So I was just watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN, and the topic of trading for Roy Halladay came up. Karl Ravich asks Steve Phillips his opinion on the situation. He proceeds to say that if he was a GM in the game, he would sell the farm for Halladay. Now I have no problem saying “I’d trade almost anything for him,” because Halladay is among the best pitchers in the majors. But Phillips didn’t stop there. He proceeded to name every single top young pitcher in the bigs and offered them to Toronto.
This isn’t shocking, coming from the former New York Mets GM who has a long track record of trading future stars for short-term help. He obviously doesn’t value prospects, which is fine to an extent, because they are not guaranteed to succeed. But he didn’t name just prospects.
Steve Phillips named the Dodgers as a team that needs to trade for Doc, offering Clayton Kershaw and others for the Blue Jay’s star. Another team Phillips feels should trade for Halladay is the Phillies, offering every prospect in their system. He even said that the Yankees should give Toronto, a division rival, anything they wanted including Phillip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. He went as far as saying, “if I was the Yankees, I’d pack his bags and drive Joba to the airport.”
My problem with his thinking is that its not practical, and it perfectly showcases the reason he’s the former GM of the Mets. Consider his Dodgers proposal: trading 21-year old lefty Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.95 ERA, 104k, 1.22 WHIP) for 32-year old Halladay (11-3, 2.73, 113k, 1.07). We’ll leave out a breakdown the “others” Phillips would give up (Tony Abreau, Blake DeWitt, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp to name players sure to be requested by Toronto). Let’s just compare the pitchers that would be swapped. What exactly do the Dodgers gain in this? Sure, Halladay’s peripheral numbers are slightly better. But when you consider the cost, both in terms of talent and cash, does this deal make sense? Halladay is on the hook for the remaining of his $14m+ for this year, and $15.75m for next year, after which he’s free to go as a free agent. Kershaw, on the other hand, is under team control for another 5 years at very cheap salaries. Common sense tells us that Kershaw is on the upslope of his promising career, while Halladay is at the top of his game but 11 years older. How much longer does he have before decline? Sure, the Dodgers are World Series favorites (along with Philly) in the senior circuit, but does Halladay improve their odds in October? He’s got the same number of October starts as Kershaw, ZERO.
As Philly is running away with the NL East, do the defending World Series Champs need Halladay? At the cost of a starting fielder and top prospects Kyle Drabek and Jason Donald? As is, they are on their way to a deep October run. Do they mortgage the future hoping that Halladay wins them the title, something that nobody can guarantee? Do the Yankees, already short on starting pitching, deal Joba and Philthy Hughes (shout out to carebear) for a pitcher with several times more wear on this tires than the two players offered for him?
When we consider Steve Phillips track record on trades of any kind, he loses all credibility. Let’s take a look:
He traded Carl Everett (MVP candidate 2 years after being traded) for John Hudek (1-4 for the Mets). –> Lose
Sure, when he traded AJ Burnett for Al Leiter, he got 85 wins and 2 playoff appearances, including a World Series appearance from the old guy. But Burnett is younger and has won 95 games since then, including a World Series Title. –> PUSH
Jason Isringhausen (283 saves since) was traded for Billy Taylor, who was 0-1 in 18 Mets appearances with an ERA over 8.0. — > Lose
Looking for a short-term fix in 2000, Phillips nabbed Mike Bordick for 56 games and a .260 average. Ironically, he traded a young Melvin Mora, who was hitting .260 at the time of the trade. Unfortunately for the Mets, Mora has gone on to hit over 150 home runs with a .281 batting average over the past 10 seasons for the Orioles, including a couple of all-star appearances, a Silver Slugger award in ’04, and an MVP candidate in ’04. Bordick left after his lone season, returning to the Orioles. –> Lose
In ’02, Phillips gave away Gary Matthews Jr. for John Bale (who?). ‘Nuff said. –> Lose
Phillips traded a minor league Jason Bay for middle reliever Steve Reed. Bay is a top corner outfielder, which is a historically weak spot for the Mets, Steve Reed was decent but a free agent after the year. –> Lose
Sure, he had a couple good trades (Piazza, maybe Mo Vaughn), but overall, Steve Phillips was the meth addict of baseball general managers; he traded long-term pieces for short-term fixes. In the end, he had 2 playoff appearances to show for all of his awful trading.
So Steve, stop doling out the advice to GM’s who still have jobs in the game. Nobody has even interviewed you for a GM position since you were canned, so perhaps they agree that you were a terrible judge of talent. Just stop giving us your opinion on trades just because you are on ESPN. Only talk about subjects which you have credibility with, like what kind of hair product I should use to get a ‘do like yours.