Happ Making His Case

happ 0720.jpgThe numbers are impressive.

J.A. Happ is 7-0 with a 2.68 ERA after he threw seven scoreless innings yesterday against the Marlins at Landshark Stadium. He is 5-0 with a 2.74 ERA in 11 starts since he replaced Chan Ho Park in the rotation.

Happ leads National League rookies in wins, ERA and opponents average (.222). He is second in innings (94). He is third in strikeouts (65). He is the only rookie to throw a shutout this season.

He is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate.

Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson (4-0, 2.85 ERA), Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee (.321, six homers, 27 RBIs), St. Louis’ Colby Rasmus (.270, 11, 34), Colorado’s Seth Smith (.305, 8, 25) and Los Angeles’ Ramon Troncoso (4-0, 1.70 ERA, nine holds) are a few rookies who can make claims for Rookie of the Year.

But Happ … he filled a huge void in the rotation for the defending World Series champions. His ERA is fourth best amongst all pitchers in the National League. Only Dan Haren (1.96 ERA), Tim Lincecum (2.27 ERA) and Matt Cain (2.32 ERA) are better. His opponents average is fifth best amongst all pitchers in the National League. Only Haren (.187), Clayton Kershaw (.193), Yovani Gallardo (.208) and Lincecum (.214) are better.

Of course, what makes Happ’s Rookie of the Year candidacy more interesting is that he could be included in a trade for Roy Halladay. If the Blue Jays insist on a young, Major League-ready starter — a starter they can control for the next several years — Happ is the guy.

The Phillies could use a guy like Happ in their rotation for the next several years.

The problem is they could use Halladay this year.


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I would not be okay with the Phillies trading Happ. I feel that with the addition of Pedro Martinez we have 5 solid starters for our team. I think getting rid of Happ would be a big mistake on Rueben’s part.

I think we need to come back down to Earth when it comes to Happ. He has started 11 games, only 2 of which have come against clubs currently over .500 (and one against the Bravos, who are right at .500)–@NYY and Bos. He pitched well against the Yankees–6 IN, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. But he didn’t pitch all that well against Boston–5.2 IN, 7 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 3 K, and 3 home runs! I’m not saying he’s garbage or anything, but let’s not pretend that this is the next coming of Steve Carlton. In the long run, he’s going to be a good 3rd or 4th starter, and that’s it. Don’t give the Jays both Happ and Drabek, but if the deal is Happ or bust, trade them Happ and don’t think twice about it.

I go to a lot of Blue Rocks games, and I was in Wilmington on Saturday and saw Danny Duffy pitch. He’s a 20-year old prospect who pitched in the futures game. Nice fast ball, changes speeds and appears to be working on a change-up. He pitched 7 innings and struck out 7, and basically, the Frederick Keys never got close to him.
While I was watching the game, I thought about Kyle Drabek, who most of us have never seen throw a baseball, and I figured that Drabek and Duffy probably have a lot in common, other than Kyle’s arm surgery.
I figured, if I was the GM of the Royals and the Blue Jays wanted Duffy to be included in a deal for Halladay, I’d help Danny pack his bags and wish him luck. Mostly because it’s so difficult to judge pitching prospects (I also saw Glendon Rusch be un-hittable down there years ago) and partly because their value may never be higher. If a team is willing to gamble on somebody who may be 3 years away from the big leagues, I’d be willing to take a guy who might come along once in a lifetime.
I just can’t understand all the debate over something that seems so cut and dried.

At this point in time, with all we’ve seen of Happ, and heard about Drabek, the question needs to be addressed. Who do/should we keep between them.

In Drabek’s favor: Better natural talent. Proven ability to face adversity and overcome it (Tommy John Surgery). Projection as top of rotation pitcher. More years until Arbitration/FA

In Happ’s favor: Proven ability to handle himself in majors. Willingness to do whatever the team needs (bullpen to start the season and he did it well). 7-0 this year with a sub 3.00 ERA

Against Drabek: He’s never thrown a inning in AAA, not to mention the big leagues. He’s post Tommy John surgery and his arm may not be able to stand up to the innings required of a top of rotation starter.

Against Happ: possible Kendrick’s syndrome (the players learn your wind-up and the second time around the league is your last). projected as mid of rotation guy (though he’s pitching like the Ace right now), will reach arbitration/FA at least 1 1/2 years sooner.

Decision? IMHO-go with the proven guy, deal he prospect. I remember too many pitchers who never made it out of AAA, though they were hyped as the second coming of Cy Young.

mpaulaus was on point. Love Happ and the way he’s pitching, but he’s not untouchable. I would have a problem trading BOTH Happ and Drabek though.

If we can trade Drabek, Taylor, Marson and Donald for Halladay, I pull the trigger in a second. I do believe Happ will come down to earth at some point and become more of a middle of the rotation starter, but he is helping the team now and I would like to keep him out of this trade if possible. The only problem we would have if we trade prospects and nobody from our major league rotation, is that we’d have six starters once Pedro is ready to go. That would be a good problem to have though!

I would even include Brown if we had to. I have seen these prospects play and they look great, but you have to give up value to get value. It’s that simple.

I do wonder, if the trade does not include a guy in the rotation, what becomes of Pedro? Hamels, Blanton, Moyer, Happ and Halladay is a formidable rotation.
Would they cut Pedro loose with his million bucks? If so, it would seem like a complete waste of time. That’s why I’d guess that any trade would have to include a guy from the current rotation.

We’d only have 5 starters. Pedro is in the minors. If we were willing to eat Jenkin’s and Eaton’s salary, surely we’d eat Pedro’s 1 milllion dollar salary, or keep him in the minors (DL him as a basket case) as a emergency reserve. You could also put him in pen as mid inning inning eater ala Park. Having too much pitching is a problem I’d gladly deal with.

phillyscott: You can not give up both Brown and Taylor. One of them either eplaces Ibanez when his contract’s up, or Werth if he goes GA after next year. Also, we need a 4th OF next year and Mayberry just doesn’t seem to be it.

When I read this blog, I have to wonder if people really understand how good Roy Halladay is. Well, this is not an abberation. THIS is who Roy Halladay is…….


f.i.j.: The reason they had to put Pedro on the DL is because he wouldn’t sign a minor league deal. He wouldn’t settle for staying in the minors.
He’d probably be unhappy and doesn’t expect to stay in the minors beyond a couple of weeks. They’d probably have to trade him to keep him from complaining.
He might be a middle-inning guy, but how many of those do you need? And who gets kicked out of the bullpen to make room for him?
If the Phils get Halladay, I see them trading a starter and possibly kicking Pedro to the curb.

IF they get haladay and manage to keep Happ then F##k Pedro. may him his cash and tell him to go sit on a beach somewhere.

Just saw where Todd is saying Toronto wants both Happ and Drabek. This is a deal breaker for me. I am reluctently willing to give up one, but no way I give up both

Let’s cut out the feces and cut to the chase. Is having Halladay for the remainder of this season worth Happ and two or three top tier prospects? There is no guarantee that the Phillies would have Halladay beyond the remainder of this season. Under the CBA, Halladay can demand a trade at the end of the season. And to add insult to injury, he would have veto power over to whom he could be traded. And if all of this isn’t bad enough, he would become a free agent if he is not traded. I have yet to hear any of the bloviaters here address this 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room.

Pherris: While you are correct, I have to assume that before the trade is finalized the Phillies would get a gurentee that he wouldn’t invoke his right to be a FA. As for the no trade clause, I have no problem, I can’t imagine wanting to trade him, and as we see now, he’s a reasonable man who understnands the business end of the game (unlike Peavy). The questino you want to ask is is 1 1/2 seasons of Halladay worth Happ + Drabek + all the others? I say no!! He’s worth either Happ or Drabek and all the others but not both

FIJ – I know they will need an outfielder when Ibanez is done his contract or if he falls off in production during his stint with the Phils. I don’t want to trade both Taylor and Brown, but would do it in a heartbeat for Halladay because there will always be free agent outfielders they can get. They obviously have the money, and it doesn’t even have to be a high priced guy. But I think the Phils (and us fans) can cross that bridge when we get there. In the meantime, Halladay gives us the best chance to win this year and hopefully next year.

pherrisphain – You are correct that he could do this, but if you read Zo’s blog on this, it is very unlikely to happen and only 1 player in the history of this rule being in effect has taken advantage of it. Halladay has stated he wants to win, and I believe the Phils give him that opportunity for at least the next couple of years.

I understand how good Halladay is, but if you look at what is happening now, you cannot go on what if’s…. Happ is pitching good and may turn into a really good starter, back in the ealy days of Halladay they thought he was going to be a bust after a couple of good years, but he bounced back, what if thats Happ… so you give Happ up who’s winning for another pitcher who’s winning no benefit, Happ should not be in the deal.
fij- it would be nice to get a guarentee that Halladay wouldn’t invoke his rights and go at the end of year, but I understand the Jays have put a no contract discussion on Halladay before any deal is done.
Over the weekend I understand Beeston, the jays interim Pres, said Halladay wouldn’t be going anywhere unless the Jays were “overwhemled”, so it’s sure he will be traded yet, I think the Jays are just trying to get to much and yesterdays game wwas nothing more than a commericial for Halladay
Outside the Phillies Looking In

Doomsayers aside, Halladay is worth whatever Toronto realistically wants from our system, including Happ and/or Drabek. Plus, he’ll finally be on a winner and would be far more likely to seek an extension than ask to be traded.
Again, look at what he did yesterday against the Red Sox. THAT is Roy Halladay. THAT is what I want in the first game of a playoff series.

phillyscott ……………..The point is not that only one similarly situated player has demanded a trade in the same situation. The point is Halladay can legally do it and therefore his trade value is considerably less especially in light of the reports that Toronto will not allow another team to hash out these issues before a trade. It is no wonder lawyers can make such a killing in this country as evident by those posting here who are emotional rather than rational.

Scott: you are right that we have money, but where would you want to put it; in maintaining as much of the core of this team as possible as their contracts expire or in bringing in a new OF when you currently contro the exclusive rights to 2 outstanding prospects for years at very cheap prices? As you said, trade one, not both

LOL!! pherris, it’s pretty funny that you are accusing others here of being emotional. The rational position would be to want Roy Halladay to be the lead for a playoff run. Instead you cry about clauses that are rarely invoked by rational people. It’s not like Roy Halladay would be going to a dysfunctional situation. He’d be going to the World F’ing Champions.

I know that your point was that Halladay could opt to demand a trade, but my point is that I think it’s pretty unlikely. I would like the Phils chances of retaining him at least through 2010. I don’t see where emotion comes into the equation, since we are all just speculating. None of us know Halladay and what he will do.

Last year it was, “We can’t trade Carrasco,” now I have to endure this Drabek drek. He’s a prospect.
Guys like Halladay come along once, maybe twice in twenty years. He pitches COMPLETE GAMES for chrissake. If you think Happ is going to be anything close to what Halladay is, you’re kidding yourselves. He’s still a prospect, as far as I’m concerned. He’s on a great roll, but so were a lot of guys.
All the Phillies have to do is put together a better package than the other teams, and that doesn’t seem to difficult, given what they have.
I don’t think there’s any debate at all.

phan52 ……………….Did I accuse you of being emotional? But, the tenor of your response only proves my point. And as is often said, if the shoe fits, wear it.

Wow, I would hate for us to face him!

Mule: AS I and many others have said, If the price for halliday is Drabek, or Happ, pull the trigger. If the price is both, pass.

phan52 – I think we all can understand the need for Halladay, but I also don’t believe it should be at any cost, as phillyscott, pointed out, we don’t know Halladay, most of all we don’t know what he’d be like in Philly, it’s all speculation that adding him gives us another WS title, or even a better chance than we have now. The “WHAT IF’s” are just too great to give away anything they want.. for example, WHAT IF.. he re-injures his groin on the first outing in Philly and is out till who knows when, WHAT IF.. he or his family hates the town and his emotional state makes him not as good on the mound, WHAT IF..we trade Happ and he’s the one to stop us from getting a WS title, this year or next year… the WHAT IF’s too many of them… glad it’s not my job to decide…

phan, muleman and f_i_j are ON POINT. I only hope that Ruben has as much sense as you two. Halladay is the whole reason you build a farm system. We’re talking about a top 5 MLB pitcher. There aren’t many of those around… (hint for Pherris, there are less than 6 of them).

pherris, the only shoe that fits you is a clown shoe. That said, devilabrit, you have it all wrong. The ‘what-ifs’ are all the players that you all don’t want to trade. There are no ‘what-ifs’ about Roy Halladay. He is a consensus top 2-3 pitcher in major league baseball and, at his current rate, is going to the HOF. He’s a professional, through and through and is the definition of an ‘ace’, something we don’t have. And in any speculation about the future of Happ, remember that the Red Sox traded Hanley Ramirez (and that is just for ilumination; comparing Happ to him is a reeeeeal stretch). I don’t think they are looking back with regret. You have to give to get.
And BTW, I never said to give anything they want. A reasonable deal would need to be negotiated. But there should be NO untouchables. Frankly, the only untouchable in this discussion should be Roy Halladay. I am shocked that the Jays are even considering it. Guys like him are hard to come by.

phan52……………Let’s make this perfectly clear, the Bloviators to whom I alluded to in my previous post should have been singular, and that would be you.

