July 13, 2009 6:50 PM

Pedro, Halladay, and All-Star Updates


Pedro Martinez is, reportedly, headed to Philadelphia, for a physical on Tuesday. It looks like this is getting very close.
The keys to this acquisition:
-the only costs associated with this deal are salary costs, no players will be lost as a result
-the salary costs are low enough that the Phillies will still be fiscally-able to make additional salary-increasing personnel moves (reports indicate that Martinez is concerned more about playing for a contender, than salary, and that he will only be paid between $1 and $2 million)
-the expectations for Martinez are: to be a back-of-the-rotation arm, an upgrade over Rodrigo Lopez, and a stopgap to buy additional minor league development time for prospects
-the Phillies need to treat Martinez as a sunk cost: if he doesn't perform on the field and/or has an adverse effect on the clubhouse, Martinez should be invited to hit the bricks, in a timely manner
As long as the Phillies don't keep giving starts to an ineffective Martinez, as they did to Chan Ho Park, this could be a very good move.
Martinez, likely, wouldn't pitch for the Phils before August, as he would need a few minor league starts to build up arm strength.

Roy Halladay estimates that there is a 50% chance that he is traded. Not so sure about the accuracy of that probability, but the Phillies would certainly be among the frontrunners for the ace's services. The Phils have the prospects to trade, the money to pay Halladay (at least for the remainder of his current contract, through 2010), are a playoff contender, and are not in the American League. If Halladay gets dealt this season, it wouldn't be surprising to see him go to Philly.

The possibility of including J.A. Happ in a prospective Halladay deal is a polarizing issue throughout the Phillies' blogosphere.
Happ has been outstanding in 2009, with a 6-0 record, and a 2.90 ERA. The Phillies would not be in 1st place right now, if it wasn't for his efforts. If Happ had started the season in the rotation, as many believed he should have, the Phillies' division lead would likely be larger than four games. Happ is young (26.75), left-handed, and cost-controlled for the immediate future.

Happ has a .242 BABIP, a 85.9% LOB%, and a 4.51 FIP in 2009. These numbers all point very strongly towards possible regression in the (very?) immediate future. He projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter, despite his front-of-the-rotation results in 2009.

Happ seems bound to regress, doesn't quite have the upside of some of the other Phillies' arms (Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp), and might be at the height of his trade value right now. If the Phillies can get a Halladay, they should definitely consider trading Happ, especially if his inclusion in a deal allows them to hold on to one of their higher-upside arms.

Charlie Manuel has announced his starting lineup for the All-Star game. It includes 2B Chase Utley batting second, LF Raul Ibanez batting fifth, and CF Shane Victorino in the seventh spot.
Considering that the AL has a northpaw on the mound (Roy Halladay, future Phillie?), it's surprising that Manuel doesn't have left-handed batters Greg Dobbs and Paul Bako in the starting lineup.
I'll be rooting for an NL victory, so that the Phillies have four home games in the World Series (against Detroit). But I won't mind too much if the Phillies' representatives play sparingly, especially the recently-disabled Ibanez, as we don't need any of them sustaining injuries in an exhibition game.

Ryan Howard will be participating in the Home Run Derby.
In one of the infinite parallel universes, the Home Run Derby includes the Phillies' Russell Branyan (the starting DH for the NL) and Matt Stairs (one of the "Wild Card" participants).
But watching Ryan Howard hit bombs is always fun. (Though I'll have that broadcast on mute, in order to listen to the Clearwater Threshers-Daytona Cubs game.)

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