So, it looks like the trade has been worked out and should be finalized and announced later today or tomorrow. It actually turns out that it is 2 separate trades that the Phillies made. The first trade was to get Halladay and involves the Phillies are Toronto Blue Jays. The 2nd trade was giving up Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects.
The first trade--
Phillies receive: Roy Halladay, $6 million
Blue Jays receive: Phillies prospects P Kyle Drabek, OF Michael Taylor, C Travis d'Arnaud
The 2nd trade--
Phillies receive: Mariners prospects P Phillippe Aumont, OF Tyson Gillies, P Juan Ramirez
Mariners receive: Cliff Lee
This is all still not yet official, and has yet to be announced, so these things could change, but the above appear to be the terms.
Before I provide my thoughts on the trades, I will state that Roy Halladay is an absolute beast, and I fully support him coming to the Phillies, as he is one of the best pitchers in the league. Not only that, but Halladay has already agreed to terms on a 3-year deal, running from 2011 through 2013 at $20 million per year, in addition to a $20 million vesting option for 2014. This seems to be one of big factors of making these trades, as Cliff Lee was only signed for this upcoming season, and will probably want a lot of money. So... I am very happy that Roy Halladay is a Philadelphia Phillie.
All of that said, I am not happy with the overall outcome of these trades. In fact, it is a very weak, cheap move by the Phillies management. It makes me even more mad that the deal is 2 separate trades, so technically, the Phillies did not need to give up Cliff Lee at all to get Halladay... and they shouldn't have. You have Cliff Lee, who was unreal last year after we got him, especially in the playoffs, and you have him signed for 2010 at $9 million. $9 million is absolutely nothing for a guy of that caliber, and if you have that guy signed for that little, even if it is for a year, you don't give him up. The Phillies are being cheap. It's a small-middle level mindset when this team needs to be thinking big. We have been in the World Series the past 2 years, and have won 1 of them. The Phillies are selling tickets and merchandise like crazy. The Phillies are basically printing money at Citizens Bank Park, and to act like you can't pay Cliff Lee $9 million this season, which by the way is an absolute steal, is a very weak move.
Cliff Lee was a beast from the time the Phillies acquired him through the end of the season, and most importantly, in the playoffs. Lee was 4-0 with about a 1.50 ERA in the playoffs last year. Lee won both of the games he pitched against the Yankees, and the Phillies lost the other 4 that Lee didn't pitch. If the Phillies acquire Halladay, and keep Lee, they are the best team in baseball going into next season. By acquiring Halladay and giving up Lee, they are still not as good as the Yankees and the Red Sox. And to have the attitude that we can't do what it takes to compete with those teams is an insult to the fans. The Phillies paid Brett Myers $12 million last season. The Phillies are paying Jaime Moyer $8 million this season. You have Cy Young winner at $9 million this season, and you can't pay him. That is ridiculous. You don't need to sign Lee long-term, just keep him for 1 season, and let him walk.
Not only all of this, The Phillies unloaded 2 very good prospects in this deal, for 3 Mariners prospects, who are not on the same level as the Phillies prospects. The Phillies basically have give up Knapp, Carrasco, Marson, Donald, Drabek, Taylor, and d'Arnaud for Halladay. Drabek was untouchable as little as a few months ago at the trade deadline. I don't have a problem giving up Drabek, Taylor, and d'Arnaud for Halladay. The problem is, you aren't any better than you were last season. It is a very lateral move. Best case scenario, the Phillies make the playoffs, and Halladay tears it up in the playoffs. It is no improvement however, because you already had that in Lee. You still have Cole Hamels pitching Game 2, and you still have Blanton/Happ pitching Game 3.
The starting pitching staff to start the season now will be Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, and a 5th starter, who I think will be Moyer to start the season. Not keeping Lee really means Hamels needs to step his game up. We need Hamels to be the Hamels of 2008. If that happens, this team should really improve. We also basically have no 5th starter worth anything to start the season.
So, I am very happy with Halladay, bottom line. And the fact that they locked Halladay up for a multi-year deal, and did not have Lee locked up is a good thing. If Lee wants top money, the Phillies would probably not be able to sign him for the long-term. However, like I said, you had Lee next season locked up at $9 million, and no reason to get rid of him. Halladay is one of the best pitchers in the league, but it doesn't seem to make the Phillies any better or worse. You still need Hamels to step it up, and we still need a 5th starter to play well during the regular season.
You are the Philadelphia Phillies. You are one of the best teams in baseball. You are making money like never before. You should be able to go over your payroll by $9 million next season, and go into the season as the World Series favorite.