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Thursday, December 17, 2009


Sorry, re-post from previous thread:

"Sorry kids, Werth is not likely coming back"

So you're saying there's a chance...

Honestly, if the Phils kick up the payroll another 7%, wouldn't that give enough room to keep Werth? 105,000,000 is currently committed in '11...and after arbitration, etc. the Phils would be looking at approximately 125,000,000 in obligations, likely with a need for a couple BP pieces, a 3/4 starter to replace Big Joe, and a RF to replace Werth. If you re-sign Werth to something like 4/60, that's 15 of the 25 mil gone. You're telling me they couldn't find a 4th starter and a couple bullpen options for 10 mil? I definitely think they could...

Werth will probably get a deal similar to what Jason Bay will receive this year, and that is assuming he stays healthy and productive in 2010, so once Bay signs we can use that as a benchmark.

JW: How much would you say the Phillies have left to spend? 5 million? 4?

The problem with letting Werth go is that he's your only RH power bat in the entire lineup...Let's go best-case scenario on Dom Brown, and say he's ready to start 2011 in RF full-time, that's still another LH bat. Ruiz and Polanco are your only RH bats (and yes, Rollins and Victorino SH but neither are middle of the order hitters).

So how do you replace the RH power threat? If Werth leaves and is replaced by Brown, a good LHP will dominate the Phils pretty regularly.

I’m thinking the Phillies are getting nearly enough credit for what actually happened here.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the Phillies gave up 4 B level prospects for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco. When trading Lee to Seattle they received 3 B level prospects in return. I know I’m over simplifying the prospects here, but the way I see it, the Phillies got a half a year and a post season of Cliff Lee, plus Ben Francisco for one B level prospect.

Then they got Roy Halladay, who is a better pitcher then Cliff Lee, at Cliff Lee’s salary for a year. They gave up fewer prospects then they would have in July and got a 3-4 year contract extension with Halladay for what is, at worst, market value.

Am I’m missing something here? This seems like great work. I am working under the premise that the Phillies are working with a budget and a philosophy on prospects that lead them to think they needed to trade Lee, so I don’t want to get into an argument about those two things really. I’m just trying to put these deals into context of what was actually given up and received.

B Dub: You're missing the fact that all 4 minor leaguers sent to CLE are future HOFers.

I've been accused of being Andy, but near the beginning of the last thread Andy wrote: "One fear - the never-been-to-AA prospects we got for Lee never pan out and Lee joins Abreu as a continuing beerleauger dispute." I say, right on. Lee had some legendary performances this year that will forever be etched in the great games in Phillies history. The three magic beans we got for Lee will be scrutinized and subjected to BL style anal probes for the next five years on BL. Every wart and blemish of these three will be exposed and discussed on BL until clout makes a final ruling and convinces everybody that he's tight.

Oh well, let's enjoy the Halladay season.

Clout is tight? Don't you mean cheap?


The ultimate diss on Lee: Halladay's # is 34.

Okay. I'm relaxed about this. I looked at Phuture Phillies and saw the comparison of the top 10 prospects left with those of 4 years ago. We've still got a much better farm system than we used to. Good job, Rube.

I am worried a bit about catchers, since we've traded away Jaramillo, Marson and D'Arnaud in fairly short order. Valle may be able to rake, but will he be a catcher? Is there anyone else?

If Aumont can stay healthy and develop consistent mechanics, he's going to be a beast with tremendous upside because he has both movement AND velocity (94-96). Most pitchers make it to the bigs because they have a lot of one and a decent amount of the other. This kid has both. His power curve/slider is major league nasty. Plus, even with his 3/4 arm slot, his height will give him a very advantageous plane and angle from which to throw. Given his age and length, it's not surprising he has some control issues. But I also think some of his command issues come from the sick movement on some of his pitches. Once he fills out, calibrates, figures out how to create the speed differential on a changeup (he'll have Moyer, Madson, Hamels and now Halladay to ask during spring training)and develops consistency, he could be a dominant pitcher. I think he has much higher upside than Carrasco and could even be better eventually than Drabek. If you watch his videos, this kid's stuff is just filthy. And once he fills out and refines his mechanics, his velocity will get even higher.

Gillies (who is one of Aumont's best friends as they are roommates and a hometown friend of Phillies 33rd rounder Colin Kleven) also has good upside. He reminds me of a hybrid of Ichiro and Soriano in terms of his frame and batting style. He needs to develop a stronger base, be less 'jumpy' or a little quieter, and be less handsy with the bat. If he does that as he fills out, he could be a very good gap hitter. Hopefully his batting mechanics will be refined a bit. Otherwise, he has good contact skills and exceptional acceleration out of the box which lead to a high OBP. His motor is probably his strongest physical asset but he also has a decent arm. His defense overall is very good as he covers a lot of ground.

