Yes, Philadelphia, Your Prospects Are So Much More Valuable Than Halladay

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↵Word has just come out that Philadelphia, in their quest to repeat as World Series champions, have balked at Toronto's requests for a trade involving Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay: ↵

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↵⇥In exchange for Halladay, the Blue Jays asked the Phillies for rookie lefthander J.A. Happ, minor league pitching prospect Kyle Drabek and minor league outfield prospect Dominic Brown. According to the ESPN report, Philadelphia is reluctant to give up both Happ and Drabek. ↵
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↵Well, duh. J.A. Happ is 7-1 on the season with an ERA under 3.00. Clearly, he's going to keep up that production for the rest of the season and Philadelphia would be crazy to part with that over something as pedestrian as a "long-time proven starting pitcher." ↵

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↵On his podcast that aired Friday, Bill Simmons mentioned the Red Sox's trading away of Hanley Ramirez, currently the most productive shortstop in the MLB by a substantial margin, after the 2005 season. In exchange, they got Josh Beckett, who essentially sealed the 2007 World Series for them and has been a productive starter since, as well as Mike Lowell, who was the MVP of said World Series. Ramirez was an unproven--though still valuable--commodity whom the Red Sox turned into a proven, valuable commodity. ↵

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↵The Yankees, on the other hand, have yet to learn that lesson. Recall, if you will, that they could have had Johan Santana from the Twins for some combination of Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy. The Yankees balked, considering their prospects too valuable. How's that working out, guys? ↵

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↵The annals of baseball history are littered--nay, overflowing--with the discarded detritus of can't-miss pitching prospects who either couldn't produce or whose arms betrayed them. Less common by far are the proven commodities who stay healthy and produce on a consistent, long-term basis. There are roughly five such pitchers under the age of 35 in the major leagues today. Halladay is one. ↵

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↵It's just mystifying. Most MLB GMs are like contestants on Deal or No Deal who, in stubborn refusal to accept the fact that they might possibly accept less value than their suitcase/prospect might be worth, constantly choose "no deal" until, inevitably, their last chance of receiving a better deal for their suitcase/prospect slips by the wayside and they're left holding $5 and the crowd is shocked into silence. ↵

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↵That's not to say that all prospects are inherently worthless, of course; nearly every top-level player was at one point a top-level prospect. But the success rate on said prospects is enough of a crapshoot that reliance usually ends in 69-93 seasons and disgruntled fans. ↵

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↵It just seems like it would be logical to remove as much risk and uncertainty in the pursuit of a playoff appearance as possible, and the best way to do that is trade a couple young arms for a top-level arm.  ↵

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↵Yes, teams have to protect their futures at the same time, and yes, Philadelphia is likely getting into the playoffs even without this trade. But what 3-man rotation would you feel better about trotting out once October rolls around? ↵

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↵Hamels-Happ-Blanton? or Halladay-Hamels-Blanton? It's just no contest. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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