Well, Halladay isn’t untouchable for the Jays because they’re not competing this year or next and they don’t have enough revenue to sign him to a long-term deal. Besides that, I agree through and through.

If being a Bloviator = thinking pherris has no idea what he’s talking about, please add me to the list.

Well zach, pherris is peerless in his ‘bloviation’ on this blog. Tiresome, to say the least. Sorry if anybody else took offense.

How about we keep this to debating the prospects we will or wont’ trade to get halliday? No point in badmouthing each other. If people like Pherris and Phan weren’t posting, this would be a pretty boring blog.

So let’s not make any personal assinine comments.

zach58………I have no idea? The Phillies trade four or five top tier prospects and/or a major league player for a player who can legally walk at the end of the season and I do not know what I am talking about? Buddy, you have now entered that august group known as the Bloviators, congradulations and welcome.

Pherris: again, let us refer you to Todd’s post which addressses this/ I quote, “But don’t panic. Players rarely invoke that right. Javier Vazquez requested a trade from the Diamondbacks in 2005, but no other player who has invoked that right immediately comes to mind.

I think this clause is in the back of the Phillies’ minds, but I also don’t think it’s scaring them away. From everything I’ve heard, the Phillies are a leading candidate to land Halladay. They don’t seem to be pulling back. They seem to be pushing forward. That is why the Blue Jays are heavily scouting the Phillies’ farm system these days.

Halladay also sounds like man who wants to play for a winner. I’m not sure why he would not want to stay in Philadelphia if he gets traded here. But it’s just another interesting consideration as the Phillies try to bring him aboard.”

Relax, bro. he ain’t goin’ to pull this stunt. he’s not a Boras client

Speaking of ‘bloviation’, where did anybody suggest trading 4-5 ‘top-tier’ prospects? I would like to know who you project as a ‘top-tier’ prospect.
But any deal for Halladay will require a minimum of two of the Phillies ‘top-tier’ prospects. I don’t include players like Marson, Donald or Carrasco in that definition and I would not hesitate to add them onto any deal, if necessary. They are pieces, not dealmakers or dealbreakers. Even if they ended up as All-Stars (speculating), they should not stand in the way of a Halladay deal.

All that said, it ain’t happening. Halladay is too good to trade at this stage of his career. Yesterday was a case-in-point.

As todd says, it’s worth keeping in the back of one’s mind, but not to become obsesive about

f.i.j.: Drabek is nothing. He’s a prospect. There are a lot of them. If you wouldn’t trade Drabek and Happ for Halladay, you’re saying that you wouldn’t trade Happ for Halladay, and that’s just nuts.
God, I’m so sick of this nonsense. Can they just trade him already so we can move on to talk about actual baseball? This is wearing thin.

f-i-j…………Your points are well taken. But just this morning Buster Olney on ESPN indicated that the Phillies interest in Halladay is waning because of their recent success. And the point I have been trying to drive home is that you need more to consumate a deal probably worth tens of millions of dollars than a feeling that Halladay will do this or do that. Who cares if players rarely invoke the contract provision we are talking about. The fact remains Halladay can do so. And, the question remains, how much does this reduce his trade value and how do the Phillies protect themselves from him doing so. The easy answer is that they offer less not that they do not make an offer. And the price of offering more is more cooperation on Toronto’s part in resolving theses issues. It is called negotiation and for all we know it is exactly what is going on now.

Phan: Halliday will be traded assuming the Jays get the deal they want. He’s a FA next year and his value will not be anywhere near as much then. THe Jays know they have no chance of resigning him, even if he gives them a home team discount. The Jays figure that this way they get more then the 2 1st round draft choices. They want to get at least those choices, but in players who are ready to start now, or next year, as apposed to in 3-4 years if they drafted them after next season. They also want a few other throw ins.

Figure it is going to cost, as has been posted so many times the past week or two, Drabek or Happ, Taylor or Brown, and 2-3 players like Marson, Donalds, Knapp, etc.

