After C.C. Sabathia’s lucrative contract extension and talk of Cole Hamels receiving a similar deal, I have to think back to Roy Halladay. After their 2009 loss to the Yankees, the Phillies traded for Roy Halladay, and promptly signed him to a 3-year, $60 million deal with a vesting option for the 4th year. It’s looking like pretty much the best big-money contract in baseball at this point.
Since the trade, Roy Halladay has been the best pitcher in baseball. He’s pitched over 483 innings with an ERA around 2.40. The Phillies have built an incredibly good rotation around him. Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are no slouches, but they are somehow eclipsed by Halladay.
It’s easy to forgot that Halladay could have been sent to the Yankees instead of Philadelphia. The Yankees offered Philadelphia Jesus Montero for Halladay, straight up. They opted to pass, instead taking Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor. Taylor was quickly traded to the Athletics, while Kyle Drabek has struggled in the major leagues. Travis d’Arnaud has developed into a strong prospect, but I think the Blue Jays would probably take a Jesus Montero + smaller pieces package today if they had the chance for a do-over.
As awesome as Michael Pineda is, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t rather have done a Montero-Halladay swap. The Yankees, instead of the Phillies, would have the best 1-2 punch in recent memory, at a very reasonable cost. Halladay may be getting older, but his play hasn’t yet shown any sign if dropping off. And above all of that, there’s something about having all-time-great, Hall-caliber players on a Yankee team. It just feels right that Halladay, probably the most dominant pitcher of the post-Pedro era, would play his career in pinstripes. Along with Sabathia, he’s the kind of player that reminds us of the Torre-era rotation of David Wells, Andy Pettitte, and David Cone.
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