Feast or Famine
By Michael P. Tremoglie
Tremoglie's Tea Time Blog
A complicated three way trade was completed yesterday among the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Only the Phillies portion of this trade is of concern here.
The Phillies traded Cliff Lee to Seattle and received some talented minor league prospects. They traded their own minor leaguers to Toronto to obtain Roy Halladay.
Earlier, in July, Lee had been obtained by the Phillies from Cleveland. They traded some minor league prospects to the Indians for Lee and a reserve outfielder, Ben Francisco.
Needless to say there are a lot of talented minor league prospects being shuttled around - several of them from the Phillies farm system.
Lee performed magnificently. He was in large part responsible for the team winning a consecutive National League title for the first time in its 125 year history. He was almost soley responsible for the Phillies winning two World Series games against the Yankees for the first time in the teams history.
So, since July 2009, the Phillies have traded two five-star minor league prospects; pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek, as well as pitcher Jason Knapp, catchers Lou Marson and Travis D'Arnaud, shortstop Jason Donald and another blue chipper in outfielder Michael Taylor.
They received Roy Halladay, reserve outfielder Ben Francisco, blue chip pitching prospect Phillipe Aumont, pitcher Juan Ramirez and blue chip outfielder Tyson Gillies. They also got Cliff Lee for one half of a season, which as previously stated, is not insignificant, since he was a major reason the team obtained their second consecutive NL pennant, and two World Series games against the Yankees,for the first time ever. They also obtained $6 mm - again not insignificant.
That's a net of -4 minor league prospects and +1 reserve OF, for one season and postseason of a Cy Young award pitcher, as well as 2 or 3 seasons of another Cy Young award winner plus $6mm.
Will the Phillies-Seattle-Toronto trade benefit the Phils or will it be another Von Hayes debacle?
It'll depend on how well the traded prospects produce and how steep the Phillies farm system is. Remember, Arbuckle, the guy who signed Utley, Howard, Rollins etc is no longer the scouting director for the Phillies. So the Phillies may not have the infrastructure to replace Drabek, Taylor et al.
Also, while the consensus opinion is that Halladay is a shade superior to Lee, one stat no one has mentioned is that Lee's flyball to home run ratio was second in the league. Halladay will be pitching in a home run friendly stadium half the time. He was not among the top ten in this category.
Will Halladay be plagued by home runs at Citizens Bank?
Will Happ continue his almost-2009-rookie-of-the-year pitching performance next season or will he be a one season wonder?
Will Cole Hamels regain his 2008 form - or is 2009 a typical season for him?
Can Ben Francisco produce more than a .263 BA next season?
The answers will determine Ruben Amaro Jr.'s future as the Phillies GM.