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Halladay for Lee Analysis - A Trade Full of Prospects
Michael Ryan,

By now you may have heard of a recent little trade involving two former Cy Young winners, four teams, and seven other players.

The trade breaks down like this:

The Philadelphia Phillies get Roy Halladay, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and Juan Ramirez.

The Toronto Blue Jays get Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis d'Arnaud.

The Seattle Mariners get Cliff Lee.

The Oakland Athletics get Michael Taylor.

If you’re looking for in-depth analysis of the value of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, you’re at the wrong site. The quick version is that both were very good with their former teams and both will be very good with their new teams (or with any team, really).

The prospects involved in the deals are the fun part of this trade and will be the focus of the article. Let’s go team by team and take a look at what they got (and what they gave up).

Philadelphia Phillies

The defending National League champs sure have been busy lately. First they fleeced the Indians in a deal to acquire Cliff Lee in July, whom they have now flipped to Seattle to clear room to trade for the ace that they had coveted from the beginning, Roy Halladay.

In exchange for Cliff Lee, the Phillies received pitchers Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez as well as outfielder Tyson Gillies from Seattle. Aumont, 20, is the most intriguing player in this part of the deal. He was moved from starter to reliever while in the Seattle organization and we will have to wait and see what Philly decides to do with him. Either way he is a high strikeout pitcher who needs to work on his command, and I don’t expect we will see him before September in 2010.

Ramirez is a solid but raw talent and could also be used in relief or as a starter. He doesn’t have the upside that Aumont brings but could be a solid middle rotation starter (for an elite team) in a couple years’ time.

Tyson Gillie is fast. Very fast. Last season he stole 44 bases in 124 games in the High-A California League. Unfortunately, he also was caught stealing 19 times which suggests that he needs to work on the craft more rather than just relying on his speed. He doesn’t project for much power but did have a nice walk rate and is a good enough defender that he could be Philly’s future center fielder. Don’t expect to see him with the big club until at least 2011, however.

Philadelphia had one of the best farm systems before the trades (Baseball America recently ranked them fourth, even after the deal to acquire Cliff Lee) and now I feel they are middle of the pack at best. The talent they got from Seattle for Lee helps fill their depleted farm system somewhat but they still have gone from an elite system to an average one as a result of the trades.

I personally would rather have Cliff Lee and a top farm system than Roy Halladay and one top prospect, but I’m a fantasy baseball writer, not a major league GM.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays finally succumbed to the inevitable and dealt their long-time ace, Roy Halladay. While the Doc’s pitching days in Canada are over, the Blue Jays did receive a nice package of prospects from the Phillies in return.

Dealing Halladay to the defending NL champs netted them starting pitcher Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, and outfielder Michael Taylor. They then immediately flipped Taylor to Oakland for third base prospect Brett Wallace, whom I’ll cover first.

This is Wallace’s third organization in less than half a year, as he was the gem of the Matt Holliday trade between Oakland and St. Louis. He is an elite bat with questionable (at best) fielding and few would argue that he is going to have to eventually move to first base (or even DH), possibly as soon as this season. Wallace raked in AAA last year, hitting .297 and .293 for both clubs, and could hit for decent average out of the gates in Toronto with some good power. He doesn’t quite have the upside of a Pedro Alvarez but he is a pretty safe bet to be a solid and complete hitter in the majors. His only big question mark is where he will play in the field. Wallace could be a nice sleeper in single season leagues and is a must own in keeper leagues.

Kyle Drabek was the top arm in the Phillies’ system and part of the reason a deal wasn’t completed at the July deadline. The former first round pick is a premier talent and will have to shoulder the burden of being the pitcher that replaced Roy Halladay in Toronto. A Tommy John “survivor,” Drabek was solid in AA Reading in 2009, compiling 2.45/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and less than one home run per nine innings. Unlike Wallace, this potential future ace needs more minor league seasoning and shouldn’t be expected until September at the earliest, if not at all in 2010. Drabek is one of the top pitching prospects in the minors and should be owned in long-term keeper leagues.

D’Arnaud won’t carry much fantasy relevance for a couple years, if at all. He is a solid defensive catcher who may develop some power as he matures but shouldn’t be on anyone’s radars for 2010.

Oakland Athletics

The A’s traded outfielder Matt Holliday to St. Louis before the deadline in 2009 and acquired Brett Wallace, who was expected to team up with top prospect Christopher Carter to be their power corner infielders of the future. Instead they acquired young third baseman Jake Fox from the Cubs (who is just as defensively challenged as Brett) and traded Wallace to Toronto in exchange for toolsy outfielder Michael Taylor.

Taylor, who could make Oakland’s Opening Day roster, combined to hit 20 homers and steal 21 bases while hitting .320 in AA and AAA in 2009. He is very athletic and, at 6 foot 6, 250 pounds, is a monster in the outfield. Playing Oakland could hurt his power potential and he may struggle initially but is another top prospect and worth owning in every long-term keeper league.

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