Dec 18, 2009

Phillies: Disbe "LEE" f & Happy Halladay's

So we all know that baseball is the worlds ultimate money sport. Teams have budgets and a lot of front office dealing, or in this case, misdealings are based on raw figures. If you pay attention to Philadelphia or pretty much national sports media you would already know that the Philadelphia Phillies made a blockbuster trade to secure Roy Halladay and in the same action sent current ace, and post season darling, Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners to "replenish the farm system" and cut down on payroll..

In his first public statement since the trade, now Mariners pitcher, Cliff Lee said that he was "shocked and dissapointed" that he will no longer being wearing the Phillies pinstripe. As a special guest on ESPN's Baseball Tonight  Lee stated that he planned on "being a Phillie for the rest of my career". He stated that the mentions that he and his agent Darek Braunecker made any type of salary or contract demands were false and that they merely made a contract counteroffer, which is normal for a player in the last year of a contract.

When being interviewed by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Lee's agent stated that "Since the end of the postseason, his intent was to remain there beyond next season. That's been the goal. Unfortunately, some circumstances transpired that we couldn't control."

This trade will make the Mariners the third team that Cliff Lee will be a member of in the last five months. Something that is not typical for a former Cy Young winner.
Lee's dissapointemnt was a somber note but did not seem to affect the feelings of the Philadelphia failthful as they welcomed the teams new ace Roy Halladay in a Wednesday press conference.Along with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Phillies new ace was welcomed to a rousing welcome in his introductary press conference at Citizens Bank Ballpark. Halladay seemed just as elated as Amaro who stated that this was a deal he had been working on for over two years.
In his press conference Roy Halladay was quick to show his enthusiasm to be a Phillie. "It was an easy decision for me. Once the opportunity came up for me to be part of this, it was something I couldn't pass up."
After all the smoke and applause cleared the final numbers of the deal were revealed. To make the deal final Halladay and the Phillies agreed to a three-year extension for an estimated $60 million dollars with a $20 million vesting option. Also the Phillies recieved $6 million from Toronto to help pay for Halladay's 2010 salary. As expected many highly touted prospects were a part of the deal including AA pitcher Kyle Drabek. Also included in the deal were utility fielder Michael Taylor and catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud.
Because of the loss of Drabek and Taylor as well as the loss of prospects Jason Donald and Lou Marson, whom were parts of the initial Cliff Lee deal, the Phillies felt it imperative to move Lee to Seattle to replenish their farm system..
Amaro felt that getting top prospects back into the Phillies system had to be a top priority. ``We have to keep young players coming into the system. We couldn’t leave the cupboard bare." On top of replenishing the farm system it made it pretty convenient that the Phillies desperately needed a salary dump.
It has been long standing public information that the Phillies, who have a history of a tight budget were refusing to allow Amaro to go over the $140 million mark for the season. This move kept the Phillies under budget but also left some question on how they could have kept the two former Cy Young winner on the same team.

Fans need to be aware of a few facts about the off-season aquisitions the Phillies have made. Their was high public scrutiny when the team offered a three-year $18 million dollar contract to Placido Polanco to become the Phillies new starting third baseman.
The Phillies payroll for this season is a pretty fastinating story. Daily News writer David Murphy did a really indepth analysis of where the Phillies money is going in his High Cheese column in todays issue.
Not saying that he dosent deserve it but a quick and easy way to keep Lee in a Phillies uniform could have involved Jamie Moyer. Now to understand this you have to ignore all the talk about reinfusing the farm system. The Phillies will pay Jamie Moyer an estimated $6.5 million dollars this season to a player that may or may not even be on the roster this season. Cliff Lee's contract was only going to cost the Phillies around $9 million. Now with this option that would have only made a difference of about $2.5 to $3 million dollars. Your telling me that the Phillies couldn't have eaten around $2 or $3 million to almost guarantee themselves the NL title. This team is practically printing money below Citizens Bank Park, there is no way they can be crying poor.
But hey I guess we gotta accept the numbers and move on. And now that I bring up the idea of numbers
Jon Marks had an interesing article on talking about how in sports it all about the money....
Now I am not a person that says the team needs to break the bank and spend Yankees style money but when you have the option to almost guarantee yourself a place in the fall classic then why cant you bend the rules a little bit.Just think about what the roation would look like if they would have been able to keep Lee. (just a little wishful thinking)
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. J.A. Happ
5. Joe Blanton
Now im sorry but that just makes me cringe a little bit of what the team could of had, but hey its all just wishful thinking. I think we all need to trust the front office because unlike most sports fans in the area their logical and future thinking is setting the team up to have the top pitcher in the league for the next four years if not more, now that is something to think about.
Not to mention from what has been posted online the team did get a good batch of prospects back into the Phillies farm system. Many people want to balk at the idea of passing up on a primetime pitcher to get "potential" but if there is one thing that the Phillies front office knows and that is how get prospects and turn them into all stars. Just look at the Phillies current roster and look at the players that have come out of the Phillies farm system.
Chase Utley 2b (farm system)
Ryan Howard 1b (farm system)
Jimmy Rollins SS (farm system)
Cole Hamels SP (farm system)
Shane Victorino OF (Rule 5 pickup from LA Dodgers)
J.A. Happ SP (farm system)
Ryan Madson RP (farm system)
Now I dont know about you but that is a pretty damn good bit of talent that this club has found through either drafts or pickups before they made the majors. If I was a betting man I would say that the Phillies know what they are doing when it comes to young talent.
The three minor leaguers the Phillies picked up in the deal for Lee were pitching prospect Phillippe Aumont outfielder Tyson Gilles and RHP Juan Ramirez.
Aumont is a 6'7" 200 pound right hander who is the #33 top ranked prospect in all of baseball. He was the 11th pick overall in the 2007 draft and is projected as a top of the roation ace. In his recent stints in the minor the Mariners organization tried to put him in a reliever position with 16 saves between his time in A and AA ball. He is similar to Drabek and is projected as a better talent then the picther we sent to Toronto for Halladay.
Tyson Gilles is a young raw outfielding prospect with loads of potential. He is only 20 years old and known in his time in the Desert League as the fastest person playing. He is a lot like Jimmy Rollins was in his younger years, he can create base hits with his speed and can be a threat on the base paths.
With the third pick in the Lee trade the Phillies got pitcher Juan Ramirez. He was the Mariners 25th overall selection in the 2006 MLB draft and spent most of his career so far in the teams Rookie league. He is really just raw un-developed and was put in to pretty much make the money fit.
Baseball is a money sport and seasons, roster and front office decision have to be made with the bottom line in mind and that is exactly what the phillies did in this instance. They knew they couldnt have both Halladay and Lee on the roster, but we all know that when Lee was picked up that he was a consolation prize cause a Halladay deal couldnt be made before the playoffs.
Ruben Amaro even said this was a deal he wanted for the last two years and when it became an option he made it happen. Not to mention the fact that he found the best player in baseball and a guy that was excited to come to Philadelphia. Fans should remember all the years of complaints from top players wanted to exit the city for greener pastures (Curt Shilling, Scott Rolen, J.D. Drew). For once the Phillies are on the other side of the spectrum and made a Cy Young winner upset to leave the city of brotherly love.
Oh how things have changed....

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