Results tagged ‘ Kyle Drabek ’

The Price for the Phillies Rotation

lee is back.jpg

Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week he expects Joe Blanton to remain with the Phillies this season, which means the guy the Phillies slated to be their No. 3 starter in 2010 is their No. 5 starter in 2011. It shows just how much has changed in a year. The Phillies shipped 13 prospects and committed more than $255 million in salaries to have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Blanton in the same rotation at the same time.

I know the Phillies traded away Lee in Dec. 2009, which remains a regrettable trade. But if the Phillies had not traded for Lee the first time and had he not enjoyed his experience here, he would not have taken less money to sign with the Phillies in December. He would have signed with the Yankees or Rangers instead.

Here is a look at the prospects the Phillies traded to make this rotation:

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ROY HALLADAY

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud. MLB.com ranks him as the ninth-best catching prospect in baseball. Baseball America considers him the organization’s fourth-best prospect in its rankings. He certainly has the all-around skills to be a frontline catcher. In fact, including d’Arnaud in the Halladay deal gave the Phillies pause because of the dearth of catching depth in the organization and baseball.

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Halladay, Phillies Agree to Extension

It’s getting closer.

Roy Halladay could be putting on a Phillies uniform as early as tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies and Halladay have agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $60 million or more, which would keep him in red pinstripes through the 2013 season, sources said. Halladay is taking his physical Tuesday and could be announced at a news conference Wednesday.

The Blue Jays would send Halladay and $6 million to the Phillies for prospects Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud. The Phillies also would send Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez. ESPN.com reported that the Blue Jays will send Taylor to Oakland for Brett Wallace.

The Phillies got one of the best pitchers in baseball in Halladay. They also restocked their farm system by dealing Lee.

But that was not the only reason the Phillies traded Lee, who they acquired in July for four prospects. They also needed salary relief as their payroll approached $140 million. Lee will make $9 million next season. Add that to the $6 million the Blue Jays are sending to the Phillies for Halladay, who makes $15.75 million, and the Phillies’ payroll jumps only $750,000.

First baseman/outfielder Ross Gload also is taking his physical Tuesday. The Phillies agreed to a two-year contract with him last week.

Once the deals for Halladay, Lee and Gload are finalized, the Phillies are expected to continue their pursuit for bullpen help. Their top two targets are believed to be Fernando Rodney and John Smoltz.

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Roy, Cliff, Kyle and the Rest

Thumbnail image for halladay 04.jpgIf the Phillies and Roy Halladay can agree to a contract extension, here is what we believe could happen before the end of the week:

- The Blue Jays will send Halladay and a reported $6 million to the Phillies.

- The Phillies will send Cliff Lee to the Mariners, and a package to the Blue Jays that sources said includes right-hander Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

- The Mariners will send at least two prospects to the Phillies. One of them is expected to be right-hander Phillippe Aumont.

OK, thoughts?

Here are two things that Phillies fans should like: Halladay is a stud, a step above almost everybody in baseball. Lee pitched great in the postseason, but Halladay’s body of work pitching in the American League East is second to none. Halladay also will be in a Phillies uniform beyond 2010. The Phillies clearly felt Lee would not have been. So you guarantee yourself a stud pitcher atop your rotation for a few more years, rather than losing Lee after the season.

But they also could have kept both. If the Mariners are not sending prospects to Toronto, it means these are two totally separate trades. Essentially, the Phillies did not have to trade Lee to acquire Halladay. Of course, there is the issue of payroll. Lee is making $9 million next season, so this provides the Phillies salary relief. But Joe Blanton could make $7 million or more next season. I can’t imagine the Phillies are trading Lee over Blanton to save themselves roughly $2 million. No, it looks to me like the Phillies want Seattle’s prospects to restock their farm system. But is it worth it? Having Halladay and Lee in the same rotation is no guarantee of a World Series championship, but it sure puts them in excellent position to try.

