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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another blockbuster!

When Roy Halladay is involved in a trade you expect a lot of players to be moving. But would you expect one of those to be Cliff Lee? Me neither. Let's break it down.

Philadelphia receives: Roy Halladay SP, Phillippe Aumont RHP, Tyson Gilles, Juan Ramirez RHP
Yes, the Phillies get Halladay (and his 3 year extension + club option for a 4th) but was it worth trading the only real prospects they had? Only time will tell. Halladay is a top five pitcher in baseball and moving to the National League should provide a nice bump to his stats. But trading Lee for him doesn't improve the team much as you might think. This trade was most likely initiated due to Lee's unwillingness for a discount as opposed to Halladay who just wants to play for a winner. If he stays healthy it's likely his performance boost will be enough to cause Halladay's name to be mentioned as a possible electee to Cooperstown.
Aumont is a prospect with a decent arm but really, I don't see him turning into much more than a #3 starter. It's also possible he ends up in the bullpen. The only thing I know about Gilles is that he's perhaps the fastest player in the minors. Another Michael Bourn perhaps? Juan Ramirez is another guy who has tons of "stuff" but no idea how to use it. He could end up anywhere from a dominant reliever to a guy who never makes it.

Seattle receives: Cliff Lee LHP
Cliff Lee, as we all know, is a former Cy Young Award winner who made the transition to the Junior League with no problems. He was also the best pitcher in October last season. How Seattle found a way to finagle themselves into this deal is beyond me, but they will love seeing Lee take the ball every fifth day right behind Felix. This team just got a lot better.

Toronto receives: Kyle Drabek SP, Travis d'Arnaud C, Michael Taylor OF
Toronto is getting some really nice prospects here but where's the major leaguer? If Toronto could've pulled in someone like Brandon Morrow or even Michael Saunders this would be a huge get. Unfortunately neither was included leaving the Jays to hope that these three prospects hit their projected ceilings.
I love Kyle Drabek as a starter and agreed with the Phillies last year when they refused to include him in any deal. I know my buddy Keith Law feels there's nothing special about him (he'll probably say as much in his trade analysis) but I humbly disagree. Michael Taylor is a monster of a prospect who would make their outfield sickening except for the fact they turned around and traded him to the A's (more on that below). Travis d'Arnaud is a solid catching prospect and could end up performing like a young Jason Kendall (without the speed) but I think that's a little optimistic. I'm wondering if including him allowed Philadelphia to gain some leverage in this trade considering Toronto didn't have a single catcher on their 40-man roster Sunday.

Later, Toronto traded Michael Taylor to the A's for 3b prospect Brett Wallace. I'm not sure I really understand this but let me take a gander. Brett Wallace is not a good defensive player and it's possible he won't be able to play the hot corner for long. He appears to have the ability to hit for high average but I'm not sure he'll ever be much of a power hitter. I think this is what motivated the A's to deal him. Wallace is ready for an extended look in spring training and I won't be surprised to see him start the year with Toronto in 2010.

For Oakland, Michael Taylor immediately becomes the best prospect in the system. The A's have several prospects who can hit but only one who hits for power. Oakland tends to be moderately difficult on power hitters and I don't know how well Taylor's power will translate to Oakland's home park, but perhaps management felt it translated better than Wallace's skills since Oakland is known for suppressing batting average.

Philadelphia gets a win for improving their team (although slightly) this season. I'm still on the fence on whether or not they will be improved in 2014 because of it.

Seattle, tell your fans to get excited. With the league's best defense and now an incredible 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, the Mariners have to be considered legitimate post season contenders. If they are able to shore up the bullpen then this team could be scary. Big win here.

Toronto gets some prospects I love but are missing the one major league player that allows me to say they get a win out of this deal. Instead they likely walk away getting a #2 starter whose had some history with injuries, a 3b who will hit for average, and a catching prospect who will be a solid but not spectacular starter.

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