The hand-wringing that has occurred over the last three days across the Philadelphia region has now subsided. The deal is done, and now all that is left is the debate over whether it was the correct one.
For all of the complaints about the enormity in terms of prospects given up and the departure of Cliff Lee in the process, this deal is positive for the Phillies' future.
By acquiring Halladay and placing him on top of the rotation for the next four to five years, the Phillies have installed a bona fide No. 1 starter. Perhaps, most important in that sense, Halladay's presence will take some of the pressure off of Cole Hamels to be his 2008 self.
By alleviating the mental anguish that plagued Hamels in 2009, he can focus on pitching like he knows how and not trying to become a perfectionist on the mound. With a clear mind, Hamels can only contribute to what, on paper, is a great 1-2 starting pitching punch.
The outrage over dealing prospects is understandable. Prospects hold promise for a bright future. However, promises can be broken.
Kyle Drabek may be a future All-Star, or he may become the next Gavin Floyd. Michael Taylor could be Jermaine Dye or become Reggie Taylor. The possibility of a prospect becoming what he is projected to be is very slight .
Parting with Cliff Lee is the price that had to be paid to replenish the farm system. Lee's contributions down the stretch and in the postseason were, for the lack of a better word, epic. The same word can be applied to the contract Lee would be seeking to stay in Philadelphia beyond 2010.
Halladay signing for almost a third of the price of the $160-$180 million that Lee would command is the best move financially when considering that Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Jayson Werth, and Shane Victorino hit free agency in coming years.
Philippe Aumont, the Mariners' top pitching prospect, could essentially either replace Drabek in the long run or even Brad Lidge in the future. Aumont is currently being used as a reliever, primarily a closer, in the minors. It is not much of a stretch to believe Aumont's inclusion in this deal would spell the end of Lidge in two years when his contract expires.
Centerfielder Tyson Gillies has the tools to become the center fielder of the future, according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Gillies could be in development to take over for Victorino in 2011 and beyond. The Phillies front office must choose between re-signing Werth or Victorino after the 2010 season.
By keeping top prospect Domonic Brown in the system, it is apparent that the organization is leaning towards giving Werth a new deal over Victorino. Brown would be the eventual replacement for Raul Ibanez when his deal expires.
This deal benefits this club not only in the short-term, but in the long-term as well. The initial pain of giving away a fan favorite and promising young players will subside by the time No. 34 takes the mound on opening day.
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