A trade may be in the works that would bring 32-year-old right-handed pitcher and former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Maybe you’ve heard.
Speculation abounds, but the best guess at this point seems to be that the Phillies will get Halladay, cash and some prospects. The Seattle prospects the Phillies get may include right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies.
The Phillies may trade away Cliff Lee and some combination of players that could include Michael Taylor, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and JA Happ. It has also been speculated that the Phillies would also need to trade Joe Blanton to clear away payroll.
Nobody seems to know for sure. We’re going to have to wait and see what happens.
I think we do know these things, however:
- Both pitchers have been very good over their careers, but Halladay has been better than Lee.
- Lee was outstanding for the Phillies in the post-season last year. Halladay has never pitched in the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine that he could contribute more than Lee did in 2009.
- Lee has the much better contract for 2009, but Halladay appears to be more willing to sign an extension to pitch for the Phillies beyond 2010 than Lee.
Again, we’re going to have to wait and see what if anything happens. Halladay is fantastic, but so is Lee. And Drabek or Taylor or Happ is a lot of talent to trade away. Hopefully the price for the opportunity to pay Halladay $20 million a year or more in 2011 and beyond isn’t too steep.
In other less dramatic news, the Phillies did not offer a contract to Clay Condrey before Saturday’s deadline, but will be bringing back his fellow right-handed reliever Chad Durbin. Here’s what the two have done for the Phils over the past two seasons:
And here are the rates the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:
Condrey gave up more hits and Durbin walked batters more regularly. Durbin had a monster walk rate last year. His rate of allowing hits per 100 plate appearances was better than any pitcher on the team except for Eyre and Romero. He walked way too many, though, his rate of walks per 100 plate appearances was the worst of any Phillies pitcher except for Romero.
There’s no question that Condrey had the better 2009 of the two. Durbin held opponents to a .220 batting average against, but walked 47 in 69 2/3 innings and posted a ratio of 1.48 for the year. While Condrey was solid in both 2008 and 2009, Durbin’s 2008 was the best of the two years for either of the two. Durbin was outstanding in 2008. He faded a bit in the second half but threw 52 1/3 innings with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in the first half of that year and was a stabilizing force in a very good Phillies bullpen as the Phils won it all.
Over the past three years, Durbin has seen the rate at which he’s allowing hits decrease and the rate at which he’s walking batters increase dramatically. It’s certainly great to see him allowing fewer hits, but he’s going to have a hard time being successful if he continues to walk batters at his ’09 levels.
The bottom line for me on this one is that I’m a little disappointed that the Phillies will not be bringing Condrey back. The reasoning was no doubt that he had pitched well enough in recent years that he would have been given a pretty significant raise in 2010 had the Phillies offered him a contract. I don’t think it was a mistake to bring back Durbin, but I think the Phillies are going to wind up paying him more than someone else will be paying Condrey and there’s a good chance that Condrey will have a better year.