I’ve been saying pretty much the same thing ad nauseum re: the Phillies’ end of this deal since the details over the final package came out last night. Now I have someone who’s actually an authority to back me up. Thank you!
Comment by PhillyFriar — December 15, 2009 @ 11:36 am
Best piece of writing I’ve seen from Mr. Cameron. Astute analysis and I love the ending
Comment by HalIncandenza — December 15, 2009 @ 11:38 am
Here’s my issue with the trade as currently rumored: how is this a three-way trade, and not just two separate trades? The whole point of a third team getting involved is that they’ll be sending some players to one team, and some players to another. As currently constituted, this looks a lot more like one trade between the phillies and the Blue Jays, and another trade between the Phillies and the Mariners.
There should be atleast 4-6 GMs calling the Phillies and offering more than the Mariners. Every AL West team+Cubs, Reds, and some other teams. How can Aumont, Gillies, and Ramirez be the best return?
Comment by levitsky — December 15, 2009 @ 11:46 am
Agreed, JH. I wonder if there is a PTBNL angle here. Perhaps the Jays will get to pick one of the Philly-bound prospects at a later date? That would, in an admittedly roundabout sense, make this a 3-way deal.
More frustrated about losing Taylor and Drabek and getting back role players.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 11:46 am
You’re right, it is two separate deals. Which has me praying that the Phillies will come to their senses, pull out of the Mariners side of this deal, and shop Lee to get the best offer.
Comment by PhillyFriar — December 15, 2009 @ 11:47 am
I agree. Where are the Rangers and Angels right now? Both have a stronger case to acquire the left hander and better prospects to do it with.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 11:47 am
That’s exactly what it is…. the media just likes to be dramatic. But this trade doesn’t happen if both trades are made at the same time because, as Dave stated, I don’t see how Philly could afford to keep both Lee and Halladay. Being able to move Lee immediately was the key.
Comment by the breeze — December 15, 2009 @ 11:48 am
*both trades aren’t
Comment by the breeze — December 15, 2009 @ 11:49 am
I have to think the Phils could’ve gotten more for Lee had they shopped him around.
Comment by Rob in CT — December 15, 2009 @ 11:53 am
How close is the Lee part to being done? I think the Doc part is signed and sealed, but do we know for sure the Lee part is?
I think that, in this case, you have to view the Mariners and Blue Jays as one united team to have this trade make sense. The Phillies must have needed partner right stat quick to be comfortable with the prospects they were dealing.
oh hey. don’t the phillies have a black hole at 3b?
this is stupid on all levels for the phils
Comment by BATTLETANK — December 15, 2009 @ 12:33 pm
The ideal scenario to me, would be that the Phillies kept Lee for 2010 and simply sign Halladay as a FA, although I realize whoever else would have acquired him would have tried to lock him up. Brandon Webb, Cliff Lee, even Josh Beckett will be on the market this offseason; you;d think the Phillies could get a #1 starter inked in that offseason. As is, the Phillies gave up the 4 prospects they traded for Lee minus half a season of Lee, plus Drabek, D’arnoud, and Taylor for Halladay + extension. That seems like ALOT, even to get a top-tier starter locked up.
As Dave pointed out, the Phillies had other ways to clear or save the 8M Lee is set to make. Hard to believe they couldn’t have done better.
I don’t think it’s fair to conclude that Amaro got a bad return on Lee. Look at Dave’s evaluation of the Lee trade to Philly – it’s deja vu all over again. Lee has (if this package is correct) been traded twice for what appears to be less than proper value. Given the two datapoints, perhaps what we should conclude is that the rest of the market is undervaluing Lee, and not that Shapiro and Amaro (the second time around) are misreading the market.
Comment by Salty Dog — December 15, 2009 @ 12:47 pm
I don’t think it’s fair to say they shouldn’t have signed Romero being as they signed him last offseason. That would have required a hell of a lot of foresight on Amaro’s part.
Still I agree, the Phillies could have done this better.
