Dealin’ Aces

December 15, 2009 |

It was one helluva day to be a #1 starter in the big leagues. Three staff “Aces” are changing addresses and uniforms. Nothing creates a stir like a blockbuster trade and the Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee deal is no exception. It took 5 months, a World Series appearance, and the firing of JP Ricciardi but the Phillies finally got their man, Roy Halladay. In the rumored deal Halladay will go to the Phillies, Playoff hero Cliff Lee will head to Seattle and a slew of prospects will go to Toronto.

It may seem odd that the Phils are dealing Lee just a few months after acquiring him from Cleveland, but upon further review the deal makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia. Lee and Halladay are both free agents after the 2010 season. The difference is that Lee is apparently intent on testing the free agent waters while Halladay wants to play for a contender and will sign an extension. Rumor has it that Halladay will sign a 3 year extension with Philadelphia locking him up thru the 2013 season. Seattle will have Lee for just one season as they’ll need considerable funds to sign King Felix to a long term extension.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. comes out smelling like a rose. He drove a hard bargain with former Toronto GM JP Ricciardi by refusing to deal his best prospects for Halladay back in July, instead settling on a deal for Lee that included lesser regarded youngsters. Now he turns around and deals Lee for Halladay and has Doc locked up for 3 years. Christmas has come early for Phillies fans.

Santa also paid a visit to Fenway Park, but not before dropping a big bag of money down John Lackey’s chimney. The Red Sox answered the Yankees’ Granderson deal with the Lackey signing. Lackey does a couple of things for the Red Sox: 1) He closes the gap with the Yankees and provides insurance for Josh Beckett who is a free agent after the season. 2) His departure weakens the perennial contender Angels. 3) He frees up a young pitcher (re: Clay Buchholz) to be included in a deal for a big bat like Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres.