Well, you probably know by now that the three-way
Before getting into the ramifications of the deal, it might be worth pointing out that now four of the last seven Cy Young winners have been traded.
2008 NL: Cliff Lee
The only Cy Young winners since 2006 who are still with their teams are 2009 winners
You can throw 2003 AL Cy Young winner Halladay and the 2002 AL Cy Young winner,
Of course, money infiltrates every part of baseball -- every part of sports. But this is especially true for the Cy Young winners. Great pitching is SO expensive.
But here's the other thing that goes along with it: Great pitching is so difficult for a starter to sustain. If you had wanted to pick the best young pitchers in baseball (young being, say, 28 and younger) after the 2003 season, the list might have looked something like this:
1. Roy Halladay, 26, Cy Young winner, led league in eight categories in 2003.
2. Barry Zito, 25, Cy Young winner in '02.
You can play around with the list if you like, but the point is... that's a real mixed bag up there. Zito has lived a soap opera, Hudson and Mulder have had injuries and inconsistencies (did you realize that Mulder has not won a big league game since June 15, 2006?). Prior and Wood are now part of the Cubs curse. Vazquez and Pineiro, in addition to sounding like 16th Century explorers, have been up and down and over and out.
There are a couple of pitchers on that list, though, who have been good pretty much every year. One is Oswalt, who won 20 games in 2004 and 2005 and led the league in ERA in 2006. The other, of course, is Halladay. What a remarkably consistent force Roy Halladay has been. Look, just look, at his last two years:
• He made 33 starts in 2008, 32 starts in 2009.
• His ERA was 2.78 in 2008, 2.79 in 2009.
• He threw nine complete games each year -- twice leading the league.
• He led the league both years in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
• His walk rates, strikeout rates and home run rates were almost identical.
This sort of consistency is really quite remarkable. He finished Top 5 in the Cy Young voting for four straight years.
Halladay is really like the starting pitcher version of
And so, sure, Philadelphia got the prize in the trade. Cliff Lee was ridiculously good in 2008 and really good in 2009... he and
But the Phillies got the most consistent pitching force in the game... and it appears that they have signed him for three more years after this. The thing most people in the game say with pitching is: You never know. And it's true. Pitchers get hurt. They lose their confidence. They lose their stuff. You never know.
But with Halladay, you pretty much do know.