One More Time, With Feeling

The time has finally come for Blue Jay fans; Roy Halladay will soon depart Toronto for greener pastures in the National League.  Leaving Toronto, Roy will pack up his family and crate them down to beautiful Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – the next destination for my annual ballpark roadtrip.  

If you’re reading my blog and you haven’t heard of this already you’re likely living under a rock.  For the crag dwellers, here are the details of the deal as reported by various sites:

Seattle gets:
Cliff Lee

Philadelphia gets:
Roy Halladay
RHP Phillippe Aumont
OF Tyson Gillies
Player to be named later
Assistance with Halladay’s 2010 salary from Toronto

Toronto gets:
RHP Kyle Drabek
OF Michael Taylor
C Travis D’Arnaud

There are numerous ways to discuss this deal.  I am going to touch on a couple.  Namely, how this deal impacts Philadelphia and how this deal impacts Toronto.

Philadelphia has received the pitcher who many consider to be at least the best in the American League, if not the best pitcher in the Major Leagues altogether.  Roy Halladay, who has dominated the big bats of the AL East (notable excellence against the Yankees, with a winning percentage above .750) stands to pitch even better against the senior league’s sluggers.  Roy Halladay is a lock for NL Cy Young contention and is a better pitcher than Cliff Lee, whom the Phillies let go to Seattle for Halladay.  Some may argue that Lee and Halladay are a wash due to their comparable numbers as of late, but Halladay gets the significant nod for pitching in the AL East, completing so many games, improving his strikeout numbers and for a decade of consistency. 

The Phillies will miss two of their top prospects in Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek.  This may hurt down the line, but the loaded Phillies are committed to win right now and they are taking the right steps to do it.   Teams who are looking to rebuild need prospects to develop and fill holes.  The Phillies have hardly any holes, at least none that Drabek or Taylor could fill in the near future, and as such this was an excellent move on their behalf.

The move is more complex to analyze from the Blue Jays perspective.  The Jays will enter the 2010 season without a a real superstar.  With Rios gone and Vernon Wells lagging there is nobody, aside from maybe Aaron Hill, to be a moral and statistical leader of the team.  This will hurt both the locker room and ticket sales – which are bad regardless.  As for the effect that Halladay’s departure will have on the team’s success, I’m less worried.  Halladay had become, as a result of JP Riccardi’s ineptitude, an unnecessary luxury on an otherwise underachieving ball club.    

The future, however, is bright in Toronto for the first time in years.  While it is still to early to tell if D’Arnaud is destine for greatness, Drabek and Taylor are stars in the making.  The 6’6″ Taylor is both quick and good with the bat.  In the least he’ll be a high average corner outfielder.  At best he’ll be a massive homerun hitter – he has shown significant power in the low level minors.  To develop more fully Taylor will have to watch his weight and follow the guidance of his coaches to maximize his potential.  Drabek on the other hand may be ready soon.  He has dominated all levels of minor league batting and is poised to develop into a strikeout machine.  One or both of these men may lead the Blue Jays into the next decade.

For the time being Toronto fans are asked to do what they have been doing for far to long; be patient.  The new GM, however, seems committed to rebuild the team the right way in developing the farm team with high potential prospects.  I can’t remember the last time I said something truly positive about a Blue Jays GM.     



  1. raysrenegade

    Ironically, Halladay will only have a short commute now to Clearwater from his home in Dunedin this Spring Training.
    But his move to the National League takes a big burden of the Jays pitching staff with him.
    I know the Rays did have a bit of the Halladay formula in recent years, but still, the thought that he might win against us and put a series win up early always struck fear in the AL East.
    This division did not get easier with the departure of Halladay, but it did give every team a chance to breathe again.
    But with the bevy of throwers sitting in the Jays system, hopefully it is only reloading time.

    Rays Renegade

  2. Byrne

    UPDATE: ESPN.COM Reports that the Blue Jays are planning to flip Michael Taylor, who is close to major league ready, to Oakland for young, promising corner infield prospect Brett Wallace.

    Rays Renegade: Good take on the Halladay effect. What with him on our team all this time I often forget how he must have made opposing teams and their fans feel – how many other pitchers in the past decade inspired such fear?

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