The Dip: What is Done is Done

Posted by The Dipsy, Tue, January 05, 2010 06:15 PM | Comments: 70
Opinion, Posts, The Dip

This is The Dip, a column penned by our regular commenter, The Dipsy.

Things without remedy, shall be without regard; what is done, is done.
– William Shakespeare

I offer this entry as much for me as for my humble readers. For as I put ink to paper, or contemporarily speaking – font to plasma – I do so to clarify my doubt and to pacify my own restless soul. If in this task, I can offer other heretofore bewildered Phillies fans closure to the tumult that has been holiday baseball in the Delaware Valley, I do so humbly and without expectation of recompense for the service.

As I was blogging back and forth earlier this week with “frienemies” Chuck and psujoe, I paused to contemplate anew the events surrounding the Cliff Lee trade. When I concluded my exercise I found the gnawing side stitch that has been my constant companion for these last few weeks had dissipated and that suddenly I was able to look upon spring training with a full breast and an unburdened heart. With permission, I ask to retrace old steps but with a fresh set of eyes.

Ruben wanted Roy Halladay for 4 years. We all did and Ruben got him. But in the bargain, in order to meet a payroll or replenish a farm system, he had to trade Cliff Lee. The deals were done with dispatch but raised pointed and fair questions as to the methodology utilized by Ruben. I am going to try and answer them.

Why the two trades together? I think that, armed with the knowledge that if he got Halladay he would have to get rid of Lee, he chose to trade Lee immediately, thus enabling the club to give the impression to the vast majority of the fan base that the acquisition of Halladay was in fact tied to the departure of Lee, and consequently, watering down the fan base’s disappointment of Lee leaving the team. While all of us on this site know better, Joe Average does not.

Why not hold on to Lee and trade him later for more? Once the Halladay deal is done the fans go to sleep at night dreaming of the best rotation in baseball featuring a one-two punch akin to Koufax-Drysdale. Could Ruben, in the face of a wholesale rebellion reminiscent of the storming of the Bastille, honestly put this town through a process where Ruben looks to deal Cliff for the best batch of prospects instead of the “OK’ batch he got? Could we actually stand by and watch that happen? That would have been public relations suicide. For those of you who think for a second that Ruben could have deftly worked behind the scenes to make a trade happen without word leaking out – fat chance. Also, and not to be discounted, on top of everything else, what do you tell Cliff and his agent when the Phillies have, presumably in good faith, spoken with Lee about a contract extension. You can’t bargain with the man while trying to trade him. At this point, Ruben is GM-ing with one hand behind his back – and he takes the respectable group of prospects lest this all drags out.

Why the Mariners? In order for a deal like this to go down, you need ziplocked lips by all parties. If not, the Angels get wind and jump in, then the Yankees, and whoever else. The deal falls apart because when everything goes public and it becomes a feeding frenzy. Different teams start calling Toronto about Halladay while different teams start calling us about Lee and the whole thing gets screwed up and Ruben loses Halladay. He wouldn’t let that happen. So my guess is that this deal had to pretty much been nailed down at the winter meetings with the teams agreeing to stay cool until everybody could agree on the prospects. No small task. That is where Pat Gillick comes in – and let’s face it, he’s been involved all along. The “honest broker” and “straight shooter” with strong ties to all three teams keeps things in line because each team will listen to him to varying degrees. That’s why Seattle was involved.

I have come to believe the above set of facts to be a reasonable facsimile of what actually happened and, more importantly, why it happened. I believe it, and because of my belief, I have been able to let go of my demons. I am at peace with the deal and I think that if Ruben could have found a way to keep both pitchers he would have. Go Phils.

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About The Dipsy

The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Not only does the site have links to all the baseball writers, it has rumors by teams, FA listings 2010 and 2011 and some pretty good features like important dates, Elias rankings formula etc.


    is another great site. It has all the contract information by team so you can see were teams stand in terms of payroll.

    These two sites in conjunction with philliesnation and phuturephillies is all a person needs to be informed on baseball and the phillies organization.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Ditto, Ed R……mlbtraderumors is a great site.

    And…just for the record…I’m of the opinion that Jayson Stark is one of the best in the business.