So go for broke next year knowing the farm system is depleted, or upgrade the rotation with Halladay and hope the prospects from the Mariners soften the blow of losing Drabek, Taylor and d’Arnaud down the road?

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Halladay in Town

The Phillies are trying to orchestrate a complicated three-team trade that would get them Roy Halladay.

But that trade would come at a price: Cliff Lee.

Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners are involved in discussions to send Halladay to the Phillies, Lee to the Mariners and prospects to the Blue Jays from both teams. One source said that no deal has been finalized.

A source said Halladay and his agent arrived in Philadelphia today to take a physical and talk about a contract extension. The Phillies would want Halladay to sign an extension to make the deal. If the Phillies and Halladay can’t come to an agreement, it is unlikely the Phillies would make the trade.

Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, said he has not heard from the Phillies or other teams regarding a deal.

“Unfortunately, some of this stuff is out of our control,” he said. “But obviously when there is smoke there is fire.”

It is believed the Phillies are considering trading Lee because they don’t think they can sign him to an extension before he becomes a free agent after next season, and because the prospects they could get in return for him would soften the blow to their farm system. Braunecker said he had talks with the Phillies last week at the Winter Meetings about a contract extension. There were reports that the Phillies specifically requested Braunecker to fly to Indianapolis for a meeting, but he said that was inaccurate.

“It’s been very preliminary dialogue,” he said. “I wouldn’t characterize our discussions at this point as negotiations. But I think it’s inaccurate to say whatever dialogue we’ve had to this point as being anything other than positive and constructive.”

Lee told The Cleveland Plain-Dealer in August that when the Indians decided not to talk about an extension in Spring Training 2009 that it made little sense for him to talk about one after the 2009 season when he was so close to free agency.

“It doesn’t make sense to do it one year out when I just watched what CC (Sabathia) did,” said Lee, referring to Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract.

Braunecker said Lee’s comments pertained exclusively to negotiations with the Cleveland Indians, and not the Phillies.

“We had taken a position at the end of Spring Training with the Indians that Cliff was going to play out the remainder of his contract and enter the free agent market,” Braunecker said. “We’ve never had any of those conversations with the Phillies of any sort. That was exclusive to the situation with Cleveland.”

One source familiar with the negotiations said the Mariners at least would include right-hander Phillipe Aumont in the trade. Baseball America ranked Aumont as the organization’s No. 3 prospect. He went 2-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 44 relief appearances with Double-A West Tenn and Single-A High Desert.

It is unclear who else the Phillies and Mariners might include in the trade, but the Phillies had made right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Domonic Brown untouchable in the past.

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Phils Have Pieces to Land Halladay


Thumbnail image for halladay 02.jpgBaseball insiders agree: the Phillies have what it takes to acquire Roy Halladay.

In an informal poll of baseball personnel this week at the Winter Meetings, folks think the Phillies have as good a chance as anybody of getting him.

“They have the pieces,” one AL executive said. “I would say the Phillies and Red Sox have the talent to make it happen more than the other teams out there.”

“They’ve got the prospects,” a National League scout said. “They didn’t give up anything for [Cliff] Lee.”

The Phillies shipped Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Lou Marson and Jason Donald to the Indians for Lee and Ben Francisco. Baseball America considered Carrasco, Knapp, Marson and Donald among the organization’s top 10 prospects. But they also were not Philadelphia’s best prospects. That designation belongs to Kyle Drabek, Domonic Brown and Michael Taylor, and the Phils still have them.

