Looking Back At That Halladay Trade

An article by posted on January 4, 2012

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, posted his regular mailbag feature this week and I found this Q&A pretty interesting:

I don’t want to be “that guy,” but am I the only fan ruing the day that the Mets did not pull the trigger on trading for Roy Halladay? There’s no doubt that Halladay is one of the top pitchers in the league. There’s just as little doubt that Fernando Martinez is a bust. – Matt F., Farmingdale, N.Y.

Sure. The Mets probably regret trading Tom Seaver, too.

It’s easy to look back and say the Mets should have traded for Halladay in 2009, just as it’s easy to criticize umpteen other deals made and not made over the years. But recall that to land Halladay, the Mets would have reportedly had to give up not only Martinez, but also Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell and Ruben Tejada, forcing them to part with three of their top five prospects for a 32-year-old pitcher with significant mileage on his arm.

In hindsight, of course that deal would have gone in New York’s favor, given Halladay’s freakish production since that summer. But recall that Martinez was one of baseball’s top overall prospects at the time, coveted by nearly every team in the league. Parnell was a young reliever capable of throwing triple-digit heat. Niese was the organization’s top pitching hope.

The deal hinged on Martinez, and almost no one in baseball foresaw the outfielder’s fall from super prospect to apparent bust. But that’s the nature of the game. Sometimes, can’t-miss prospects miss.

I remember when that trade went down, there was a big concern that the Phillies had wiped out their farm system after sending four of their top prospects to the Cleveland Indians for Cliff Lee only six months earlier that season. None of those prospects ever panned out, by the way.

The centerpiece of the trade for the Blue Jays was the Phillies top prospect RHP Kyle Drabek who was ranked in the Top 25 of all prospects by Baseball America in 2009 and 2010, and No. 29 in their Pre-2011 rankings.

One of the reason’s I’ve never been huge on holding back from acquiring proven talents like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, is that all too many times the prospects you hung onto never amount to much. The odds are that more than two-thirds of a team’s top ten prospects never even have MLB careers longer than three seasons.

Look at Kyle Drabek now…

Drabek’s 2011 season was a complete disaster and even after he was eventually demoted back to Triple-A, he just continued to get worse.

In 78 2/3 innings pitched, Drabek posted a 5.83 ERA and 1.805 WHIP over 14 starts. He allowed more walks (55) than strikeouts (51), and had an opposing .857 OPS.

The Jays were forced to demoted him to AAA in June, but Drabek continued to slide and posted a 7.44 ERA and 2.026 WHIP in 15 starts, allowing 111 hits and 41 walks in 75 innings while striking out just 45 batters.

The former Phillies first round pick (#18 overall) has become an enigma for the Blue Jays and his awful showing in 2011 has cast doubts on his future and his major league career could be in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, in two seasons Roy Halladay has won 40 games for the Phillies with a 2.39 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 65 starts. In 483 innings pitched, Doc has struck out 439 batters while issuing only 65 walks. How sick is that?

I won’t even mention the perfect game and the Cy Young Award… Ooops, I just did….

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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