Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pitching dominoes don't hurt Yanks

In an amazing array of moves, three of the top starting pitchers in baseball are on their way to new homes. The Red Sox and Angels ace John Lackey have reportedly agreed on a five-year, $85 million contract. The Phillies traded Cliff Lee to Seattle to get Roy "Doc" Halladay in a three-way trade with the Blue Jays.

Although I am really disappointed by the Yankees' failure to pry Doc away from Toronto, the dominoes couldn't have fallen any better for Brian Cashman and the Yanks. Their hated rivals do get a good starter in Lackey, but they paid a ton and were probably not thrilled at having to offer that fifth year. More importantly, they don't get Halladay or Lee, who are both better than Lackey, and Halladay goes to the National League while Lee goes West. The Yanks may see Lee or Halladay one or two times a year compared to constantly having to face Doc in a division-heavy playing schedule.

The decision by the Phillies to trade Lee really surprised me. Lee was impressive during the playoffs and his domination of the Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series nearly propelled the Phillies to a second consecutive title. I thought they were pursuing Halladay to form an unbeatable one-two punch in the National League. But apparently they had concerns about whether they could sign him. Not that Halladay will be that much easier as he no doubt will demand CC Sabathia money ($23 million per year).

So what does Cashman do next? I imagine he continues to scour the free-agent starting pitching market in the hopes of getting a reasonable deal. Good luck with that. Now that Halladay and Lackey are both off the market, the competition for injured or mediocre starters will be even worse as desperate teams (i.e. the Mets) look for pitching.
Thanks to Nick Ball via Wikipedia for the photo.

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