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The Latest Reaction to the Halladay Trade Rumors

By: Evan Flamm

Of course the stats look rather impressive. 11-3 for a meager team, with a 2.62 ERA and 4 complete games. Roy Halladay would be the perfect fix to the leaky rotation that has been the Phillies of late. He is a big righty who eats up innings from the bullpen and the type of pitcher that makes each team on the Phillies schedule hope that they will miss his turn in the rotation. Also, his impressive ERA is somewhat inflated in comparison to National League pitchers as the DH spot creates more runs and he faces the hefty line-ups of the American League East like the Red Sox, Yankees, and (formerly the Devil) Rays. Trading for such a special player seems like a no-brainer, until you see what they are requesting in return for a yearly Cy Young candidate.

J.P. Ricciardi, the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, is looking for a king's ransom in return for his top-of-league starter. He is simply asking for the gem of the Phillies farm system, Kyle Drabek, an emerging starter in J.A. Happ, and the best position player Dominic Brown. Brown wouldn't be such a stinging loss, since the Phils have solid prospects like Michael Taylor and John Mayberry Jr. in the outfield. The real pain the Phillies may feel if they pull the trigger on this excessive demand may be their future rotation, rather then their immediate rotation.

Essentially, the Phillies would trade two mainstays in their projected rotation in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Each starting pitcher will have his contract expire within the next 3 years, with such players as Hamels and Blanton looking for big raises. Although the team will probably attempt to keep Hamels, if not both pitchers for multiple years, the money committed to their salaries must be off-set by cheap talent, such as Happ and certainly Drabek will be in those seasons. Why risk future success by throwing all the eggs in one basket and hoping the next two seasons yield at least one more World Championship?

The final aspect that most Baseball Analysts fail to realize is that Happ has been the BEST and MOST RELIABLE starter for the Phillies this season. Although Hamels is the ace, he has been fairly inconsistent, and Blanton has finally turned the corner as he continues to pitch well in July. But, Happ's numbers cannot lie as he sports 7-1 record with a 2.97 ERA. His numbers look comparable to Halladay's in a sense, but Halladay is surely better in terms of pitching deep into games, carrying a team, and experience. The question is- why spend so much for Roy Halladay when J.A Happ has been a great alternative with a low salary, and has a chip on his shoulder as he attempts to prove he deserved to start the season as a starter?

Simply put, the Phillies should back off the demands for Roy Halladay. Two excellent pitching prospects are not expendable when attempting to win in the future and even today. Even if the Phillies must part ways with Drabek, they should hold onto Happ and develop him into another possible ace in the rotation.

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