Adios, Cliff Lee. We hardly knew ye.
Hello, Roy Halladay. Get ready for some backlash.
This turn of events has left me with a lot of ambivalence. Let me say first of all that Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, so it is great to have him on our team. Also, it is very gratifying to finally have a team with the money and clout to land big name players, not to mention a team that big name players actually want to come to!
That being said, I am very confused about a few things. Last year when we acquired Lee, everyone was happy because we got a Cy Young winner without having to give up many prospects that were the keys to the future of the Phillies. It seemed that we had gotten a much better deal than if we had acquired Halladay. Now, all of a sudden, we get Halladay and end up giving away many of those same prospects that we wanted to keep last year.
It appears to me that what's been happening is that Ruben Amaro is addicted to his own success, if that makes any sense. He's made so many correct moves in the past few years that perhaps he feels a bit invincible. It seems that he made this Halladay trade simply for the sake of making a trade. Maybe he spent too many years hearing Phillies fans complain that the team didn't make big trades or sign big players, and now he is overcompensating.
I realize that they wanted the security of locking up Halladay for several years, as opposed to the one more year that Lee was apparently going to give us. But at what cost to the good will of the fans? Lee was an instant smash in our town and got us to the World Series, and what thanks does he get? We trade him. Perhaps this entire situation is not really specific to the Phillies. It's really indicative of the way baseball is run today. It's a business and it's all about the money. Players do not have real loyalty to any one team any more, and vice versa. Think about Mike Schmidt playing his entire career with the Phillies. That will never happen again.
I am sure Halladay will be great. If Hamels can rebound from his sub-par 2008, the Phils will have an excellent one-two punch at the top of their rotation. But the bullpen is still a big question mark; will the team be able address that issue now that they have spent all this money on Halladay and traded away more prospects? And what about their #5 starter? This whole deal really seems to generate more questions than answers.