It would have required a hell of a lot of foresight not to give a non-premium reliever an eight-figure deal? Who knew?!
Comment by Kevin S. — December 15, 2009 @ 12:58 pm
i think that he meant to say durbin, who they just signed for 2 million.
Comment by jpdtrmpt72 — December 15, 2009 @ 12:59 pm
Dave – thoughts on the risk that comes along with Cliff Lee? I’m sure you’re aware of the things that happen to pitchers who throw 270 innings in a season without ever coming to close to that in their career before.
The number of guys who break down shortly after throwing around 500 innings in 2 seasons is stunning. Webb, Carpenter, Halladay, Capuano, Mulder, Garcia, and many more come to mind.
I think that’s the past of this deal that’s being overlooked. There’s a very real chance that Cliff Lee is in for arm trouble in the very near future. Even horses (Webb/Halladay) haven’t been able to handle that kind of pounding. If Lee stays healthy after throwing 270 innings, he’ll be the exception.
Comment by Coby DuBose — December 15, 2009 @ 1:00 pm
I can honestly say that smart phillies fans now hate amaro (if they didn’t already for the ibanez deal)
Comment by jpdtrmpt72 — December 15, 2009 @ 1:01 pm
Signing Jamie Moyer to a two-year deal looks even more dumb than it was at the time if moving Lee is just about clearing salary. They also probably overpaid for Polanco considering how much Figgins signed for. Twenty teams should be calling the Phillies right now about Lee before the deal goes through because he is clearly worth more than the Mariner’s current prospect package.
I hate when people say this. These GMs (Save for those named Moore or Wade) aren’t idiots. Especially once it came out that these were the elements being talked about, you don’t think a GM would be on the phone intervening if he thought they could do better and still have it work for their team.
Its completely naive to say that.
I’m not as knowledgeable about this stuff as you guys are obviously, but on top of long term dependability, is it possible Philli felt more comfortable with an great GB pitcher opposed to Lee’s (I believe) dependence on fly ball outs given the ball park they play in?
I doubt you honestly thought I meant that. What you’re saying is beside the point that there was no way Amaro could have known he’d be short on cash for Halladay when he signed Romero. Like jpdtrmpt72 said though, Dave could have meant Durbin, which makes more sense as he could have easily been non-tendered.
I don’t hate this deal as a Phils fan. It pains me the see Drabek go, but aside from that there’s nothing really wrong. That said I would’ve rather seen Blanton shopped for a bullpen guy, than have Lee shipped away for three slightly better prospects.
I like Cliff Lee. What he did in 08 after being demoted to AAA was simply amazing. He followed that up last year with another very good year (although not nearly as good at 08). But I’ve heard it in more than a few spots that Lee and Halladay are equals. Who started this rumor and how can we stop it.
I rip Dave as much as possible, but only when he’s wrong, which sadly has been infrequent lately. Even if Amaro got the best return possible for Lee, it begs the question. Why not keep Lee and trade him at the deadline when you are 20 games ahead, or offer him arb and take the draft picks after the season? As Dave pointed out, there were much less damaging ways to unload payroll, keeping Lee makes the Phillies a very potent team next year.
Maybe the Phillies GM was operating under some mandate that he couldn’t raise the 2010 payroll beyond a certain point even for a day, so he basically HAD to find the best deal for Lee, include it with the Halladay deal, and give up extra prospect value to get the $6M from Toronto in order to make it acceptable to HIS bosses.
Ramirez is the biggest question mark for me. He’s extremely high risk as it’s hard to project a guy putting everything together just because he has the body and a fastball, but he has the highest ceiling of the lot in my mind. It’s nice to be hopeful and everything, but it’s tough to be very optimistic about him. It takes a perfect world to expect more than role player performance from either player.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 1:53 pm
Yea, I was baffled that they offered him arbitration.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 1:56 pm
His bosses should be smarter than that. They want money which means getting the best returns on investments. Sometimes you have to wait a little bit before you get a return.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 1:58 pm
It’s a three-way deal because structuring it that way makes the Lee deal contingent on the Halladay one. Remember that the Phillies negotiate with Halladay until the deal is in place. So the Phillies weren’t going to agree to trade Lee unless it they had a safety net.
