I read on Big League Stew that Rollins was on the Dan Patrick Show (listen to the audio here) the other day, talking about a number of burning issues, including the Donovan McNabb trade and the Cliff Lee deal. Here's what J-Roll said about why the Phillies didn't hang on to Lee:
“That, I have no idea. I’m sure we could afford him. We turned nearly 4 million people through the turnstiles last year. I don’t know. You should have (Phillies GM) Ruben (Amaro) on here… When the trade happened, I actually got a text from Jayson Werth and he was like, ‘What are we doing?’ And I was like, ‘Didn’t we get Halladay?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, but we traded Lee.’ And my mouth dropped like, ‘That wasn’t part of the deal.’ I really don’t know. I thought we had enough to keep him. I thought we could have done enough to keep him."Here's the part that Yankee fans will like:
"I guess that’s just a move the Yankees do… That’s just the truth. The Yankees would have been like, ‘Hey, we got a chance to keep both of them. We’ll pay them both for a year or two and we got a chance to win a championship.’”He's got that right! There's no way the Yankees would have traded Lee, no matter how good the prospects may have been. I just had this very discussion with a Phillies fan last week. I said that if the Yankees had the opportunity to have both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay on their team, they would have kept them both.
Squawker Jon and I have discussed this as well, and he had some good points on why what the Phillies did makes little sense:
After trading for him, the Phillies gave Halladay a three-year, $60 million contract extension (he is making 15.75 million for this season.) But here's the thing. After the Phillies traded Lee, they signed Joe Blanton to a three-year, $24 million contract extension, avoiding arbitration for 2010. What would Cliff Lee had made in 2010 for the Phillies? Nine million.
In addition, according to the numbers I found on Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Blue Jays are subsidizing $6 million of Halladay's 2010 contract. You tell me the Phillies couldn't afford both Halladay and Lee? C'mon now!
And yes, I know that Lee would cost more with a post-2010 contract extension. But, worst case scenario, if you ride out having Lee for another year and don't re-sign him, you have a chance at another World Series title in 2010. Why wouldn't you go for it now? We play today, we win today, dassit, as Yankee Mariano Duncan used to say.
Cliff Lee was terrific for the Phillies in the playoffs last year. He wanted to stay in Philadelphia. But maybe it's a good thing - for Yankee fans, at least - that he's now with Seattle. Because Halladay and Lee as the 1-2 punch really would have made the Phillies, to use a Rollinsism, The Team To Beat in the World Series!
What do you think? Tell us about it!