With all the scuttlebutt out there about the Phillies going hard after Toronto's Roy Halladay at the expense of their surprisingly fertile farm system, they've quietly won 12 of their last 13 games, and opened up a very comfortable 6.5 game lead in the NL East.
The starting pitching of JA Happ, Joe Blanton, a resilient Jamie Moyer, and the off-the-scrapheap Rodrigo Lopez have helped the Fightin's turn in a dominant July. The pitching this month, even without Cole Hamels pitching well, seems to have the stuff to win it all again.
So assuming the rest of the NL East continues to suck wind the rest of the way, I have to question whether or not Roy Halladay is needed. I think the answer for the rest of the season is no, not really.
Would he be the centerpiece of the postseason rotation? Definitely. But do the Phillies trade a Happ and a Kyle Drabek to get him, or do they work to find pieces to solidify the rest of the team for the postseason at a much cheaper price?
I'm talking about a Chad Qualls from Arizona to make the bullpen a strength again. Ryan Madson is suddenly looking very hittable, and outside of Chad Durbin's three-inning outing this evening against a beaten-into-submission Cubs team, he's less than reliable.
Or do they finally pursue a right-handed bat to come off the bench? John Mayberry is too inexperienced, and way too strikeout-prone to make a difference in the postseason, and if I have to see Eric Bruntlett get the bat knocked out of his hand one more time I'm going to scream.
By acquiring a Qualls-type reliever and a solid bat off the bench I still feel the Phils are the team to beat, at least in the National League.
Could the Phils do all three? Probably, but the cost in prospects could (Drabek could be Brad Brink Jr.) be devastating three years from now.
Of course Halladay is there for 2010 as well, which Peter Gammons feels gives the Phillies a chance to get to three-straight World Series:
"One could argue that the Phillies have a chance to win three straight World Series (if the Phils acquire Halladay, they would have him under contract for the rest of this season along with the entire 2010 campaign)—and make Cole Hamels even better."
I certainly wouldn't be cursing a deal for him, but I'm just throwing it out there that he's not the only option the Phils can take and still be considered a World Series favorite.