For some odd reason, the Phillies panicked, and thought they had to trade Cliff Lee *immediately*. The only thing I can think of is the PR hit you’d take by trading Lee outside of the Halladay deal.
Well, yes, that’s obviously one strategy. However, suppose you keep Lee past the trade deadline and he blows out his elbow in September? I don’t think you can say with certainty that keeping Lee will definitely yield prospects.
Ultimately, it comes down to how you strike the risk/reward balance. You can make a compelling argument that keeping Lee is the right move. But, it’s risky. Worst case, you have huge $$ committed to a few players and you’ve traded away 8 of your top 10 prospects and have no ability to fill holes around those expensive players with cheap young talent.
I certainly don’t think Dave is wrong, he’s one of the most clueful analysts around. I just wanted to point out the rationale for the Phillies, as I see it. They’re not comfortable with having a depleted farm system going forward, and the only way to re-stock it with certainty is to trade someone now. And Lee is the obvious choice for that, given his trade value.
Comment by Salty Dog — December 15, 2009 @ 2:21 pm
WAR is not adjusted for league talent or strength of lineups faced. 14.8 WAR in the AL East is a bigger upgrade than you think from 13.7 WAR produced in the AL Central and NL East.
If you’re a Philly fan, you have to be scared to death about 2011, too. The money which comes off the books for JC Romero (assuming buyout) and Jamie Moyer gets eaten up by the raise due to Halladay, and other raises probably tack another $5-8MM on the books. So you’re already looking to dump payroll, again, with Jimmy Rollins in an option year, Shane Victorino in arbitration, and both Joe Blanton and Jayson Werth going to free agency. It feels like you’re betting hard on Domonic Brown to fill one of those spots.
I don’t know what this WAR thing is, but by the old-fangled numbers, like win-loss, innings, CG, SO, K:BB, WHIP, K or BB objectively, halladay tops lee on all of them. and if you leave out the time lee spent picking on the NL, it’s not even close last year. so when dave said they are both top 5 MLB pitchers, i assume he meant Halladay is top 5, Lee top 15
Comment by wiffleball — December 15, 2009 @ 2:27 pm
But sometimes waiting ends up with the asset losing all value. Sure, keeping Lee could result in winning the World Series and getting 2 draft picks as compensation when he signs somewhere else, but he could also blow out his arm and you get nothing back for him.
I don’t disagree with the thought that the outcomes are likely to be better by keeping him, but businesspeople are often risk-averse. It’s hard to sell a plan that involves trading away 8 of your 10 top prospects (or 7, however many it is) without a corresponding plan to restock with prospects. If you cash in Lee now, you can sell the move for Halladay by showing that you immediately re-stock the system. Any other plan involves the risk of not being able to re-stock.
Comment by Salty Dog — December 15, 2009 @ 2:34 pm
How about the Michael Taylor for Brett Wallace swap that is being reported once the main deal between the Phillies and Jays gets done?
Does Wallace have a future at 3B or is he 1B/DH all the way?
Fine, add another Win (I think that’s being overly conservative, the AL Central still features a DH, mind you), and then Philly has added 1 win per season. They gave up a top prospect, and are going to pay a lot for Halladay’s 33-35 seasons.
The clear winner in this trade? Seattle.
Oh, and on another note, small sample size, but Lee seemed to fair alright against the best lineup in baseball in the World Series.
you traded away your OF fill in and SP fill in. so now they’re going to have to come through free agency most likely. unless you really think brown will be ready at the end of this year. you’re looking at another 15-20 million in free agency to fill in that roster. gonna be tough!
Comment by BATTLETANK — December 15, 2009 @ 2:51 pm
It’s irrelevant whether or not they knew they’d need that money to afford Halladay/Lee. Wasting resources on fungible assets is a good way to put yourself in a crunch down the road, and that’s exactly what happened here. Romero’s been almost perfectly replacement level for the past five years, never deviating more that .3 WAR either way. The contract was stupid, and now it bites them in the ass.
philly is clearly in a win-now mode. And why not? Chase is at his peak and won’t put up 7 win seasons forever. JRoll is at his peak, and even Howard might be at his peak. The only players with meaningful potential (not even probable) upside are Werth and Victorino, assuming werth can narrow that platoon split in a good way.
The way for non-New York teams to win the workd series is to
1) get lucky
2) get a bunch of top end talent either under control or for below market prices
3) have a signfiicant core of your team peak at the same time
4) fill in your holes wisely through trades and free agency, while slowly spending down your farm system
5) get lucky.
the phillies may not be the most astute team, but they did a pretty good job of ALL of these things.
1& 5 were a given
They may have given Howard a free-market contract, but that was almost forced from the huge arb award he had already won. They also though had several players from their world series win at the time well below their price on the open market (victorino, werth, hamels, etc)
They did a good job with little moves, ala blanton, and then they got lucky again
If all the phillies became free agents today, their 2008 and 2009 vintages would probably command a 200 mil + payroll, so of course this good run will end eventually. I am glad we are taking maybe 2 more cracks at it though.
Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — December 15, 2009 @ 3:04 pm
Your overrating of Lee is truly hysterical. Yeah, 2008 was a fine year but he’s still a 31 year old with a 109 ERA+. He is not even close to being a “top-5” in baseball. Why have people become so fascinated with him anyway? One great year and one good year does not put him in the same class as Roy F Halladay.
Is it possible that the Blue Jays wanted to know what would happen to Lee before they would sign off on Halladay? Perhaps the Phillies felt pressure because Toronto said they would let Philadelphia ship Lee of to an AL East team, and made the trade contingent on that. Given that Philadelphia may also be reluctant to deal in the NL East, the market for Lee was perhaps more limited than people think. The Mariners may just have been “in the right divison”, given what Philly was trying to accomplish.
I wasn’t suggesting that we wait that long…just take some time to thoroughly explore all trade options.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 3:20 pm
The Angels, M’s and Rangers all have a need for Lee and prospects aplenty. The M’s matchup fine, they just went low on quality, I don’t know how they get out of this deal without including Triunfel though.
Comment by The A Team — December 15, 2009 @ 3:23 pm
Yeah, I wish people could understand that GMs are beyond reproach. They don’t have any biases, and they never, ever misvalue prospects.
I’m not saying that as a rip on Dave, I do disagree with this perspective on this topic, but he is no idiot. I was more saying it seems like its more blind agreement with his perspective because he is a very smart guy, instead of trying to see it in as many ways as possible.
One thing Dave is fantastic at is evaluating value, which is what this is. Personally, I think you have to look at this trade in congruence with the July trade that brought Lee to Philly. If you would have told me then that we would trade Drabek, Taylor, D’Arnaud, Knapp, Marson, Carassco and Donald for the 3 Mariners, 2 Months +playoffs of Cliff Lee, 6 million, and 1 year of Roy Halladay with the ability to sign him to an extention at a reduced price then I would have taken it every time.
Thats not to say that the Mariners didnt make out like bandits here, but you have to remember the Phillies made out like better bandits to get Lee in the first place.
And to those who think the Phils could have gotten more for Lee, you don’t think teams wouldnt have come out of the woodwork once they heard what Seattle was offering if they thought it was better than what Seattle was offering? Whether or not Amaro and Co. picked the best haul offered to them is debatable if we knew what else was out there, but to just say they should see what else they can get is a complete misreading of the situation.
You don’t think Amaro has already been on the horn for the last week shopping Lee? I’m betting the Halladay for Philly prospects was dreamed up at the meetings last week (conditional on trading Lee) and this week, knowing he couldn’t keep Lee, Amaro called everyone except the Jays, Mets and Braves to find the best package.
