Ruben Amaro Jr. follows up a home run by hitting into a unassisted triple play to Eric Bruntlett
Put simply; the trade that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia was an outstanding move by GM Ruben Amaro Jr. (who will be referred to as RAJ from here on out.) I know plenty Phillies fans were upset the team gave up Kyle Drabek, but when you have a chance to add one of the three best pitchers in all of baseball to a World Series team you pull the trigger. Drabek is still at least another year away from making an impact in the Majors while Halladay immediately makes the Phils a dramatically better team.
What’s the problem then? Why am I frustrated as hell despite the fact that we added an absolute stud to the top of our rotation? Because as good as the Halladay trade was, the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle was that bad. Not only did the Phillies not get fair market value for Lee (and that may be an understatement), they rushed a decision that they still had quite a bit of time to make. Why move Lee right now?!? The Phils could have held on to him through the All-Star break and kept trying to work out an extension, and if Lee still insisted on becoming a free agent RAJ could have traded him before the deadline and gotten more for the Cy Young winner from another contender (the prospect haul would have been a lot better; just ask the Blue Jays, who are seriously regretting not trading Halladay before last season’s deadline.)
Perfect metaphor for the situation? RAJ was dealt two aces in a Texas Hold’em game but panicked, over-bet on the flop, and scared everyone else out of the hand. Sure he won the blinds, but how much more could he have ended up with if he had just been more patient? Who knows how much a team like the Angels may have been willing to give for a pitcher like Lee, especially to keep him away from their division rivals? We may never know.
Now before all ten of you Mariner fans get too excited, this deal isn’t as fantastic for you as it may at first seem. Despite having a terrific top of the rotation, they still have a lot of work ahead of them to stand a chance at winning the AL West, and their chances of re-signing Lee prior to him becoming a free agent are next to none. In all likelihood Cliff Lee is going to end up in a different uniform next season, so you Mariners fan(s) tell me if that was worth three of your better prospects. If you win the division and make a long playoff run? Maybe. But if you tank and finish third again (much more likely to happen) it absolutely wasn’t.
Still, the real losers in the trade were the Phillies, for the sheer fact that they rushed a Cliff Lee trade instead of playing the market and seeing how much they really could get for him. Hell, in a perfect world they’d keep Lee at least through the All-Star break and practically guarantee themselves another division title, but I guess that would have impacted the bottomline a bit too much and made a wee bit too much sense. A pity, really.
Just how much of an upgrade is Halladay over Lee?
Over and over the past few days on ESPN the talking heads repeated the same question; “is Halladay that big an upgrade over Cliff Lee?” The consensus answer? He is better, but only slightly. These people are morons. Just look at the career numbers between the two pitchers…
2008: 2.54/1.11 (Cy Young)
2009: (with Cleveland) 3.14/1.30
2009: (with Philly) 3.39/1.13
Lee is a very good pitcher, but throughout his career he has been either brilliant, or awful. People are quick to point out how outstanding he was in the ’09 playoffs, but how soon they forget how inconsistent he was over the final few weeks of the season. From August 29th to September 25th Lee gave up six or more earned runs in three out of six starts. It’s not like the teams that torched him were that good either (Atlanta, Houston, and Milwaukee.)
Halladay’s numbers are clearly more consistent across the board, and he was playing in a division with much more high-powered offenses. Also, remember Lee’s struggles down the stretch last season? (Giving up six or more earned runs in three starts.) Halladay gave up six or more runs just once all season.
While Cliff Lee is no sloutch, Roy Halladay is clearly the better pitcher. I rest my case.
Bob Ford thinks the Halladay trade was a good deal, unless it wasn’t, in which case Bob Ford thinks it was a horrible deal
I always laugh when people spend serious time contemplating why newspapers are dying. A large part of it is because they bring you news that has been available for free on the internet a day late. Another part of it is because the papers don’t offer enough compelling material to, you know, actually read.
Case in point: Bob Ford’s Inquirer column on Wednesday. You really don’t even need to read it because I summed it up quite nicely in bold italics above for you.
“It could be [Halladay] will be worth every dime, and the Phillies certainly hope so.
…Does that mean Amaro was wrong not to make the deal for Halladay in the summer, or that he is wrong to do so now?
…No, what Amaro did was right at the time, and will continue to be right until Carrasco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, and Jason Knapp lead the Indians to the World Series. That’s the way baseball works, and the same goes for the trades Amaro has constructed with Toronto and Seattle…
…All we have really learned this week is that the Phillies, despite two trips to the World Series and despite drawing 3.5 million fans to their little, brick cash register, are not willing to spend what it would have taken to get Halladay and to keep Lee.
…Perhaps that really wasn’t feasible, even if it meant letting Lee play out his free-agent season for $9 million and then watching him walk.
…The Phillies are going to say it wasn’t feasible. Ownership wants to keep the payroll around $140 million, which seems like an entirely reasonable business approach.
The question is whether it will still seem reasonable four years from now, when the core of the current Phillies team is crumbling, that second World Series title never materialized, and the Blue Jays and Indians are playing in the American League Championship Series.
It’s the chance you take for being reasonable.”
Let’s take Bob’s column and apply it to my everyday life, just to put it in perspective…
So I’m on my lunch break, and I need to decide between a ham sandwich and a cheeseburger. One of these two will be well worth my money, or so I hope. Is there even a right decision between these two, or would I be better off saving my money to spend on more alternative food in the future?
Well I’ll go with the ham sandwich, and I hope that was the better option. It might or might not be at this point. If I get home later and I am gassy, it was probably the wrong choice. I could also get home and realize the cheeseburger was what I really wanted all along. That would suck. Then the cheeseburger will be leading the Indians to a World Series and I’ll be stuck with my damn ham sandwich…
Ok ok I lost myself there for a minute but you get my point. Ford manages to flip-flop more in 875 words than John Kerry did throughout his entire Presidential campaign. He even managed to make Brett Favre look decisive. What happened Bob, you forgot you had to write a column so at the last second you decided to mail one in “Randy Moss against the Panthers” style? ANYONE COULD WRITE GARBAGE LIKE THAT; PICK A DAMN SIDE AND STICK TO IT!