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The deal gives the Phillies an unbelievable Right-Left, 1-2 combination at the top of their rotation. It is important to realize that a performance like Lee's playoff run in '09 will most-likely not happen again....ask Cole Hamels. His playoff pitching will be studied down to every possible second by the next time that he is on the big stage. Therefore, I think that swapping Halladay for Lee is a great deal. You get a cheaper ace, who is right handed, to compliment Hamels, and a pitcher who has been salivating for 6 months to join this team. The confusing side for many fans is that the Phillies lost basically what the Jays wanted in the summer for Halladay. The deal maker for Ruben Amaro Jr. was that they were able to bring the Mariner's into the deal and take three of their top prospects along with Halladay.
The Phillies were not prepared to go past 3 years with Cliff Lee's contract where they would have had to pay him over $100M. They orchestrated a deal that gave them an equal or better ace, saved $40M+, and received three very promising youngsters. While the Phillies traded top pitching, outfield and catching prospects they received the Mariner's top 2 pitching prospects and an outfield prospect that many scouts say will be as good if not better than Michael Taylor. On top of it all, the Phillies still kept their #1 overall prospect in Dominic Brown who may not be MLB ready like Taylor, but will be by the time we actually need MLB outfield help! (Ibanez, Victorino & Werth are all staying put for at least 3 years)
In the end, I think that this deal was a lot of work for potentially a very big return. The Phillies have saved money while getting arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Our farm system did not take such a hit that we are left with gaps and we were able to keep Joe Blanton and J.A Happ. I never would have seen a deal like this happening, but this new style of GM that Ruben Amaro has brought to the organization is something to be happy about - he goes out and makes things happen any way possible. In a week and a half he has brought Placido Polanco and Roy Halladay to Philly. That is pretty impressive. The reason that I do not absolutely love the trade is simple because I have so much respect for players that carry a team on their back, and that is exactly what Cliff Lee did for us in the '09 playoffs. It is hard to just get rid of such a valuable member of a team, but this is professional sports - it is a business.
The Phillies obviously still need to pick up some bullpen help, and I'm sure that they will do this before spring training (looking at Fernando Rodney and John Smoltz heavily). The best part of this offseason is realizing that Ruben and the Phillies owners are making the moves that we have dreamed of the last 15 years. The Phillies are slowly becoming the Yankees of the NL and leaving every other team feeling that they're not doing enough.
Honestly, how painful must it be to root for the Mets???
IN THE FOREGROUND - Essentially, the Phillies traded Carlos Carrasco (#2 prospect), Lou Marson (#3 prospect), Jason Donald (#4 prospect), Kyle Drabek (#5 prospect), Michael Taylor (#6 prospect), Travis d'Arnaud (#7 prospect) and Jason Knapp (#10 prospect) for Roy Halladay and the '09 NL pennant. The Phillies traded all but three of their top ten prospects leaving the #1, #8 & #9 prospects in Dominic Brown, Zach Collier and J.A. Happ. (rankings from BaseballAmerica.com prior to the Lee deal last summer)