    Polanco is a good option at 1B…for a year…if needed. No.. he’s not gonna pick it consistently like Mark Texeiria…but I don’t think he’d embarrass himself either at the position.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Don – The market did not dictated the Ibanez deal or the Moyer deal. Ruben signed Raul at the beginning of free agency, before everything could shake out, even though we all knew the economy was going to drive contracts down, and it did. Please don’t cite the Milton Bradley deal as one that set the market. The Cubs are brain dead (SEE: BYRD, Marlon). Don’t forget a much better hitter than Ibanez, Bobby Abreu, signed for 5m near the end of free agency. Why Moyer even got signed is beyond me. Who signs a 45 year old man to a two year deal? Thats not “market”, that’s dumb. Listen to Ken Rosenthal for my baseball news (I like the other guys)? That guy can’t get what he had for breakfast right. Nice enough fella, but a crappy reporter.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I’m pretty sure that the Blue Jays wouldn’t trade Halladay without getting Drabek .. same as in the summer

    he was the deal breaker

    What we did in our two most recent deals, was trade some major-league ready talent to re-fill the farm a little… non of the guys we traded were going to see any playing time anyway

    Donald, Marson, Carrasco… Taylor.. none of them were going to take the place of anyone on the roster this year, and the Phillies didn’t want to hold them down in AAA any longer

    hopefully one, two, or all three of the guys we got from Seattle will go on to be an effective major league player.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Well, Dipsy I am glad you have seen the light. As I said in earlier posts on this people just need to understand the dynamics of these types of deals. This was a very tricky and deftly handed move by Amaro. Fact is that he would have kept Lee if the Halladay deal was not done and beleive me done is not done until all details are agreed.
    There was, as you noted, no time to put Lee up for auction. By the way, why do we think he is worth more than we gave up for him?
    Anyway, Lee is gone and Halladay is here for 4 years. Be happy!

  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    i heard the Boston deal for Beltre was 1 year 9 million, is there an option year for 11 million I did not see. And if it is true that Phillies offered him 3 years at 24 million and he turned it down, then I like the PP signing even better. Does he think he can produce in beantown and get a bigger contract next year? I personally do not mine the extra year on PP deal if that meant they got him cheaper. Say they would have to give him 7 or 8 million for 2 years.
    As far as Wreth, I really feel he will give the Phillies a discount if they resign him this year to an extension, maybe it is just me but 3 or 4 years with an average of 14 or 15 million a year back loaded in the final two years would be a deal. 4 years 60 million I think that would be fine. Also I think as long as they are winning I see the payroll increasing each year by a small amount, like maybe 150 million in ’11 and 170 million in ’12.
    Also I know a lot of you think Ryan is definitely walking, but I think if they keep winning even he will give a little discount to stay for 4 or 5 more years. Granted it will be over 20 million a year, but if St. Louis can afford to do a 7 year 120 million why can’t the Phillies do a 5 110 million deal for Ryan.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I dont like Rosenthal …but what baseball news does he get wrong?

    Ibanez was targeted as the guy we wanted.. and we got him … and his early season performance got us wins, that count just as much as wins in the 2nd half of the season..

    Ibanez early in the year was almost as good as Howard late in the year

    A bunch of teams were interested in Ibanez, and if we didn’t sign him when we did, we would’ve been forced into keeping Burrell, getting Bradley, or.. Abreu

    The team started winning when Bobby Abreu left … and his contract looked good, but he doesn’t fit with this team

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Ken Rosenthal is an embarrassment to baseball…and journalism.


    Again…I would take Ibanez over Abreu any day…so maybe we DID overpay to get Raul….he was the better choice…and he’s proved himself.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Werth doesn’t owe anyone anything …. he helped the Phillies with his play

  • Posts: 0 The Dipstick

    psujoe, you sir are an imbecile and a disgrace to all baseball fans.

    The Dipstick

  • Posts: 0 The Dipstick


    Just kidding I was out of line there.

    The Dipstick

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    So Don you have a crystal ball? How do you know the phillies couldn’t get more for lee? Just like the blues jays did held out for drabek, the phillies could have held out for more. But they were afraid if they didnt move him they would have to pay him, NO BALLS, worse case is you have lee for a year, and have a great staff and walk away with two first round choices, but you have a crystal ball . And why couldn’t the phillies offer a twenty four hour to negoatiate with lee on a extension? and then you really would get a top prospects and a major league arm no doubt. Lee agent said he wanted to test free agency if he still was in cleveland not here or la or whatever other team would pay him.

  • Posts: 0 PhxPhilly

    Abreu last year and Lohse the year before. Both of those players got way lower deals than projected at the start of Free Agency. (Lohse was offered 3 yr $21M by the Phillies and ended up with 1yr $4.5M.) Who will be this year’s value special?
    My vote is for Jermaine Dye. He will still put up .800 OPS and can play RF. One of the other DH or 1B types might also have a good hitting year but Dye can still field.
    Remaining FA’s I think are still good for a multi-year deal are Tejeda, Bedard, and Hudson.
    Most likely I think the Phillies sign Miguel Bastista to a minor league deal. The have had interest in him. He’s at the end of his career and might like to go out on a playoff team. Mulder or Prior would be good choices if they’d accept minor league deals assuming they might get to start in the playoffs, like Martinez did this past season.
    Some other team will give Myers, Smoltz, Wang a chance at starting for about $5M.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Getting back to Lee–

    I still think the Phils got the best deals in the end. They gave up four players to get Lee AND Francisco. Marson couldn’t cut it when he played for the big club earlier in the year, Donald projected as a utility man, Clueless Carrasco was a six year minor leaguer with great stuff but no ability to use it and seemingly no real desire to use it, and Knapp, who is so young, you can’t make any real projections about him. When Lee was traded, we got to keep Francisco, and got three prospects who project higher than those we gave up.

