Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Phillies are also said to have dealt Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, who are included as a third team.
The rest of the players in this blockbuster deal are yet to be confirmed.
Halladay, 32, is expected to sign a contract extension with the Phillies to complete the deal.
Lee, 31, was acquired by the Phillies at the trading deadline this past season. Much of the speculation was that it would be Halladay the team would trade for midseason, but negotiations with Toronto fell through and they looked elsewhere.
Initially, I was torn on how I felt about the swap. It is difficult to evaluate a trade so shortly after it breaks, especially with only two of the players' names being released.
Yet, after some thinking on what we know, there is a whole lot to be happy about from the viewpoint of the Phillies.
First of all, Halladay has been just as efficient as Lee was in '09 for his entire career. With Lee, you have an ace who has only seen major success in two of his seven seasons.
Halladay, on the other hand, has finished in the top five in AL CY Young voting five times, including one year in which he won the award.
What Lee was able to do in the postseason was spectacular, but let's not forget how shaky he was to finish off the season. Halladay is much more consistent and has quite a pedigree to back him up.
Second, Lee was, more likely than not, going to test the open waters of free agency after this season. Halladay, on the other hand, has reportedly signed an extension.
Rather than retaining Lee for just one more season, the Phillies were able to bring in a top-of-the-line ace who will be around for a few extra years.
Third, the Phillies are also bringing prospects in from Seattle. This may not be what made them pull the trigger, but it sure helped.
Kyle Drabek was considered untouchable, so either Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown were likely sent to Toronto. Receiving a few prospects in return to help strengthen the system is always a positive.
Lastly, nearly every decision Ruben Amaro Jr. has made as general manager has been golden. Until he makes a monumental mistake that puts the team in jeopardy of competing on the field, we need to have trust in him.
Before making your own personal judgment on the trade, take a step back and think: would you rather have an ace who has only performed at the level of an ace for two seasons for one more season or an ace who has been just that his entire career for a few more years?
Sure, Lee was tremendous in the postseason and for a better part of the regular season. But so was Halladay, and he has been doing it much longer.
You will not see much fluctuation from the performance of Lee in '09 to the expected performance of Halladay in '10. The difference is that it is assured that Halladay will be around past this season.
Give Roy Halladay the same amount of admiration and respect Cliff Lee was given, and I can almost assure you he will not disappoint.