For all those who say "the market has spoken" and that Cliff Lee is only worth 3 or 4 "B" level prospects, I say this:

If that's what the market thinks Cliff Lee is worth, the market is wrong and the team should not have sold their asset. Cliff Lee is an elite pitcher. In the past 25 years of Phillies history, only Curt Schilling has been better. So you don't trade that guy for three mid level prospects.

If the problem is money, trade Joe Blanton for a player-to-be-named.

If the problem is prospects, then you haven't really solved your problem anyway. Their three top prospects right now are Brown, Gose, and May regardless. This deal helps with depth, but the organization is still devoid of major-league-ready talent. No one in the system can replace Jayson Werth or any of the departing pitchers.

They were so focused on getting Halladay that they overlooked what a stud they had. Now he's gone and all they have to show for it is a little organizational depth that may help YEARS down the road.

They should have dealth Blanton for a player-to-be-named, kept Lee, steamrolled over the National League, taken the compensation picks, busted slot, and replenished in the draft.

Back to the bullpen.

Justin Duchsherer sure would be a nice piece as he has experience (and success) starting and relieving. We could start him in the pen while we see how Moyer does in the rotation to allow him a chance to ease back after a full year off from injuries and depression. Throw him into the rotation halfway through the year and we suddenly have a pretty sick rotation again. The guy has a better SO/BB rate than Cliff Lee! And I bet being part of this clubhouse, hanging out with Halladay and Moyer, and a healthy dose of winning could do wonders for the depression.

He made just under $4MM with the A's in 2008 and had an incredible year, but hasn't pitched since then. Not sure what he would command, but that price (or even slightly above) would be a steal. He declined arbitration with the A's, so that may be a bad sign. I would be happy, though, with him being the last move the Phils make this offseason. Offer a $5MM one year deal if his back is OK. He's lights-out whenever he is on the mound. Fill that last BP spot with Bastardo or Escalona.

B Dub,

Around and around. The only thing sticking in my craw a bit is the potential to have had Roy and Cliff this coming year. I guess I still view Lee's loss as a salary dump to an extent, and haven't yet been totally convinced that wouldn't have been a means to finagle with Blanton somehow, some way to free up enough $ to make it viable to keep Cliff here for 2010.

With Cliff and Roy, the chance to grab the prize would be WAY increased in 2010, and the chance to have a rotation like that, even for one year, is like catching lightning in a bottle. Just seems like that very rare opportunity was set aside awful quickly.

It's done now, and I'm thrilled to have Halladay here. I was really impressed at his attitude at the press conference. He just seems like such a great fit for this team (as was Lee). You have to love the way guys like Utley become part of the fabric of the town, and he seems like he'll fit right in with that.

rjb360 - I agree. For the right price, the Duke would be a great fit for the club. Plus, one of the supposed reasons he got depressed was because he didn't get a chance to see his son very much while rehabbing in CA/AZ after his ex-wife moved them to New Jersey. Being in Philly would put him a lot closer.

****You're missing the fact that all 4 minor leaguers sent to CLE are future HOFers.****

Marson and Donald are being inducted next July from what I understand.

I believe our committed payroll for 2011 is actually $104.8 which turns into $111 million after Rollins' option is used...which it almost certainly will be.

Any news on mathieson? I'd love to see him make the big club for opening day.

B Dub you make a great point. However I (as well as everyone else with me)see the following problems:

1) Keeping Lee makes this team the hands down favorite (dare I say lock) to go back to the World Series for a third straight year - at minimum

2) With the post season in mind, exchanging Halliday for Lee does not make the 2010 version better than the 2009 club.

3) The prospects received in the Lee trade does nothing to mitigate the shortcomings this team will have in the coming years namely the expiring contracts/aging of Howard, Utley, Rollins, Werth, Ibanez, Victorino, Ruiz etc.

4) Amaro did not even procure the Mariners best prospect(s) while attempting to restock the farm

So from where I'm sitting he hasn't adjusted the roster to make this year's team significantly more competative with the Yankees, and Red Sox of the world nor has he made me feel at ease about the teams future.

Until we see how these Seattle kids perform in spring training and in Reading, it'll be a little difficult comparing them to the prospects that have left. But from what I've read and seen, the Phillies got some quality players back. These kids are young. And remember that just last year, some of the prospects we're high on now weren't even on the radar (and unfortunately vice-versa with others). So we'll just have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of years before making final judgments about the trade. Hopefully, it won't be Abreu II.

Interesting, TNA. If we could grab him I would say the offseason was a huge success. Amazing how all these very talented players seem perfect for Philadelphia all of the sudden. Even if he could get a better offer (which I tend to think he could) it's not going to be more than a couple MM difference and maybe he would choose Philly anyway to win and be close to his family. Let's just hope the Yankees/Mets don't get to him first.

Heidi: Cole, you looked depressed. Still lamenting how the Tiger Woods fiasco has been making life miserable for all your married ball player friends?

Cole: No, I'm depressed about all the love going out on BL towards Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. What little the BL fans write about me is generally negative. What an effed up Christmas this is going to be.

Heidi: Cole, quit wallowing in self pity and be a man. Pick yourself up and do something useful around here. Trixie needs her walk. Why don't you do that for me right now? That will cheer you up. Oh, and don't forget to bring your pooper picker uppers plastic gloves. Toodles!

"4) Amaro did not even procure the Mariners best prospect(s) while attempting to restock the farm"

Did we give up our best prospect for Lee?

Or even any of our top 3?

People need to stop comparing the Taylor/Drabek/D'Arnaud package to the Aumont/Ramirez/Gillies package. The real comparison is the Carrasco/Marson/Donald/Knapp package we gave up for Lee. We acquired 1.5 seasons of Lee and Francisco for those prospects. We gave up just 1 season of Lee for the 3 we received. In that light, it was an excellent trade, IMO.

Something that would help us as a team for budgeting: Extending Vic through his arbitration years and maybe 1-2 years after that. Offer him a 3 year deal that keeps his salary lower this year but adds a bit in 2012 (first FA year instead). I wonder if he'd agree to something like Werth got?

For the record, now that Gonzalez is gone I'm not thrilled about any of the other RP free agents except maybe Capps. I'd rather start the season filling those positions internally if he can't get Duscherer or Capps and waiting to see what becomes available as the season progresses. Although with our farm system the way it is now I'm not sure if we would be in a great position to trade midseason.

Cliff Lee's 3 months @ 7-4 makes him the 2nd best pitcher in the last 25 years for the Phils? Really?

Everyone could have had Lee last year and the Phils gave up a relatively pedestrian group for an elite pitcher. Couldn't the Dodgers give up more?

When the market states next year that Lee is worth 6 yrs & $120M, which of the everyday players are gone?

Re: Blanton? They tried to trade him but couldn't get value.

I could picture Rollins taking Werth's spot in the lineup, moving Vic-bighead to 1-2.

I can't type worth a crap. I meant to type earlier "until clout makes a final ruling and convinces everybody that he's right."

Now clout may be also be tight, meaning that he's either cheap or drunk, however, I have no knowledge of clout's condition in these repects. I'll leave that speculation to other BL readers who have more definite opinions on the cloutman.

Which prospects would have made this a better deal/fit for the Phillies? The Phillies were looking to get pitching prospects in return and they got back the top two pitching prospects in the Mariner system.

Morrow would have been better...or maybe Saunders instead of Gillies.

ChrisInVT: What does one trade have to do with the other? Just because Cleveland traded Lee for 70 cents on the dollar doesn't mean i have to lower my expectations for future deals.

J.R.: You overlook a rather critical poin in your post: Lee is only under contract for one more year. That lame duck contract status is both the reason why the Phillies dealt him AND the reason why he's only worth a collection of B prospects.

NEPP - Now with Gillies in the system in addition to Gose (and Berry to a lesser extent), I'm not sure if it's necessary to extend Vic long-term now. The pressing need will be pitcher and right-handed bat to replace Werth.

rjb- Capps is a disaster waiting to happen at CBP. He's an extreme non-GB pitcher, which means he's giving up a lot of fly balls and a lot of line drives; both of which would be killers in close games at the Bank. Plus, he said that he's only interested in going to a team that'll make him their closer.

BAP, good post on "why he's only worth a collection of B prospects."

I'd like to see Seattle dethrone the Angels, then the Yanks and make it back to the WS to meet the 2010 Phillies. A Lee-Halladay matchup for the opening game would be something really special. Winter is the best time for dreaming.

I don't know if this has been mentioned before.

I just read Bob Ford's column.

Philadelphia is now a destination. It's a place where the Roy Halladay's WANT to pitch.

I'm not going to spend time waxing about what a change that is from a few years ago. You all know that.

What I am going to do is, yes, give credit to the FO and management for what they've done.

But one person - a player - has not had his name mentioned, and he deserves as much credit as the FO.

He stated that one of his goals was to change the culture - the culture of losing that had permeated this franchise during 13 losing seasons in 14 years (no, Bill Giles, we have NOT forgotten).

His name is Jimmy Rollins.

He has, from and in the clubhouse, accomplished his goal. They are winners, and other players WANT to come to Philadelphia.

It took Placido Polanco about 2 seconds to negotiate his contract with the Phils once he learned they were interested. Why? He remembered remembered how much fun it was BEFORE he was traded. He then checked with his offseason neighbor Raul Ibanez, who he had told about the clubhouse and was told back: "It's even better than you said it was".

That reputation is permeating baseball, and their reputation is spreading.

Jimmy, along with Chase and Ryan...and Charlie...have created an atmosphere that other players in MLB dream about being in. It's fun. It's just plain fun and they want to be here. So much so that Cliff Lee was reportedly upset that he was traded (Good luck Cliff, we love you and you'll always have a place in our hearts).

Credit Jimmy. He's had help from the FO on down, but he started it.

He wanted it.

What seemed Mission Impossible when he joined the team nearly a decade ago has been done.

Thanks Jimmy! Thank you very much.

I really want them to extend Werth. It seems like he loves it here and would be willing to forego free agency. Trade Victorino next offseason if you have to. Halladay, Utley, Werth, Hamels, Happ should be givens on this team for the next 4 years.


"What does one trade have to do with the other? Just because Cleveland traded Lee for 70 cents on the dollar doesn't mean i have to lower my expectations for future deals."

When the same player is traded twice in 6 months, and it requires a similar package of talent to procure his services, that has pretty much established his market value. Maybe 1 GM gets ripped off when making the trade, but both in less than half a year?

Do you REALLY think the Indians didn't shop Lee around at all before accepting the Phils' offer? And if Amaro was a genius in July to acquire him for "70 cents on the dollar," did he suddenly become a moron 5 months later? Does anyone REALLY believe that the Phils would ship off their most valuable trade asset without shopping him around to more than 1 team?

Like so many said yesterday, we all may think that Cliff Lee is worth more, but the baseball GMs have pretty much reached a consensus that he is not. And they get paid to do this for a living, while we all rant and rave on message boards to occupy time.

Couple of points:

1) Had Cliff Lee been willing to negotiate a contract extension with Seattle (as Halladay did with us) we could have gotten better prospects.

2) Had the Phillies sent cash (as Toronto did with us) we could have gotten better prospects.

This is how the baseball world works. The idea that we should compare the players we got to the players Toronto got is just silly.

Phillippe Aumont was on MLB on XM this morning. Couple of thoughts:

1) Sounds like a real good kid. Hard to really tell in just a short radio interview, but I liked what I heard for the most part. He's excited about joining the Phils.

2) They asked him whether he'd prefer to be a reliever or a starter. He said if it was his choice, he'd want to be a reliever. He said he likes being aggressive and has the mindset for closing. However, he said he'd welcome the chance to start again if the Phils thought it best.

NEPP - Morrow isn't a prospect. And he becomes arb-eligible next year and will relatively make a boatload of money. I agree that if he were added, this would've been a much better deal for 2010, but I doubt the Phillies would then get back either Aumont or Ramirez. More likely it'd be something like Morrow and just Gillies.

As for Saunders (Triunfel), the Phillies wouldn't be getting much else back besides that one player. And Saunders and Triunfel, while they have good potential, aren't as sure of a thing like Ackley or Morrow. I'm comfortable with the return the Phillies got for Lee; especially if Aumont becomes a starter. That said, we should wait and see how they play in the EL and other leagues over the year before making a judgment.

Just looking for comparisons, but 1 person yesterday (forget who) said that Gillies' potential = Juan Pierre with plate discipline, patience, and a throwing arm. It got me thinking...It seems like his high-end potential is closer to a Jacoby Ellsbury. Does this seem like a decent comp to those who know far more about prospects/scouting than I?

The only problem I have w/ the Lee Deal is it was made the same damn day.It was unnecessary even if Lee's agent says he wants Sabathia money How bout a deal in Jan or Feb? after an injury knocks out someon's key pitcher You can always get B prospects anytime because that's the minimum you'd be offered

awh: LOVED your 11:18 post. Right on the money.


I can appreciate the desire to have both Lee and Halladay, but on the flip side say some of the prospects received from Seattle are used in a mid season move for another piece then that might not have been possible otherwise. For example, say Ibanez or Werth or someone else gets hurt and the Phillies then make a move for a Carl Crawford or someone else to replace them, having these extra guys could be really useful. Since we don’t know how these prospects are going to be end up being used towards the future of the team it’s hard for me to get hung up on the future of 2011, and 2012.

Also, it’s hard for me to be terribly concerned about keeping up with AL teams, since the only time the Phillies would face them in a situation that really matters is in the World Series. Assuming the Phillies make it again then they might not face the Red Sox or the Yankees or if they do those teams might have injuries or slumping players that tip the scales into the Phillies favor. And really, from my point of view the Phillies weren’t that far off this World Series had they received competent performances from Lidge and Hamels.

Maybe I should be more worried about “the window”, but I really don’t see the Phillies needing to push all in yet. I’d hate to see the Phillies in a situation where a bad beat closes “the window” much quicker then in might need to be.

That’s my view on this, I like having the chips. I think it gives the Phillies more opportunities to be creative about filling holes. There’s a lot of uncertainty out there in baseball and I think had they kept Lee the Phillies would be somewhat locking into a roster that would have had trouble moving parts if a need comes up or an opportunity to grab someone on the cheap were to arise.

AWH: Great post. I thought that to my self after the Polanco signing and the conversation with Raul.

nice post, awh. Could not agree more.


I’ll echo the praise. Jimmy has been my favorite player on the team for a while, and no small part of that has been his desire and commitment to changing the team to a destination. I really hope he gets to retire a Phillie or at least go out on his terms. I feel like he’s one of the few guys that absolutely earned that right.

MG alluded to this the other day, and it's true: if you trace future events out to their logical conclusion, it all points toward a trade of Ryan Howard after 2010. I'm NOT advocating this; I'm simply saying that payroll needs will make it necessary, just as it made it necessary to trade Cliff Lee.

The Phillies will again have like $110M commmitted to 8 or 9 players before 2010 even starts. Add another $8.5M after they exercise the option on Rollins. But they'll also have a glaring vacancy, with Werth's pending departure. Everyone assumes they will replace Werth with Domonic Brown, and it's a pretty good assumption, since he'll be dirt cheap & they are clearly very high on him. But Brown is left-handed. There is literally 0% chance that the Phillies are going to add yet another left-hander to their lineup unless they trade away one of the left-handers they already have. We know it won't be Utley. It could plausibly be Ibanez, but Howard will have a lot more trade value & would clear up a lot more salary space.

On top of that, Howard will be in exactly the same situation next off-season that Lee was in this off-season: heading into the final year of his contract & having already made clear that he wants the kind of mega-deal that the Phillies are loathe to give out. So, the very logic which was behind the Lee trade would again point to a trade of Howard.

Of course, I cannot imagine the Phillies would let Werth walk AND trade Howard. But I also can't imagine they'd have the money to resign Werth without trading someone away, nor can I imagine that they'd think it's viable to replace Werth with another left-handed bat like Brown. My guess is that they'd trade Howard for a bevy of prospects, use the money to resign Werth, call up Domonic Brown, & move Ibanez to 1st base for one season.

CJ, your points about money and window for negotiating long term are extremely important on difference in prospect packages. The only caveat I would add is that should have been offset a little by the fact that Halladay had a full no trade clause, while Lee did not. I'm not usre the Phillies ever used this leverage to it sfull potential by opening up Lee to everyone, and by being patient to see what came about on Halladay and his terms. However, long term, it may be easier for negotiating in the future for RAJ if he continually sets these types of parameters.

Another caveat is that if this deal was about restocking the minors and not about money, why did we get $6 million from Toronto? Could we have ket Taylor & D'Arnaud (or substituted Drabek w/ someone else) if we didn't get the $6 million? RAJ was being a little disengenuous there.

As for why Halladay (and his family, if any of you have read the Donnellon piece) liked Philly so much, I think we probably have Matt Stairs to thank.

"The only problem I have w/ the Lee Deal is it was made the same damn day."

From a public relations standpoint, Amaro absolutely had to do it this way. Think how horribly disappointed everyone would have been if we got Halladay and then, a week or two later, traded Lee.

Phuture Phillies put the prospects through some arcane formula and determined that Gillies is a better prospect than Taylor. I was a little surprised, as was the author. The problem I have with Gillies is that the Phillies seem to have a dearth of power prospects and a dearth of infield prospects and Gillies is neither. Presumably there are B level infield and power prospects out there that could have been traded for.

If Lee being traded wasn't about the money then they should have kept him rather than accept the return they got. I know that's beating a dead horse.

AWH: Link please.

BAP - I've thought for a while now that Ibanez to 1st was the backup plan for Howard. . . or we could sign Adrian Gonzalez when Howard leaves.

BAP - did you watch the presser with Amaro and Halladay yesterday? This topic sort of came up and it made Amaro, a generally very smooth and charismatic guy, stammer like his brain was about to explode. He said something to the effect that the Phillies can't pretend that they'll be able to blah blah.

bap: We'll see what kind of mega-deal Howard may be seeking after 2011. Most were surprised the Phils signed Howard last off-season. And if you listen to some people on this list, Howard is a player in decline, so he may not be able to get that much.

Plus, the Phils window will still seemingly be open for the 2011 season. I can't imagine how the Phils would justify trading Howard away considering how irreplacable he is (of course, if you listen to some on this list, Howard is easily replacable).

If you're going to equate Lee with Howard, then we'd have to be replacing Howard with someone like Halladay, and I don't think Pujols will be available.

Of course, none of this logic will stop the continuing speculation that Howard will need to be dealt. Which is fine. Budgets matter. And Howard is a huge chunk of that budget.

I just wonder who would be able to trade for Howard. Yanks are out (with Tex). I suppose the Red Sox?

CJ - Yankees can play a DH as well as a 1st baseman.

While the long term assurance of having Halladay signed was undoubtedlly the chief selling point for Amaro in (essentially) swapping Halladay for Lee in the 2010 rotation, insofar as it was an assurance conditionally offered by Halladay himself, not by (or to) Toronto, it should not have been allowed to become a marketable chip in trade negotiations with Toronto. Though Halladay is unarguably the better pitcher, the $6m difference in 2010 salaries might have been said to have veritably balanced their respective trade values... such that, with all of the different elements in play, in this market, Lee & a lesser prospect or Drabek & Taylor should have been enough to get us Halladay.