Some things to consider about a potential Halladay trade:

  • The asking price must drop. The Blue Jays originally asked for Drabek, Brown, J.A. Happ and Anthony Gose. The Phillies balked. And they still would balk, if they asked for that package. It’s simply too much to ask for a pitcher who could become a free agent after the season. “It could come down to the Phillies determining if they can significantly deplete their system for a player they may be unable to retain,” a NL executive said.
  • Can they afford him? The Phillies’ payroll seems to have a budget of around $140 million. They’re fast approaching it. Halladay’s $15.75 million salary would obliterate it. Ownership would need to make an exception for Halladay, or the Phillies would have to move salary to make him fit.
  • Talk at the Winter Meetings that Philadelphia has made Joe Blanton available might not be a coincidence. Blanton made $5.75 million in 2009, and is due a raise. Ruben Amaro Jr. declined comment when asked about reports that Blanton is being shopped, but one source said Tuesday that to get Halladay, the Phillies “would have to move Blanton. And he is on the market, by the way.”
  • But this is more than just the 2010 payroll. It’s about the future. If the Phils trade too many top prospects, they will have fewer options in their system to replace current talent. For example, Jayson Werth is a free agent after 2010. Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson will be free agents after ’11. Jimmy Rollins also will become a free agent after ’11, assuming the Phillies pick up his ’11 club option. I know what you’re thinking: prospects are no guarantee. And you’re right. But you can’t trade all of your prospects because if you trade all of your prospects then none of them will hit. And the Phillies can’t just replace Werth, Ibanez, Howard, Lidge, Madson, Rollins and others via free agency. They must have young, inexpensive talent to step in. “At some point … retaining all of their quality players will be difficult,” the NL executive said. “When you reach that point, there has to be depth in the system to cover needs. It’s tough to continuously deal your top prospects, extend payroll and have the ability to recover when the bill comes due.
  • Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said recently that he considered the Phillies and Yankees favorites to land Halladay. One reason is that Halladay lives in the Tampa area, where the Phillies and Yankees hold Spring Training. Halladay has a no-trade clause, but he would waive it for the Philies. “We’re not a Florida team,” Ash said. “I also don’t think he’s looking for a chance to win, he’s looking for a guaranteed win.” Nothing in baseball is guaranteed. But with a rotation that includes Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels, they would be as close as you can get.

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Debbie Downer Says Halladay Unlikely

Thumbnail image for halladay 02.jpgWould the Phillies like Roy Halladay in their rotation in 2010?

Absolutely. But sources said today the chances of the Phillies trading for Halladay this off-season are unlikely. Ruben Amaro Jr. would not address those rumors, but asked about the possibility of trading Cole Hamels, Amaro chuckled.

“Hamels is one of our starters next year,” he said. “And we view the combination of Hamels and (Cliff) Lee as strong a top of the rotation as anybody’s in the league.”

The Phillies believe Hamels will rebound in 2010, and if he does rebound they believe they will have one of the best 1-2 punches in the National League. And because the Phillies believe that, Amaro reiterated that his priorities this off-season are finding a third baseman — Adrian Beltre, Miguel Tejada, Placido Polanco and Mark DeRosa are possibilities — and upgrading the bullpen.

There are reasons why a Halladay trade would be difficult. The Blue Jays wanted right-hander Kyle Drabek, left-hander J.A. Happ and outfielders Domonic Brown and Anthony Gose for Halladay before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Phillies balked, kept their top prospects and sent four other prospects to the Cleveland Indians for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco. The Phillies were unwilling to part with their top talent for two potential postseasons with Halladay. They would be less likely to trade top talent for one potential postseason with him.

Putting together an attractive package for Halladay likely would mean gutting the farm system, when the four prospects sent to Cleveland are considered. There are a lot of pieces that need to fit to make a trade like this. Now, if the Blue Jays come to the Phillies with a reduced asking price then maybe things change, but until then it remains unlikely.

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Lee, Francisco for Four Phillies Prospects

lee 01.jpgThe Phillies got their Cy Young winner.

After it appeared the Phillies would land Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay before Friday’s Trade Deadline, the Phillies landed Indians left-hander Cliff Lee. Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies and Indians have reached an agreement that would send Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to the Phillies for prospects Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.

The agreement is pending a review of medical records.

If it goes well, an announcement could be made later today.

The Phillies improved their rotation and added a much needed right-handed bat for their bench. The Indians get four of the top 10 prospects in Philadelphia’s system, according to Baseball America. The Blue Jays? Well, they appear to have overplayed their hand with less than 48 hours to go before the deadline.

