Cliff Lee-Roy Halladay Trade: The Fantasy Baseball Impact

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The winter of blockbuster moves was thrown full steam ahead with the announcement of the three-team swap that moved Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
The fantasy implications of the deal may not necessarily seem to be that great. After all, these are two of the game’s elite pitchers. Still, there are enough side pieces and discussions to be had that the deal may not be as straightforward as it appears on the surface.

Lee, for example, will return to the American League after a quick hiatus with the Philadelphia Phillies.

He has actually pitched remarkably well against the AL West over the last three seasons. He won both of his starts against the Anaheim Angels, while also going 2-1 against the Oakland A’s.
While Lee will not face the Seattle Mariners, he has a 2-0 record in three appearances in Safeco Field. He is, though, just 1-2 in The Ballpark at Arlington with an ERA over 10.50 in three starts. It is certainly more of a hitter’s park, but something to keep in mind for matchup play. 

The starter also enters this year looking for his next contract. With some pitchers, that works out well. Others feel the pressure and put up sub-par numbers.

How Lee responds will be worth monitoring. He dominated in the National League in his few months there, and has pitched very well over the last two seasons in general. This is enough so that he should be considered an anchor to any staff.

Lee should still be drafted early. His record against his new division corresponds well, if he had stayed facing National League teams.

His ERA and WHIP will be enough to keep owners satisfied. The seven K/9 last season is still solid as well, but wins may be harder to come by in Seattle. He will need to pitch that much better because of potential run support problems. A 15-17 win season would not surprise me, but little upside beyond that.

As far as Halladay is concerned, he is likely thankful to be out of the AL East and into a league and division he could dominate.

Halladay’s losses were beginning to pile up against the likes of the Rays and Red Sox, though he was 9-2 against the Yankees since 2007. Halladay was only 6-7 against Boston and 4-7 against Tampa Bay. He was likely ready for a change.

Based on the fact that Lee was able to dominate as much as he did in a short time, Halladay could fare even better. He is a staff ace worthy of a selection in rounds five through eight. Others may take him earlier, but it depends on how your league values pitching. The reality is, there is still a risk in taking any starter that early. Halladay has had a season or two in which injuries were an issue.

If healthy, though, he is a lock for a sub-3.00 ERA, 200 strikeouts, and 17 wins. He is a perennial Cy Young contender. The American-to-National League switch has been easier to make than going the other way.

Overall, he is a horse that has thrown over 220 innings in each of the last four seasons.

Moving to the National League will give him that much more value this season.

Two of the more interesting players in this deal are minor leaguers. One is Kyle Drabek. Drabek was considered untouchable in the negotiations over Cliff Lee, yet he was delivered to Toronto for Halladay. Drabek is one of the best pitching prospects in the minors, and the Blue Jays will likely look to advance him quickly.

The Blue Jays expect Drabek to start the year at AA in New Hampshire, considering he has just 14 other AA starts under his belt. Still, know that there are plenty of other young pitchers who have moved up quickly of late.

Drabek is considered a front-of-the-rotation starter, and he should be grabbed in keeper league formats at the least. Monitor his progress, as he has Tommy Hanson-like buzz and will be grabbed off of your league’s waivers quickly when called up.

A full season after Tommy John surgery, he went a combined 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 25 games, 23 starts, for Clearwater and AA Reading.

The other player is Brett Wallace. Wallace was dealt from Oakland to Toronto in a secondary deal following the original three-team trade. Wallace became expendable in Oakland with the acquisition of Jake Fox.

Wallace’s defensive skills are being called into question, and the A’s already have plenty of first basemen who have better combinations of power and defense for the position.

Wallace is by no means a slouch, but he does not play Gold Glove-caliber defense. He likely ends up at first base, or as a DH. Because Toronto may have Adam Lind penciled in to the DH spot for the foreseeable future, first base it is.

Lyle Overbay would likely not be re-signed and that would open up a spot for Wallace. He can certainly hit, and the Blue Jays will have a place for him.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies