For the better part of the twenty-first century, I've fantasized of a Phillies rotation fronted by Roy Halladay. Now, with only days remaining before the trade deadline, Halladay in a Phillies uniform is about to become a reality. No questions asked. It's only a matter of determining which Phillies prospects will comprise the bounty headed to Toronto. Well, that, and picking a uniform number for the new Phillies' ace. (I'm thinking #23. I'm sure Gabor won't mind giving it up.)
The next few days are a time to sit back, and observe the proceedings with detached amusement, with the final result all but assured. The Blue Jays need to cut payroll, immediately. The Blue Jays need to replace Halladay with cost-controlled prospects, which the Phillies have in abundance. Halladay will only approve a trade to a few teams, at most. Perhaps, he will only approve a trade to the Phillies, a strong playoff contender with a Spring Training home conveniently located in Clearwater, Florida. The Blue Jays do not want to trade Halladay within their division, where they'll have to face him five times a season (at least), and where he can help keep them out of the playoffs. These truths are evident. These truths are the reason Roy Halladay will be a Phillie, when the dust generated by the trading deadline clears. All of the negotiations through the media, the arbitrary pre-trade deadline deadlines, the ineffectual efforts to gain leverage, the repeated posturing, the collecting of prospect packages from teams not actually in the running, the low probabilities periodically assigned to the possibility of a Halladay trade, are all almost irrelevant. Halladay will be a Phillie.
As for the prospects the Phillies will eventually surrender to Toronto, in exchange for two postseason runs headed by baseball's best pitcher, who knows what will become of them? J.A. Happ, the Phillies' best starter this season, could easily regress into a back-of-the-rotation arm. Top prospect Kyle Drabek is coming off Tommy John surgery. His usage this season seems to be with confidence (and trade value) maximation in mind. He started out in A ball, where he was well ahead of the competition. A promotion to AA followed, where he has only started on the road once, against the victory-challenged Altoona Curve, and their sub-.400 winning percentage. Drabek may not even be a Happ. Outfield prospects Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown could be All-Stars, or they could be Marlon Byrds or Greg Golsons. Either way, the Phillies could have two more WFCs, before either reaches the Major Leagues. Jason Donald? A Bruntlett, without the Economics degree. Lou Marson? A singles-hitting, backup catcher.
So, don't get overly concerned about the Halladay Deal. The Phillies are going to surrender as few prospects as possible, in exchange for one of MLB's few "givens." Relax, enjoy the ride, and make some room on your bobblehead shelf for a Phillies bobble with the name "Halladay" on the back, and for two more World Championship trophy paperweights.