Tag: Travis d’Arnaud

The doctor is in

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are among the elite pitchers in baseball, but there’s no question that Halladay has had the better career to this point. Halladay is less than a year and a half older than Lee, but has thrown 850 more innings than Lee. His innings have been better, too, as the numbers Halladay has put up overall are simply better than Lee’s.

Lee had a miserable 2007 season. He strained his groin in spring training and things got worse from there. He ended the year with a 6.29 ERA. He was fantastic in 2008 as he won the AL Cy Young award. Even over the last two years, though, Halladay has been better. Here’s what the two did in ’08 and ’09 combined:

  IP ERA Ratio
Halladay 485 2.78 1.09
Lee 455 2.89 1.18

That includes 2009, when Lee pitched about 35% of his innings in the National League.

Halladay has certainly been more the more consistent of the two. Lee has had two disastrous seasons out of the past six — 2007 and 2004. Halladay was awful over 67 2/3 innings in 2000, but that’s the only year of his career he’s put up an ERA+ under 115.

Here’s the rate at which the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over their careers:

  H/100 BB/100 XBH/100 (2B+3B)
/100
HR/100
Halladay 23.7 5.4 6.8 4.7 2.0
Lee 24.1 6.5 8.0 5.4 2.6

Halladay comes out ahead in all five categories.

It tightens up a little if you just look at the last two years. Important to remember is that Halladay has had five seasons in which he threw 100 innings or more with an ERA+ that was better than his ERA+ the year that he won the Cy Young award (2003). Lee’s Cy Young came in 2008 and he hasn’t had another year that was nearly as good. Here are their rates for the same five categories for the past two years:

  H/100 BB/100 XBH/100 (2B+3B)
/100
HR/100
Halladay 23.3 3.8 6.6 4.5 2.1
Lee 24.7 4.1 6.5 4.9 1.6

Halladay still was better at preventing hits and walks, but did allow home runs at a slightly higher rate than Lee.

One obvious difference between the two pitchers is that Halladay is right-handed and Lee is a lefty. It’s Halladay that’s been the better of the two against lefties over his career, though. They’ve both been good, but Halladay has held lefties to a puny 240/270/377 line while lefties have hit slightly better, 268/309/405, against Lee. Halladay, as you would expect, has been better against righties (278/305/389 compared to 262/318/415 against Lee).

The series of moves that brings Halladay to Philadelphia and sends Lee to Seattle are done. First the Phillies traded Lee to the Mariners for right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and JC Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies. The Phillies then traded Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud to the Blue Jays for Halladay and $6 million.

The article linked above says that Halladay has signed a three-year extension that will make Halladay a Phillie through at least 2013. Halladay will make $20 million a year for three years after making $15.75 million in 2010.

It’s great to have Halladay on the team. If he’s not the best pitcher in baseball he’s definitely in the conversation. The frustrating thing, of course, is that the Phillies were unwilling to keep Lee for 2010 given how reasonable his contract was. When you think back to how much the Phillies have paid Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton not to play in recent years, and how much they will be paying Moyer to play this year, the failure to keep Lee for reasons that seem to be purely financial is even a little more frustrating. The prospects the Phillies traded away are better and more likely to contribute at the big league level in the next few years than the ones they got back. It’s great to have Halladay for three more years, but if you’re willing to pay your ace $20 million a year you’ve got a really good chance to get someone fantastic.

On the other hand, the Phillies are better today than they were before the trade. Halladay seems to clearly want to be in Philadelphia. He would have gotten a much better contract somewhere else if he had waited. If you’re willing to pay your ace $20 million you’re going to get someone really good, but you’re not going to get Halladay to sign a short three-year contract.


Halladay shopping

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:

  IP ERA Ratio
Condrey 111 3.16 1.40
Durbin 157 1/3 3.55 1.39

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:

  H BB XBH 2B+3B HR
Condrey 25.6 6.9 7.3 5.2 2.1
Durbin 20.2 12.1 5.6 3.7 1.9

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.


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