The deal seems attractive to the Phillies for a few reasons:

  • Lee bolsters a rotation that has pitched much better recently. Phillies starters had a 5.27 ERA through July 2, but have a 2.71 ERA since. Lee is the American League’s 2008 Cy Young winner. He is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA this season, and 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in his last five starts. He had the eighth-worst run support of any American League pitcher this season. That should not be a problem with the Phillies, who have the best offense in the National League.
  • The Phillies got Lee without giving up the three players the Blue Jays had demanded in a deal for Halladay: Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ, Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek and Single-A Clearwater outfielder Dominic Brown. Happ is a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate and Drabek and Brown are the organization’s top pitching and player prospects, respectively. The Phillies also didn’t give up outfielder Michael Taylor, who Baseball America considers a Top 25 prospect.
  • Lee has a $9 million club option for next season, while Halladay makes $15.75 million. That $6.75 million difference will impact the Phillies’ offseason, who have a $5 million club option on Pedro Feliz and expect Joe Blanton, who is salary arbitration eligible, to get a raise from the $5.475 million he makes this season.
  • Francisco is hitting .250 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs this season. He is an upgrade over outfielder John Mayberry Jr., who is hitting .189 with four homers and eight RBIs.

Of course, who goes into the bullpen? The Phillies have Lee, Happ, Blanton, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez on the horizon. It’s a nice problem to have, but somebody is going to have their feelings hurt.

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Is Lee Close?


lee 02.jpgCarlos Carrasco
got scratched from this morning’s 11 a.m. start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson also are not in the lineup.

Signs point to Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.

“Nothing is imminent,” one source said, although there are those inside the Indians organization who feel a deal likely will happen soon.

But Lee makes sense. Sources have said in recent days that talks between the Phillies and Blue Jays regarding Roy Halladay have slowed to a near standstill. The Blue Jays haven’t budged on their asking price for Kyle Drabek, and the Phillies haven’t budged in wanting to keep him. But while a potential deal for Halladay seems to have faded, I would say a very small chance remains it could happen — only if the Blue Jays realize the Phillies are about to go in a different direction and drop their asking price.

Left-hander J.A. Happ is scheduled to start for the Phillies tonight in Arizona. If he pitches tonight, it means the Phillies could make this trade without giving up Happ or Drabek — both pitchers the Blue Jays have demanded.

Stay tuned on that.

Are Marson and Donald in the deal? Not necessarily. It should be noted that everyday catchers rarely play a day game after a night game, much less an 11 a.m. start. That potentially explains why Marson is out. And I got word out of Lehigh Valley that because Donald is returning from knee surgery, he also had been scheduled to have today off.

But Carrasco’s healthy scratch was the flashing neon sign that a deal is getting close.

A trade is near. Ken Rosenthal said Single-A Lakewood flamethrower Jason Knapp is part of the deal that includes Carrasco, Donald and Marson. It looks like it’s for Lee, but nothing is imminent.

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Phillies Shifting Focus to Lee?


cliff lee 01.jpgRoy Halladay
and Cliff Lee remain in play, but what are the chances either is traded to the Phillies before Friday’s Trade Deadline?

Halladay? Fading fast, one source said Monday.

Lee? He is turning into the better bet.

Several sources have said the team’s chances of acquiring Halladay have decreased in recent days, which puts Lee into greater focus. One source said that while the Blue Jays have asked for J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown – a National League Rookie of the Year candidate and the organization’s top pitching and position player prospects, respectively – the Phillies might be able to acquire Lee without giving up Drabek.

But without Drabek, the package for Lee would expand to include more players.

The Indians aren’t believed to be terribly motivated to move Lee, who is a Cy Young winner and who makes just $9 million next season. But clearly there are talks between the two teams. The Indians had a scout in Double-A Reading on Monday to watch Drabek. (The Blue Jays also watched Drabek pitch.)