And yet, while I don't think we effectively utilized our leverage with Toronto, their inclusion of the $6m and the simultaneous trading of Lee to a third uninvolved team are the two aspects of all this that really bother me, because they're both direct results of Ruben's mismanagement of the budget and general lack of foresight. The only feasible reason for trading Lee now is a budgetary requirement to be under a certain number by year's end, in which case Amaro's recent offering of arbitration to (or inability to trade) both Joe Blanton and Chad Durbin, essentially served to preclude the Phillies from either keeping both Halladay and Lee or thoroughly exploring Lee's market, while (presumably) also necessitating Toronto's cash inclusion in the Halladay trade, and whatever effect that might have had on the package of prospects we were forced to surrender.

SmokyJoe: Of course Amaro was being disengenuous. It's never been a GM's job to tell the truth to the media. Everyone knows that money played a role. The Phils have a budget. The $6M means this year's budget is not impacted by the upgrade from Lee to Halladay. Hopefully that means we can still upgrade our bullpen.

And I think the FNTC did help the Phillies. There are plenty of "experts" out there who feel like Halladay was worth a lot more than the Blue Jays got back.

bap - The total for '11, including JRoll's option, is more like 112,000,000 for 15 players, and after arbitration (or extension agreements) for several players I'd estimate the Phils would be looking at obligations of about 125 mil. Then they'd need a RF, SP to replace Blanton, and 2 or 3 BP pieces.

If the payroll inches up another 5-7% like it did this year, the Phils would have a budget of approximately 145-150 million to work with...It wouldn't be an absolute necessity to trade Howard at that point, but it would make sense if they don't think they can keep him long-term...but I think that losing Werth would be a big mistake for this team either way. He's the ONLY RH power bat in a LH-dominated lineup.

timr-- so we're LESS upset now? I think a greater return later would've eased the pain.

BAP: The Phillies will again have like $110M commmitted to 8 or 9 players before 2010 even starts. Add another $8.5M after they exercise the option on Rollins.

Again, its $104.72 million without Rollins and $111.2 million with him. He also has a $2 million buyout that is factored into the $104 million number.

Funny to watch Rube put lipstick on a pig. The only reason Lee is gone is because ownership refused to pay the additional $9 million this year. And the only reason Roy is here is because the Jays agreed to buy several of our better prospects for $6 million.

BAP: You're trying to explain WHY the market would value Lee so low. That's cool. Lee, in a walk year, worth very little on the market. Got it.

Now, would you rather have another year of Cliff Lee plus two compensation picks or three mid-level prospects?

To me, the answer is clear. This guy can out-pitch Cole Hamels and probably will. Those guys don't come along very often. In fact, I've only seen one (Schilling). The fact that we got someone even better on the same day doesn't change the fact that we got hosed.

CJ: That is a big difference between the Lee/Halladay scenario and a "Trade Howard" scenario. In the first scenario, we immediately replaced Lee with someone better still. A Howard scenario would be pure subtraction in the near term. Domonic Brown may be a great prospect, but I would venture to guess that he is not going to step in & immediately be the equal to Ryan Howard.

If we did deal Howard, though, I would think we'd be looking to get back an absolute stud prospect who could come in and play 1st base in 2012.

JBird: Fair enough... but how many DH's get $120M deals? I suppose if anyone would do it, it'd be the Yankees.

The budget isn't going much north of $140M and much more likely to go south. Montgomery essentially said that they're over-extended as they currently are, and it's only because they have a good group of likable players that "better win". The Phillies CANNOT maintain the 3rd highest payroll in the league without structurally increasing revenues. They could increase ticket sales, but they'd have to jack the premium seats waaaay higher by about 30% beyond what they went up for next year to replace (or re-sign) Werth and Blanton on the FA market. And that probably isn't happening.

Fun question: If you had to win 1 game, who would you pick?

Curt Schilling at his peak or Roy Halladay at his peak?

I'd go with a razor thin margin.

J.R.: Except Lee in a walk year is NOT worth "very little" on the market. He has been traded twice, and both times the team that got him had to give up multiple prospects from their Top 10 prospects list.

it seems pretty clear to me that people are looking for a reason to hate this deal because they're either (A) emotionally attached to Lee or (B) romantically attached to the idea of a Halladay/Lee rotation. both of which are understandable. but you don't gut the entire farm for a gamble on exactly one season and i thought more people (especially on BL) would understand that. the only logical reason to be against this trade would be the argument that we didn't get enough for Lee, which is extremely debatable and anyway won't be "clear" (hah) for another three or four years, if that. everyone please snap the hell out of it: we just got Roy Halladay.

bap: I agree with that for the most part. It's really a long way out and I don't believe it's actually something that will happen. I also wonder how much of a "stud" prospect we'd get back if the Phils did really pursue this kind of deal. I just can't imagine there being much of a bidding war due to the contract restraints.