I’m still fairly certain that a prospect (hopefullly Triunfel) is going from Seattle to Toronto. None of these above explanations hold any water, Seattle is in the deal because they have a player the Jays want.
The deal makes little sense for the Jays. The two first rounders and 6 mil are at least as good as Taylor and D’Arnaud so they are basically trading him straight up for Drabek which makes no sense. Triunfel to the Jays would make it so much more logical.
I think this trade would suggest that Oakland views Wallace as 1B/DH. They have Carter, Doolittle, Barton who can already compete for those spots. They do not have a great 3B anywhere, so I don’t think they would have traded Wallace if they though there was a reasonable chance he could stay there.
Toronto appear more able to play Wallace at first or to DH him. Snider and Lind can hopefully man the corner outfield spots allowing Cooper and Wallace to pair off at 1B/DH. And of course Cooper and Wallace aren’t sure things so it’s always nice to build a little redundancy into the system
Comment by Trenchtown — December 15, 2009 @ 4:43 pm
Romero has been on the books since Gillick, so Amaro had no choice there. Your point is well taken though
As a Phils fan I can’t help but feel just slightly disappointed. The end result of Halladay being locked up for 4-75.75 with a vesting option for 20 mil is excellent
However, I can’t help but feel that RAJ botched the Lee half of the trade. No downside I can see to waiting and fielding more offers, especially with two rivals ostensibly very interested (LAA and SEA). To not even get SEA’s truly top prospects is disappointing…..Triunfel (sp?), Liddi would make more sense than Gillies, given our huge needs at those positions at the minor league level. Maybe Morrow instead of Aumont
But, I’m sure I will get some sympathy from about 29 other fanbases on this!
So you’re saying that since the Phillies made out well in the original Lee deal, it’s OK that they got ripped off by the M’s on this deal?
Philadelphia did not get enough for Lee. This was a lopsided exchange of assets. It doesn’t really matter if other teams could or couldn’t have bested Seattle’s offer – If there were better offers on the table for Lee, Philly looks foolish for accepting an inferior trade. If Seattle’s offer was the best out there, they look foolish for putting themselves in a position where they have to trade an asset for 60 cents on the dollar.
Don’t be so quick to write-off the prospects the Phillies got.
Gillies is a young true center fielder who has posted double-digit walk rates in each of the past two years. He has solid power potential (and showed more pop this year) but looks the part of a lead-off hitter and good defender up the middle. That’s very valuable. He’s, basically, replacing Taylor who is more major league ready and less varience in his offensive projections. But the Phillies get to replace a corner for a center fielder — I think that makes up for a good chunch of the difference.
Aumont is a future starter, I’d be very surprised if the Phillies didn’t groom him that way. He, basically, replaces Drabek who shows great promise and, again, is more MLB ready. BUT Drabek’s arm is a ticking time-bomb. While he should be very good when healthy, I wouldn’t bet on that being too often in his career. Gun to my head, I think Aumont will have a longer and overall more productive career.
I’m not sold on Ramirez but he does have value as a lottery ticket type of strong armed prospect.
People may have different evaluations of the prospects involved and that’s fine. I think the Phillies just liked these guys a little more than the blogosphere consensus. There is certainly a large degree of unpredictability with all the young players involved, but for adding some more volatility to their minor league system they get the upgrade of Halladay (locked up) over Lee (one year left). I don’t think this was a problem with the decision making process for the Phillies.
Side note, this has to be the funnest trade in history! Everyone gets to talk about it. IMHO, I think each side made out pretty well.
Lee in the top 5 of SP in the majors? Lincecum, Greinke, Halladay, Santana, Beckett, Peavy, Sabathia, Felix, Carpenter, Haren…better than those guys? Give me a break. Cameron you are a biased fool.
D.C. shows time and time again he has an agenda, ripping every transaction by a certain few GMs while praising every dribble of slobber from his beloved Zduriencik, Beane, Epstein, Friedman (gee I wonder what the common denominator is amongst the aforementioned) etc. It must be nice to always be right, noble Cameron, last bastion of baseball statistic and transaction sensibility.
Blind mice, don’t forget to mark this as a thumbs down to show your utter disdain for my objection to your master, ruler and voice on all things baseball.
Comment by wake up sheep — December 15, 2009 @ 6:38 pm
I’m actually stunned that the Phils received prospects AND cash? … along with Halladay? Seroiusly, getting Halladay is enough. That they got some young players is cash is the proverbial icing.
I’d say PHL made out like a bandit in this thing.
They’re also one of the few teams that already has 2 LHPs that they can put in their starting 5.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 15, 2009 @ 6:43 pm
…I’m with Philly on this. They’re being chastised just like I was for making the Hardy for Gomez swap. People saying: Oh, that Mustachioed Doug Melvin, unable to get more for a prime shortstop. I TRIED to get more for Hardy. There weren’t any offers. Philly TRIED to get more for Lee. But there weren’t the offers. Lee’s not a bona fide, etc etc.
Comment by Doug Melvin — December 15, 2009 @ 7:19 pm
I’m willing to withhold judgment until after we hear what Cliff Lee is demanding in contract negotiations. If he really does want Sabathia/Johan money, then I understand why the Phillies would want to deal him before his demands went public and killed all of their leverage (maybe that’s what happened already?). If he’s looking for 5-6 years and less than $20 per year, this makes the Phils look bad. They couldn’t stick to their guns regarding Drabek, and I think that alone makes Amaro look very foolish right now.
Also, and this has nothing to do with my own opinion of the move, but does Seattle have the money to sign Lee AND Felix if both want CC-level deals? If they do, shouldn’t they have been much better over the last 5 years?
Yes, but the Mariners weren’t better during the previous 5 years because the worst GM in baseball history repeatedly torpedoed any chance of that happening.
The M’s #1 priority is Felix. If they can also sign Lee for the right price, great, but in all likelihood the result of this deal will be one season of Cliff Lee + two compensatory first round draft picks after he signs elsewhere.
I’m an A’s fan. I know Bavasi sucks, I was trying to rub that in a little bit for all the Mariner fans in here. My snark unfortunately did not translate.
In all seriousness, I’m happy any time a terrible GM is replaced by a much better one, and this new guy seems to know what he’s doing. Of course, none of that will matter when Michael Taylor and Chris Carter are dominating the AL West in 2 years, and Brett Anderson wins his first of, let’s say, 6 Cy Youngs. (Just let me dream, ok?)
As a Nats fan hoping to find light at the end of the tunnel. I now totally hate the Phillies. Halladay through 2013! Ugh!
Comment by PhD Brian — December 16, 2009 @ 3:39 am
“old-fangled numbers”, “WHIP”
Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — December 16, 2009 @ 3:41 am
“Blind mice, don’t forget to mark this as a thumbs down to show your utter disdain for my objection to your master, ruler and voice on all things baseball.”
Can do! Now where’s my cane…
Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — December 16, 2009 @ 3:44 am
The Lee trade wasn’t about the Money. That’s silly. The Phils could have done a number of things to save money. It is easy for talking heads and writers with big heads to say they traded Lee for the money, but it could not have been the case. Its clear Amaro wanted to keep the minor league system stocked and Lee was the best chip he had to use. I think the propects the Phils got from the Mariners are respectable, but not great. To me, out of the three teams involved the Phils lost this trade evaluating it today.
I think Amaro really is not a good GM. It is also clear that the phils are a team that doesn’t value draft picks as much as they should. Evidence: They decided not wait on losing Lee and getting a couple Arb picks, they decided not to offer arb to Burrell/Moyer last year, and they decided not to offer arb to Park this year. He makes rash decisions and sometimes gets luckly (I’m thinking of the Ibanez signing last year).