There are rumors going around that the Phillies will go after Indians LHP Cliff Lee if they can't get Roy Halladay from Toronto, and there have been Phillies fans who have been saying that they should give up on Halladay and go for Lee. Some of them feel that Lee is just as good as Halladay, which I find completely laughable. How can I say that? Look at the career stats:
Halladay: 142-69, 3.45 ERA, 1410 Ks, 440 BB, 44 career CG
Lee: 83-48, 4.01 ERA, 826 Ks, 322 BB, 10 career CG
Yes, Cliff Lee won the Cy Young Award last year in a career year, but so did John Denny when he had a career year in 1983, and I wouldn't have chosen him over Nolan Ryan if I was making a deal in 1984. Halladay is only a year older than Lee, and both their current contracts expire at the end of the 2010 season. And need I remind everyone that Halladay's numbers are as good as they are despite pitching in the AL East, which has arguably been the best division in baseball this decade (Doc is 59-30 vs. the AL East, BTW). Cleveland is reportedly seeking the same type of package for Lee that Toronto wants for Halladay, which is insanity, as Toronto's asking too much for Halladay.
Now, would I give up everything that Toronto's asking for to get Doc? No. Personally, I'd rather keep Drabek over Happ. I'd package Happ and Carrasco, along with Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown. (I honestly don't know which OF I'd rather keep, as I've heard great reports about both.) If J.P. Ricciardi thinks that he'll get more for Halladay by waiting until the offseason, or the trade deadline next year, I want some of what he's smoking, cuz it's gotta be good. The only possible way that he gets more by waiting is by agreeing to trade Halladay contingent on his forgoing free agency to sign an extension with his new team, which means that it'd have to be a really big contract--Yankee or Red Sox-big.
I understand people's fear of trading good prospects away--after all, who's had moves like that blow up in their faces more than the Fightin's? And I'd also feel a lot better if the Phillies signed him to an extension rather than lose him at the end of next season. Like I said, I wouldn't give up everything for Halladay (or anyone else for that matter), and I'm generally against trades like this as the best way to build an MLB team that can win championships and be a contender year-in-and-year-out is to build through the farm system, and plug holes through trades, waivers, the Rule 5 draft, and free agency. But this isn't 2005 anymore, where the core pieces of this team are just falling into place, and we were in the middle of like a 5-year stretch of just missing out on a playoff spot by a couple of games. The Phils' time is NOW. They're the defending champions, and the core of this team is in its prime and under contract for the next few years. The one glaring weakness on this team in 2009 (aside from Jimmy Rollins' ugly first half) has been pitching. Yes, they've pitched a lot better over the past few weeks, but which is the REAL staff: the pitchers who have come alive during the last month, or the pitchers who couldn't make it through the 5th inning during the first quarter of the season? Hamels has said that he's felt the pressure to step up and be the stopper, and it's affected his pitching in a mostly negative way. Getting Halladay here would not only take the pressure off Hamels to be the stopper, it could let him learn how to become an ace. As much as Jamie Moyer has helped Hamels develop as a pitcher, that's one area that he can't help as Moyer has never been that guy.
But if the Phillies DO decide to give up on Halladay because the Blue Jays want too much, yes, I'd go after Lee to help shore up the pitching staff--but at a much lower price than what I'd give up for Halladay. I'd say Carrasco, Jason Donald, and Taylor or Brown. No more.
P.S. Thank God Erik Bedard is back on the DL and not coming here. That would've been worse than Adam Eaton (since they would've been giving up players instead of just money). Bedard doesn't have the mental makeup to pitch in Philly. Not to mention the fact that part of the reason that Toronto's asking so much is that they want to fleece the Phillies the same way the Orioles ripped off Seattle in the Bedard deal (getting Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, and 2 other pitchers).