So what happened with the Blue Jays?

The Blue Jays rejected a counteroffer from the Phillies that included Happ, Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Michael Taylor, right-hander Carlos Carrasco and shortstop Jason Donald, according to ESPN.com. There were reports Monday that talks soured between the Phillies and Blue Jays over the weekend, even turning nasty as the teams differed on fair value for Halladay.

A Phillies spokesman made a point to gather Phillies beat reporters before Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to tell them there is no animosity between the Phillies and Blue Jays “or any other club that they’re engaged in trade discussions with from our point of view.”

Those words clearly came from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who is trying to maintain a low profile this week. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has been far more visible and vocal in recent weeks. He told foxsports.com Sunday the chances of trading Halladay are “very slim.”

That could be nothing more than posturing while others believe it is just another indication the Blue Jays are not backing off their demands for Happ, Drabek and Brown.

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How Much Is Too Much?

halladay 04.jpgThe Blue Jays want J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown.

The Phillies reportedly offered Happ, Carlos Carrasco, Michael Taylor and Jason Donald.

Is Happ, Drabek and Brown too much to give up for Roy Halladay? Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and the Phillies would be getting him for two Octobers instead of one. We’re not talking about a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher here. We’re talking about Roy Freakin’ Halladay. Cy Young winner. Ace. Best of the best.

Two sources said Toronto’s demands are reasonable. So why won’t the Phillies pull the trigger?

They are keeping the future in mind, one source indicated. The Phillies’ rotation today includes Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Happ and Rodrigo Lopez/Pedro Martinez. If the Phillies get Halladay for Happ, Drabek and Brown, the rotation next season would include Hamels, Halladay and Moyer, who is 9-7 with a 5.65 ERA this season. Blanton, who is salary arbitration eligible, seems like a smart bet to return, although the Phillies already have $95.5 million committed to 11 players next season. Add Halladay into that mix and the payroll jumps to $110.75 million. It seems unlikely, but it is possible the Phillies could non-tender Blanton, who would get a raise from the $5.475 million he is making, if they feel they need to trim some salary to pay Halladay and the rest of the roster. So that’s one starter if Blanton is back, two if he isn’t.

The Phillies can handle one starter. Maybe even two with Halladay and Hamels atop the rotation. But the number jumps to potentially four starters in 2011. There is no guarantee Halladay re-signs with the Phillies. He could leave for the highest bidder. Moyer presumably won’t be back. Blanton will be a free agent after 2010, and he also could leave for the big payday. That leaves Hamels and four vacancies.

The Phillies are considering those things as they consider a package for Halladay. They want to keep Happ or Drabek so they’re a little better equipped next season and beyond.

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Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that the chances of trading Halladay are “very slim.” Others agree. One source believes the chances of Halladay being traded are no better than 50-50. Another said he thinks it’s “unlikely” Halladay gets traded.

But one source said the Phillies’ counter offer, which ESPN.com said the Blue Jays rejected, is fair. He considers Happ a “poor man’s Andy Pettitte” and Taylor to be better than Brown. He also pointed out that entering this season many considered Carrasco to be the organization’s top pitching prospect. He also think Donald can be a good everyday player.

Of course, it only matters what Toronto thinks.

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It also is unlikely the Cliff Lee is traded. One source said it could be easier for the Phillies to make a trade for Lee because the package would be bigger, meaning not Drabek or Brown involved.

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Been hearing a lot about how the Phillies will have more money to spend next season because the Phillies are shedding the payroll of Adam Eaton ($9 million), Geoff Jenkins ($8 million) and Jim Thome ($3 million). Not exactly. The Phillies have 11 players who are signed through next season or beyond. Those 11 players make $78.25 million this season. But because of built-in raises they will make $95.5 million next season. There goes those savings from Eaton, Jenkins and Thome. And keep in mind, that $95.5 million doesn’t the $5 million club option for Pedro Feliz and salary arbitration figures for Blanton, Shane Victorino, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, etc.

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