I know it's been said before, but one other HUGE upside of the deal:

Cliff Lee: Fly ball pitcher
Roy Halladay: Ground ball pitcher

It's easy to project Lee's success over a full season, but he wasn't exactly lights out in his short tenure last year. He WAS lights out in the playoffs and that's what we'll all remember and why I'll always love him as a player.

Halladay is the PERFECT pitcher for CBP. And he also happens to be the best pitcher in baseball over the last decade.

BAP - return for Howard isn't going to be that high if the Phillies trade him. in fact, it'd probably be lower than Lee's return. Lee had a budget-friendly $9M and is considered a top-10 pitcher. Howard may also be a top-10 1B, but he has a monstrous $20M contract. Not many teams would be able to take on that contract. Granted, he may grant the team he gets traded to a chance to negotiate an extension a la Halladay, but even then, it's almost a prohibitive contract. Basically, he's not a $20M player. His contract should be around $16.5M and if he continues to improve, go up to about $18-19M in free agency. Teams like the Red Sox (and the Mariners) don't touch guys like him with a 20-foot pole. On the other hand, Texas may be a possibility.

June 15th 2010 Blanton will either be a hero or a zero.

CJ - Aumont is already a groundball pitcher with his sinker and power curve (it's Lidge-esque). Now if he can only develop that change...

When I projected Halladay on Fangraphs, they didn't allow me to pick a win total higher than 20...that's BS as Roy will easily win 30 games in 2010.

To put some method to this madness, the following reasons in no particular order why this is a good deal.

1.) Acquired the best pitcher in baseball

2.) Signed him to lock him up here for at least 4 seasons

3.) Ground ball pitcher

4.) Evens out the rotation from being lefty dominant

5.)Received pretty good prospects in return

6.) In win now mode. Window to close soon after 2012 season.

If there are any more reasons I left out, I apologize.

Slugga, the link to the Ford column is in JW's header.

TNA, yes, Stairs influenced Halladay.

Who influenced Stairs?

Now, would you rather have another year of Cliff Lee plus two compensation picks or three mid-level prospects?

To me, the answer is clear.

How is that so clear? When a bunch of players on the current team walks in 2011, someone needs to play for them. Whoever is picked, more likely than not will be worse prospects than the 3 we got from SEA. Even if they panned out, they wouldn't be ready until long after they would be most needed.

A year of Lee and Halladay would have been amazing, but it is a luxury. As constructed, the Phils are a better team than the one that's won two straight pennants. It's a luxury the team would have paid heavily for in just two seasons. Hopefully one of these guys works out.

That said, I'm not even totally convinced. The 2010 MiLB year will say a lot. I just think it's less clear than you make it out to be.

mvp: Increased average team height.

(I know, we put that joke to rest. But I couldn't resist)

But TNA, the budgetary reasoning is exactly why you don't make these deals. If you're up against your budget to begin with and a year away from having your all-star SP and all-star RF (most probably) walk as free-agents, you absolutely do not trade two top-25 overall prospects (a SP and RF) who are just about ready to step onto the major league roster and give you several inexpensive years of service time to acquire another all-star SP who'll cost you 20m/yr for multiple years, unless you're hell bent on going for it all THAT year.

But if you are going for it that year, you don't then turn around and trade the pending free agent all-star pitcher you already have for a bunch of prospects who are further away and less talented than the ones you just gave up.

Trading prospects for Halladay and keeping Lee (cutting salary elsewhere) or trading Lee and some marginal extras for Halladay make sense, but what Amaro did does not.

Are the Phils better this year than last?

First, the bench should be better than last year.

Second, we have Roy Halladay for about 20 more starts than we had Cliff Lee.

Third, Polanco is better than Feliz.

Fourth, it's virtually impossible for Lidge to be worse in 2010 than he was in 2009.

Are we worse?

First, our bullpen is incomplete. Even if Lidge improves, we have HUGE holes.

Let's fix the bullpen now. Any chance Valverde comes cheap for a year? His market has vanished. He should have taken arbitration.

We'll figure something out...along the lines of some cheaper pitchers and hope that some guys step up.

By 2011, Aumont and/or JC Ramirez could very well be knocking at the door since they're starting off in AA this year. If they kick a$$ in AA for the first few months, they'll be promoted to Lehigh and be basically fighting for the rotation by 2011.

Three issues at play here:

1) Win now
2) Win for the future
3) Do it within a budget

Frankly, I think the deals we made give us the best balance among the three.

Another point: Its very likely that Hamels bounces back to close to his 07/08 form. IF that happens, oru pitching staff is signficantly better. However, its also likely that Blanton and Happ go the other way to some extent.

