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Blockbusters revisited: Roy Halladay trade

By May 22, 2013

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Roy Halladay has played in the major leagues for 15 seasons and has one of the smallest transaction histories of any modern player. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. That's all. Only franchise guys like Derek Jeter have moved around less.

With Halladay's career at a crossroads after shoulder surgery that will put him out until at least after the All-Star break, let's look at that one trade -- as part of our weekly series evaluating blockbuster trades of recent history -- and pick a winner.

Dec. 16. 2009: Toronto Blue Jays trade Roy Halladay and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for C Travis d'Arnaud, RHP Kyle Drabek and RF Michael Taylor.

Halladay had finished in the top five of the American League Cy Young Award voting for four consecutive years. But with his contract set to expire after 2010 and the Blue Jays languishing in the toughest division in baseball, Toronto decided to strike while the iron was hot. But Halladay actually got hotter in the National League. He threw a perfect game on May 29, 2010 against the Marlins and then just the second no-hitter ever recorded in postseason play against the Reds in the National League Division Series. He was the first Phillies pitcher to win 20 games in 28 years and was the unanimous winner of the NL Cy Young award.

The only down side? The Phillies lost in the NLCS and haven't gotten any closer to the World Series since then. So it's feasible that the upside for this trade for the Phillies is over.

So what did the Blue Jays get? It was a pretty good haul, but with a catch.

d'Arnaud was a 20-year-old catcher in Single-A at the time of the deal, a former first-round pick. He progressed through the Blue Jays' system over the next two years and had a great season in 2011 at Double-A New Hampshire, hitting .311 with 21 homers. But the Blue Jays then traded him this past offseason to the New York Mets as the centerpiece of the R.A. Dickey deal. So if Dickey ends up doing well in Toronto -- he seems to be turning things around after a slow start -- there's upside there.

Drabek was another first-rounder, and he spent chunks of the last two seasons in the Toronto rotation, going 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA in the first half last year. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery at midseason -- the second of his career -- so his future is as sketchy at this point as Halladay's, although Drabek is 10 years younger.

Taylor was dealt immediately to the Oakland Athletics in a straight-up deal for first baseman Brett Wallace, who was then traded in 2010 to the Houston Astros for outfielder Anthony Gose. Gose, 22, is currently in Triple-A in the Toronto organization, where he is batting .227 with two homers.

On the financial side, the Phillies are paying Halladay $20 million per season. Dickey is getting $5 million from the Jays this year and $12 million in each of the next two years.

So in summary, It's now pretty much Dickey, Drabek and Gose for Halladay. It was by far a better trade over the last three years for the Phillies. But today, I'd probably rather have the Blue Jays' side of the deal. So because the Phillies haven't won a championship with Halladay (and it's very doubtful the Blue Jays would have done much better without making the deal), let's call it a fair and decent trade for both sides.

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