Attacking the deal from all sides, based on developing reports.
The good: The best part of this deal is the cost of Roy Halladay's extension - averaging $20 million a season and committing to only three guaranteed years past free agency. That's very reasonable, and since they're reportedly getting $6 million from Toronto, he's essentially owed Cliff Lee money for 2010. The Phillies know what they're getting: a stud set to rip the ass out of the weaker Senior Circuit, and a great fit for the elite Phillies in every possible respect.The bad: The part that could haunt Ruben Amaro's dreams is not finding a home for Joe Blanton last week in an effort to shed salary, and because he didn't want to get caught with his pants down, tendered a deal to Kentucky Joe in the event that they couldn't land Doc. So because of that, they essentially had to sell some of their premium prospects to guarantee having a front-line starter for the next few seasons, while missing out on the opportunity to unleash the hounds of hell - Doc, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels - upon the league next season. What's more, if Amaro is dumping Lee as a way to free up funds to go toward free agent relief - and he fails to acquire some - than this series of deals smells like a sophomore slump for the second-year GM.
As of this morning, the prospect portion is still up in the air. The Phillies universal development philosophy is to draft and retain the players with elite star potential, often at a very high risk. The Phillies believed they had two good bets in Domonic Brown and Kyle Drabek, with a significant drop between them and the next highest group, including Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud, also included in the reported deal. They were able to keep one of them - Brown - and Toronto, justifiably, took the other - Drabek - according to reports. Though still unclear, it appears the Phils' system will at least take a small step backward. (Although I gotta say I'm intrigued by the heavy fastball of 6-7 closer prospect Phillippe Aumont, and Tyson Gillies could experience the same type of breakout season in Double-A as Taylor had in Reading this season).
The unknown: Now that the framework is set, will another team stand up and be heard? Halladay and Lee are coming and going in separate deals, so the Phillies could tell the Mariners to go pound sand if they receive a better offer. Keep in mind the 72-hour window granted to the Phils and Jays, and the AP report of Blanton getting a physical yesterday. Guys like Blanton and even J.A. Happ are the real wildcards here: competent, economic starting pitchers, but in my view, non-essential components in the Phillies' master plan for knocking off the Yankees.