At last, a Roy Halladay trade is on the horizon, as the Phillies may have finally won the sweepstakes. But the Halladay trade may have come at a great cost, as they may have traded one ace for another. The Phillies traded for Cliff Lee last year when they couldn’t get Halladay, and now they might have traded him away to get Halladay this time. The Halladay trade will somehow move Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, as part of a three-team deal that could shake up the Phillies’ future.
In July, all of Philadelphia wanted to trade for Halladay, and were a little disappointed when Cliff Lee came instead. One dominant postseason later, things have changed. This time, fans may be sad that Halladay is coming to Philadelphia instead of Lee. But the deal is now close to being official, according to Sports Illustrated.
Nothing has been finalized yet, but if everything falls through, the Halladay trade will send the Toronto ace to Philadelphia at last. However, the Seattle Mariners have come out of nowhere to play a huge part. In return for sending prospects, the Mariners may get Cliff Lee in this three-team deal, which may be more significant than Halladay going to Philly.
Since the Phillies were rumored to be after Halladay again, Philadelphia fans have dreamed of a Lee-Halladay-Cole Hamels rotation. But with Lee possibly gone, the rotation will just be led by Halladay and a rebuilding Hamels. Without Lee to anchor things, this deal becomes even more risky for GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
Amaro was hailed as a genius when he passed on Halladay and got Lee for next-to-nothing. Now, he has put himself on the line even further, by giving up Lee after his historic 2009 postseason run. Halladay still may be the best pitcher in baseball, but after a year of wanting out of Toronto, all the pressure is on him to deliver. Now that he is replacing Lee, the pressure increases tenfold, especially if Hamels doesn’t return to form in 2010.
Next season is especially crucial for Philadelphia, since they lost their World Series title this year. After 2010, Amaro will have to start resigning his stars, who are approaching 30 or more. The window of opportunity for another ring will close in the next few years, and Halladay will now be the most important part of that chase.
If Halladay doesn’t deliver, then Amaro will have forfeited all his goodwill, and the lasting legacy of this Phillies era will be at stake. Will they go down as one of the best teams in recent memory, or just a one-shot champion? If this trade becomes official, the answer to that question hinges on Roy Halladay.
The trade is not official, though it could be in the next several hours. It caps off a rather big day for pitchers, after the Red Sox reportedly signed Angels’ ace John Lackey. Lackey joins a Red Sox team that already has a few aces – whereas the Phillies may have lost an ace to get their original choice.
SI.com-“Phils reach three-team deal to get Halladay, send Lee to M’s”
ESPN- “Sources: Halladay, Lee deal close”