As part of the trade, Halladay will be going from the Blue Jays to the Phillies, and Cliff Lee will go from the Phillies to the Mariners. Six prospects and cash are also involved in the trade, which has yet to be finalized due to its complexity, and may take at least one more day to be completed.
Halladay wanted to be in Philadelphia, as the Phillies train in Clearwater, Fla., not far from his offseason home in Oldsmar.
The Mariners get Lee in the trade to complement Felix Hernandez and form a formidable rotation, while the Phillies balance their rotation by adding the right-handed Halladay at the top to go with lefty Cole Hamels. The Mariners will send prospects to Philadelphia; Phillippe Aumont, a top right-handed pitching prospect, and Juan Ramirez, another minor-league righty, are believed to be among them. ESPN.com is reporting that outfielder Tyson Gilles is another Mariners farmhand that will be headed to Phillies. The Mariners were trying to hold onto top pitching prospect Brandon Morrow. Meanwhile, according to sources, the Phillies will send top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud and outfield prospect Michael Taylor to Toronto. Sources indicate those are the six prospects involved.
On Tuesday afternoon, it was reported that the Blue Jays will send Taylor to the A's in exchange for Brett Wallace, whom Oakland had originally acquired last July in the deal that sent Matt Holliday to St. Louis. The A's have a glut of first baseman and like Taylor's athleticism.
In a surprise twist, the Blue Jays will send the Phillies $6 million in the deal.
This trade was precipitated by the Phillies' realization they were not going to be able to get a quick deal with Lee, who starred for them in the playoffs and like Halladay is a year away from free agency. Lee made clear he was offering no discount, whereas the Phillies are expected to lock up Halladay since they are his chosen team. He had a no-trade clause, which meant the Jays needed to make a deal with one of his preferred teams. The Yankees were thought to be his other top choice but their pitching needs aren't as acute as Philly's.
The Phillies are trying to keep their payroll at around $140 million while making sure they have an ace for the future. There were no guarantees Lee would stay beyond 2010. Halladay's two preferred teams were thought to be the Phillies and Yankees. Indications are the Yankees offered a package that included top catching prospect Jesus Montero as the centerpiece.
Halladay had been targeted by the Phillies since last summer, but they were unable to reach a deal with Toronto for the ace righty. After failing to get Halladay, Philadelphia turned to Lee instead and he helped pitch the Phils to a second consecutive World Series appearance.
In acquiring Lee, the Mariners will land the ace they had been seeking to go with King Felix. Lee won the 2008 AL Cy Young winner with the Indians and emerged as the Phillies ace last year after being dealt from Cleveland to Philadelphia just days before the July 31 deadline. Ironically, that trade only happened after the Phillies were unable to pry Halladay loose from the Blue Jays earlier that month. Lee went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA after the trade, and then 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason, including victories in Philadelphia's only two wins in the World Series.
Lee will be returning to the American League, where he won the 2008 Cy Young award. Halladay is also a former AL Cy Young winner, taking top honors in 2003 and finishing in the top five each of the past four seasons. Halladay went 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA in 2009, leading the American League with nine complete games and four shutouts.