He is the best pitcher in baseball with tremendous mechanics and the ability to throw strikes. Both of those factors allow him to go deep into games, and he is one of the few pitchers who throws complete games. He has four complete games this season, had nine last year, and has led the league in that category four of the last six seasons.
It was reported by Jon Heyman of SI.com that the Blue Jays want both P Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ, plus either stud minor league OF Dominic Brown (High A Clearwater) or Michael Taylor of AAA Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies would be crazy to give up those players. Happ is fully cemented in the rotation and has gone 7-1, 2.97 ERA this year and has been a consistent winner with solid ERAs every season in his pro career. Drabek is a high ceiling pitcher, currently 6-1, 3.12 ERA in Double A Reading. He is viewed as a future No. 1 starter.
Both Brown and Taylor also have high ceilings and in the cozy Citizen's Bank Park will hit home runs by the bunches. While not considered the better of the two, Taylor has hit .326 with 17 homers and 70 RBIs this season between AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley. He was promoted to AAA immediately after the AA All-Star game.
Brown has held his own in the pitching friendly High A Florida State League.
The Phillies are defending World Series Champions and won it without Roy Halladay. Their team is basically the same as last year except for adding Raul Ibanez and with the emergence of Happ as a starter. Brett Myers is expected back in August to give the bullpen a needed lift.
I am surprised the Phillies are considering trading Drabek and/or Happ for Halladay. Granted Halladay improves any team out there, but the Phillies have built their current team through home grown talent. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, and Brett Myers have all come through their system.
With the two young pitchers, the Phils have the makings of a really good rotation for much more than the one-plus seasons that Halladay will give them. Also, if the Phillies obtain him, with Doc's disdain for hitting, he will likely depart to another American League team after next season.
I have no problem trading good prospects for top talent, but I have major issues with trading projected future studs such as Drabek, Taylor, and Brown.
But Heyman also said that the Los Angeles Angels have checked in with the Blue Jays for Halladay. The Angels NEED Halladay more than the Phillies do, and they also have the players Toronto wants. They have quality major league pitching and solid shortstop prospects. The Blue Jays SS this season is Marco Scutaro, who is 33, having a career year, and is a free agent after this season.
According to Heyman, the Blue Jays asked for 28-year-old LHP Joe Saunders, 21-year-old RHP Sean O'Sullivan, SS Erick Aybar, and SS/3B Brandon Wood. Saunders and O'Sullivan are currently in the Angels rotation, Aybar is the starting SS, and the 24-year-old Wood is a promising power hitter who could be moved to third base, another position the Jays need to improve.
If that Blue Jays' request is real, I make that trade in a heartbeat if I am Angels GM Tony Reagins.
Getting Halladay without having to give up your best pitcher (Jered Weaver) is the main reason to make the deal. The Angels would then have Halladay, Weaver, and John Lackey as a top three—very formidable.
Also, Lackey is a free agent at the end of this season. With recent arm issues and likely desiring a big dollar contract, the Angels might NEED Halladay even more next season.
Saunders is serviceable, but doesn't scare many teams, while O'Sullivan is having a pretty good major league debut. In five starts, he is 3-0 with a 3.72 ERA, and despite great success at the lower levels of the minors, he struggled the last two seasons at the higher levels of AAA.
Aybar is a slick fielder and decent stick, while Wood can definitely hit at the major league level. Both aren't make or break players but fit what Toronto needs, a young shortstop and a power hitting third baseman.
Getting Halladay is a steal for the Angels based upon those players mentioned, while the Phillies would be better off holding on to their young talent.
If they don't cave in for Halladay, in two years the Phillies starting staff will include Drabek, Hamels, and Happ along with another former first round pick, Joe Savery, currently 12-3 with a 4.36 ERA in Reading. They would all be drafted and developed pitchers, the way the Phillies did it last season all the way to a World Series title.
And Utley, Rollins, and Howard (if re-signed) will still be their later prime years, still good enough to win another World Series.
I have repeatedly said the Angels would end up getting Halladay because he likes the American League and the Halos need him most. If they do get Halladay, the other AL playoff teams would face a formidable rotation and a tough out in a seven-game series.
The Angels need to make that trade immediately.