CJ, funny you should mention Valverde: "Jose Valverde is in a bad place, writes Olney, as there's no clear suitor looking to spend $8-10MM for a closer and give up a draft pick. If Valverde lingers on the market into February he could be a bargain. "

Giving up that draft pick would hurt though...we really really need the draft to rebuild and busting slot only takes you so far.

Howard has many skeptics and a big 2 years left before his deal ends. That's about as far into the future as his MVP season is in the past. He'll be 32. It's hard to say what he'll be worth as FA.

Most teams can't afford Howard at $20 million per year. Most teams that could afford him already have a 1B.

Boston would be a good fit...but we're not trading him anyway and we'd be stupid to do so. He's worth more to us than anyone else.

I think the 2010 Phillies are better than the 2009 version.

The bench is much stronger. With the addition of Schneider and Gload, along with Francisco for a whole year and a healthy Dobbs it is leaps and bounds better than what was here last year (Bako, Stairs, Mayberry and injured Dobbs).

I believe Polanco fits the Phils' needs and is therefore an upgrade offensively at 3B. I don't think the defensive gap will be that noticeable.

The bullpen is still a question mark, but the 'pen, by nature, is a crap shoot most of the time. Again, it all depends on Lidge. If he has a good year, and Romero can remain healthy, it'll be passable at worst.

Oh yeah, and we have Roy Halladay for the entire season.

I'm optimistic about 2010. 2011 and beyond? Too early to tell.

CJ, I agree that those are the three elements that a good general manager needs to keep in balance, but I disagree that this was the way to do that. Trading Lee (either to Toronto or through a third team) at something close to straight up for Halladay would have been.

bp - Your analysis falters a bit by seeing winning now as a 1-year as opposed to a 2-3 year window. Halladay provides the Phils an ace for that whole window. The Phils don't have a pitcher of that caliber otherwise. Drabek doesn't replace Lee when he walks. Keeping Lee this year may make them worse through the remainder of the "win now" window. You do trade Lee if it's not just about 2010 but 2010-2012 or maybe 2013.

slim pickins with F/A relievers I like Joe Beimel for a southpaw. The right-handers pretty much suck.

bp: Why would Toronto have taken Lee? How would that have helped them?

And why would any team give the Phillies something equivalent to what we gave for Halladay considering:
1) Halladay is better than Lee.
2) Halladay came with an extension and Lee did not.

People seem upset with this deal because they are projecting impossible scenarios.

bp - What makes you think TOR wanted Lee? Amaro's been negotiating off and on with TOR (two different GMs) for months. They probably had opportunity to ask for him, esp. once they caught wind of dealings with SEA. TOR is the one of the last teams that needs to sacrifice future prospects for a year of a solid pitcher.

"CJ, I agree that those are the three elements that a good general manager needs to keep in balance, but I disagree that this was the way to do that. Trading Lee (either to Toronto or through a third team) at something close to straight up for Halladay would have been."

are you really saying you don't like this deal because it wasn't Lee for Halladay straight up? in what world would that have been possible?

Ruiz is in catcher heaven. 3 Cy Youngers in one short year.

Is there a reason Halladay is wearing 34 and not 32? I would like to know before I run to the store and buy the jersey, haha

"People seem upset with this deal because they are projecting impossible scenarios."

Agree with that. They're also projecting scenarios that may (or may not) have been possible but, for one reason or another, didn't happen -- i.e., non-tendering Blanton, trading Lee elsewhere, waiting and signing Halladay next off-season. You can't evaluate a deal based on imagined scenarios that didn't happen. You can only evaluate it on what did happen.

Well I guess you could recycle the Lee jerseys.

Cipper: 32 is Lefty. Always will be.

bap: Right... impossible was the wrong word. Improbable was a better word.

Cipper, you can't be serious. Phils had a pretty good pitcher who were 32. Not sure that number's available anymore.

b_a_p: I reject the notion that the prospects traded for Halladay cannot be compared to the prospects acquired for Lee. The Phillies FO has flat-out stated that the former necessitated the latter, which in my opinion makes it a bad move. Why?

Replace Lee w/ Halladay last season & the Phillies still lose the World Series. The bench is NOT, as some have claimed, notably better than it was in '09, the bullpen is worse (w/ the almost certain departures of Park & Eyre), & the back end of the rotation (Moyer & Happ) are hardly money in the bank.

Roy is a truly great pitcher, but he's only capable of filling the hole that trading Lee created. The Phillies need(ed) to do something major to fix both the bench & the pen, & it's difficult to see how they're going to have the flexibility to do either w/ all of their top prospects (save Brown) gone & an increasingly large amount of money locked up in just a few players.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times: Halladay is better than Lee, but not so much better that it justifies the cost. Trading the farm for Roy was too high of a price this past July, & it was too high of a price this December -- especially if one believes that "restocking" the proverbial cupboard w/ A-ballers was more important than keeping Lee for one more season at the relative pittance of $9 million.

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