    I really don’t see that Amaro could have done better, even by waiting. Other teams were interested in HALLADAY. The names kicked around, though mostly better, were probably not available in a trade for Lee. A team would have to be really desperate to trade anyone good for someone they’d be losing at the end of the year. The Twins got almost nothing for Santana, even though Santana’s track record is more consistent than Lee’s.

    While you or I may think Lee is a great hurler, it’s become quite apparent with recent trades, that general managers and scouts don’t see him in the same light. We should maybe be glad we got back what we did.

  • Posts: 0 NEPA

    I cant see why people come on here and say Cliff Lee wasnt worth any more than what we recd for him in this lousy trade.
    This guy is a Cy Young award winner and proved he can pitch in the big games..Look at his record in the playoffs and series.How many pitchers are comparable?
    If we would have just waited and spread the word about our intentions to trade him…nobody would be bitching .Some team would have give value for value.

  • Posts: 0 Philsgirl

    As PhxPhilly said, “I agree with the intent of the article: Please get over the Cliff Lee trade. I won’t though because I think they had other options (to shed salary) if they waited. They got the bad PR anyway. Amaro has said numerous times that the playoffs are all about pitching. And I cannot think of a better use of budget than an ACE pitcher at $9M.”

    Absolutely agree w/you. And how much value would have been added, considering our ailing pen, to have at least 2 aces who can often finish games or go 8 innings and provide some much needed rest, or help us with a margin such that the relievers have to worry less often about completely shutting down the other guys. Add that to the fact that the championship core is pretty much gone in 2011, and I remain convinced this year would have been our best shot at the year for the ring and management should have maximized on it, rather than worrying about trying to keep us a still-really-good-but-not-quite-championship team in the next few years.

    Dipsy, if I’m not mistaken, I think your previous analogy was trying to make the “strike while the iron is hot” point. Now the stated assumption in your post is that to get Halladay for 4 yrs, Ruben *had* to trade *Lee* specifically, explanation being “in order to meet a payroll or replenish a farm system.” Other ways to go about this have been hashed and re-hashed for weeks, and it’s the why it had to be Lee this year to accomplish this that I’m still uncertain about. Why was RAJ “armed with the knowledge that if he got Halladay he would have to get rid of Lee” this year? I do believe that if Lee had to go in 2010, it went down the right way, but I’m intrigued about Dipsy’s apparently heartfelt 180, ‘cause I usually share his POV, and I too would like to feel acceptance rather than resignation regarding this trade.

    Off-topic – nice to see another Phils fan in Phx!

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Hey Philsgurl – This article was about trying to understand where the Phils were coming from and trying fill holes where the logic breaks down. RAJ obviously wanted Halladay but didn’t have carte blanche in order to get him. So he made the “necessary” sacrifice. OK. I think I understand. I went from not understanding and disagreeing with the trade, to now just disagreeing. But I do understand and that takes away a lot of the anxiety. BTW, I deal with profound mood disorders.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Philsgirl

    Dipsy – yeah, looks like we’re on the same page.. I understand Ruben’s hands were probably tied from above, I was just trying to get closure on the rationale for the tying. I realize in the end the Lee trade most likely involved more than either pure budget or farm replenishment concerns alone and involved discussions/maneuvering to which we “non-baseball civilians” will probably never be privy (e.g., agreed the Pat Gillick ties would be too coincidental), and in the end we have to be satisfied with “Halladay/Lee for 2010 couldn’t be done” and go from there. It’s just too bad when you think of the possibilities for the record books and our franchise history as a whole, but whichever powers-that-be who decided not to dream must have their reasoning (with which I would still probably never agree). My parting shot to them is, although baseball’s a business, it’s still a game, and it’s not horseshoes or hand grenades. Okay, now I feel better. On to other discussions, and spring training. Hey, Dipsy, when you say you deal with profound mood disorders, do you have them or help them…

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I have them. And I note that they are almost all triggered by sports related events. Probably the two worst, and I don’t know how old you are, were actually Eagles games. The first was the Fog Bowl and the second was Tampa Bay-Eagles NFC Championship Game. The former causing real anger concerns and the latter requiring medication for depression. But on the whole I consider myself pretty healthy, so fret not :)

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 111111111111

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