I just hope before they thow most of the money and prospects at the Jays for halladay they have at least reviewed other options… maybe they could call Cleveland see if they’ll dump Lee a year early, probably get him cheaper than Halladay. I know Cleveland say he’s untouchable, but we all know what that really means…

think about this from the Phillies perspective…

Let’s just say the trade is:

Taylor or Brown

for Halladay

Donald or the Taylor/Brown duo does not have a place on the current phillies roster for many years to come. The phillies just had the entire outfield go to the all star game. Werth is 30 years old and has every tool you could want, power, speed, great defense. Victorino is obviously a gold glove outfielder and his offense has been terrific this year. Then there is Ibanez, who without Pujols is the NL MVP this year. Understanding that he is 37 and will be signed through 2011 there is no reason t0 hang on to BOTH of these outfielders. As for Donald, the Jays are looking for a shortstop of the future and he is just that. I know Rollins is a free agent after next season, but i don’t see him going anywhere, as we’ve seen these past few weeks, as he goes the phillies go. As for Drabek, a guy who can either be GOD or a bust, he is not totally needed on this team. If the top of your rotation is Hamels and Halladay, with Happ and Blanton followed by either a Moyer/Martinez or any of the DOZENS of pitching prospects, Drabek isn’t that necessary to continue success for years to come, Happ is, because he is currently 7-0 and has the 4th best ERA in the NL. This team cannot win this year without Happ, and certainly can without Drabek. Ruben, get this deal done, but DO NOT TRADE HAPP. He is too important for the present and future.

Look at Gavin Floyd’s numbers this year, I’m not too heartbroken.

Kendrick had ROY consideration a couple years ago when he won 10 games as a rookie. Now, he was not as impressive as Happ this year, but he was a winning Major League pitcher for a short time – now look where he is. Happ isn’t overpowering, so it makes me wonder about him in a few years, but then again somebody like Glavine was not overpowering either. I’d hate to see another Floyd for Garcia disaster, but trading for Halliday is a no-brainer. The club has won 2 championships in 100+ years, so having the chance to win back-to-back is here and now and they must do everything to make it possible and the current rotation won’t get it done.

I don’t think Cliff Lee comes close to Roy Halladay, and I would offer far less. In fact, I wouldn’t make the offer at all. He has had one very good year and one outstanding season. Very inconsistent, and they are the same age.
The only other guy out there even close who could possibly be on the market is Oswalt, but Houston is hanging around the periphery of a mediocre division, and their owner isn’t hurting for money so Oswalt’s contract is probably not an issue.

Halladay or bust.

There are major differences between Kendrick and Happ. Kendrick had a high ERA and amazing run support. Happ has a sub 3.00 ERA and has shown maturity beyond his years. Kendrick had only two pitches (Fast and sinker) while Happ has a fast, curve and change. Kendrick jumped straight from AA to the majors (kind of like Bastardo) while Happ had a season of AAA and some spot starts last year in the majors. In short, happ, while not top of rotation material is the real deal and is in the majors to stay

f-i-j, one question. What do you want at the top of the rotation for the next season and a half (and maybe beyond):

Halladay, Hamels or Hamels, Happ?

I want an rotation next year of hamels, Halliday, happ, Blanton and either Moyer or Rookie. I don’t want, (and am a bit scared of) a rotation of Hamels, Halliday, Blanton, Drabek + another rookie.

stoptakingoutpat: Rollins is a FA after 2011. He has a team option after next year and there is no reason it won’t be picked up

You didn’t answer my question. I asked who you would want in the two top spots in the rotation, out of those two choices. You can’t have Happ and Halladay. One or the other, along with Hamels..

And BTW, if Halladay and Hamels are in the same rotation, Halladay is at the top.

At least you agree that Halladay/Hamels is better than Hamels/Happ. But you have far too many caveats in your decision making in order to make a deal. You can’t be scared to get a guy like Halladay.

If Halliday and Hamels are in the same rotation Halliday is the #1, but I still think they’d give hamels the start opening day. If Toronto is demanding Happ I make the deal. I dont make the deal, however, if they want BOTH happ and Drabek. That’s what I said before, and what I’m saying now. The Phillies need a rotation ready pitcher for next year to be the number 3-4 guy along with Hamles, Haliday, Blanton and Moyer (assuming Jamie is back) I’d still ratehr trade Drabek as he has never thrown a pitch in the big leagues, but for Haliday I will trade happ. However, if I can get Lee, Haren, or perhaps Duke and keep Happ, I may make that deal instead depending on the other prospects involved

Why did my last post transpose in front of f-i-j’s? It was meant as a response to his post, but is now in front of it. Weird.

IT happens eery now and then with this system. It’s called back to the future bloggin’

it’s definately weird how it does that sometimes….I’d give up Drabek and keep Happ, if were going to do this in a back to back, we need rotation now, and adding someone else to loose someone out of the rotation doesn’t make sense to me, yeah we just got Martinez, but he’s unproven this year, and I think Lopez is on a short leash as a starter…
Definately would like to see Halladay, Hamels, Happ….Moyer, Blanton..


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