a current Phillies fan, you have to be happy about having a top 3-5 pitcher in all of baseball for the next few years as players like Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard are entering the prime of their own respective careers. With Halladay, those mentioned above, and guys such as Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, and Cole Hamels, the Phillies will be in contention for a championship every year for the next half a decade. There is no question about that.
There’s no doubt that the Phillies gave up alot in this deal, but they didn’t just get Halladay in this trade. All three of the prospects the Phillies got from Seattle were highly-regarded (all top 10 in the organization). With Aumont, the Phillies get a pitcher who was former first-round pick in 2007 (same year and round as Drabek) and was the 33rd ranked prospect in all of baseball at the start of the 2009 season. Needless to say, the kid is good, so before you start sending Ruben Amaro Jr. hate letters for dealing Kyle Drabek, take a look at Aumont.
Also in the deal, the Phillies got an outfielder in Tyson Gillies and a pitcher in Juan Ramirez. With Ramirez, the Phillies are getting a guy with a high-ceiling, but still has plenty of room to grow (very similar to Jason Knapp who the Phillies dealt for Cliff Lee). Gillies, who is comparable to Taylor in terms of worth for their respective organizations, was ranked anywhere from 4th the 6th out of all the Mariners prospects, and was the 2nd-ranked outfielder in the organization. In comparison to that, Taylor was ranked anywhere from being the 3rd to the 6th best Phillies prospect, and was regarded as the 2nd best outfield prospect in the organization. While Taylor definitely has the super-star potential that Gillies may not have, he was expendable due to the fact the Phillies have a better outfield prospect in Dominic Brown waiting in the wings behind the three all-stars (Werth, Victorino, Ibanez) that currently patrol the Phillies outfield.
With that said, for those who are claiming that the Phillies traded away their entire future for just 3-5 years of Roy Halladay, think again. Aumont, Gillies, and Ramirez will make an impact on the Phillies organization in both the Minor and Major League level of baseball. Mark my words.
Parting ways with Lee, Drabek, Taylor, and D’Arnaud makes the Phillies look like they are dumping their future for the present. In a sense, they are right. Truth be told, I do question the Phillies virtually trading off Lee for Halladay. Based on track record, there is no doubt that Halladay is the better pitcher, but there will come a time that all the innings pitched by Halladay will start to take a toll on his body. I sure hope that time comes later rather than sooner, or this deal will be best described as the demise of the Philadelphia Phillies.
I know a primary reason on why the Phillies in a sense chose Halladay over Lee was because of the ability to sign Halladay to a long-term extension. Each player had a different mentality. Halladay wanted to sign a long-term deal with a contender (Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels) and Lee, with one more year with the Phillies, wanted to test the open market. The smart decision was to sign Halladay in fear that a year down the road Lee would spurn the Phillies for an absurd offer from the Yankees or Red Sox, and they followed that trail.
However, the way the city of Philadelphia embraced Lee, especially during the playoff run, can’t be ignored. The Phillies fans loved Lee, and Lee loved Philadelphia, and for good reason. The Phillies gave Lee his best chance to win a World Series in his career, and Lee’s performance (and Chase Utley’s) almost got them past the Yankees to that point. Undoubtably, Lee was spectacular in his term with the Phillies, especially during the playoffs, which something you can’t say about Halladay, because quite frankly, he’s never been to the playoffs before.
It’s not just about dealing Lee in this trade. While I’m a little sad to see a possible future ace in Drabek and a potential all-star corner outfielder in Taylor go, I understand, because the Phillies did get two prospects back that have the potential to fill those same roles in the organization. I am though a little skeptical of the Phillies trading Travis D’arnaud. Now, I usually wouldn’t question an organization dealing a player who was in single-A for the majority of the season, but with Philadelphia it’s a little different. In the Cliff Lee deal, the Phillies dealt their top catching prospect, Lou Marson, to the Indians. Combine that with dealing D’arnaud in this trade, it leaves 19-year old Sebastian Valle as the top catching “prospect” in the organization, who is still a good four years away from contributing at the big league level.
In any event, the need to deal for a relatively young catcher in the coming weeks is very clear, as Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider, and Paul Hoover are all on the wrong side of 30 and have limited value when it comes to the future of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Essentially, the Phillies traded seven of their top-15 prospects (Drabek, Taylor, D’Arnaud, Marson, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, and Jason Donald) over the last six months for Roy Halladay and three other prospects. Just seeing that on paper, I’d still do it.
However, the process is very simple. In the next 3-5 years, or as long as Roy Halladay is with the Phillies, two things need to happen for the trade to be justified.
1. Roy Halladay has to win a Cy Young as member of the Phillies.
2. The Phillies have to win a World Series in that time span.
Of course, one of those two things can also satisfy some critics, but overall, by trading players that were once deemed “untouchable”, Ruben Amaro Jr. is implying that the Phillies future is now.
One final thing.
Roy Halladay, I hope you are ready. Philadelphia is a tad different than Toronto.
This post will be updated once the trade goes final.