Eight years ago today (time flies), Alex Anthopoulos traded Roy Halladay to the Phillies for Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud.
Was it really that long ago? I guess, in some ways, it seems longer, so much has happened since, but it doesn’t seem like more than eight years since we watched Doc in a Blue Jays uniform.
It was a long day with a ton of rumors.
At first, we thought it was a 3-way deal, with Doc going to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee going to Seattle and the Jays getting Phil Aumont and Dominic Brown.
Soon after, more rumors, J.A. Happ was among the players that might be coming to Toronto (I wonder what ever happened to him?). Also Michael Saunders was mentioned. Somewhere in there I mention that I really didn't want Happ.
Finally, around 2 in the morning Eastern time, we had the trade down. It turned out that instead of a 3-way trade, the Phillies were involved in two trades. Picking up Doc, and sending Cliff Lee to Seattle for Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez. I kind of liked the trade:
If it goes as it stands now it's a really good job by Alex Anthopoulos. Without a lot of teams seriously bidding, he seems to have gotten more than you could really expect for a player entering the last year of his contract.
The next day, the trade still wasn't official, but we did learn that Michael Taylor would be flipped to the A's for Brett Wallace (who would be our 'first baseman of the future, for about 7 months, until he was traded to the Astros for Anthony Gose, who would be our center fielder of the future, until he was traded to the Tigers for Devon Travis, who is our second baseman of the ‘if he ever can stay healthy’).
The another day later, the trade still wasn't official, rumors were that someone failed his physical, but we were sure the trade was going through. Hugo had a run down of various opinions, and most seemed to think the Jays did pretty well. Keith Law said that:
(he) doubts Drabek can be a true ace because of the lack of a great third pitch, but likes him as a number two or, at worst, a number three. He thinks Wallace will be a great hitter, albeit as a first-baseman. And he projects d'Arnaud as a solid everyday catcher. Sounds like a plan to me.
I had a Goodbye Doc post, when it was all said and done. I love how the comment thread turned into a discussion on pie.
And we took a look at Baseball Prospectus view of the trade. They liked it a lot:
It's too easy to say that Drabek could grow into a Halladay replacement, but he has that kind of ability. Remember that the Blue Jays have shown a facility for turning lesser pitchers into league-average starters. Drabek has more talent than any pitcher in their system. D'Arnaud is a polished hitter with a strong enough arm to remain behind the plate, and while he doesn't have the star potential Drabek has, he projects as an inexpensive, good player at a key position.
Yeah, we were all wrong on Drabek. He couldn’t find that delivery that could give him the command of the strike zone that a pitcher needs in the MLB.
In the comment thread we got into a discussion about whether the Taylor/Wallace trade was a good move or not. It morphed into a discussion about if a player as big was Taylor could stay a '5-tool' player for long. As it turned out, he was more a no tool player in the majors. He played 37 MLB games, spread out over 4 seasons, for the A’s and the White Sox. He was last seen, in the MLB, in 2014.
Wallace has played parts of 6 seasons in the majors, hitting .238/.316/.389 in 494 split between the Astros and the Padres. He last played in the majors in 2016.
The trade didn't turn out the way we expected. But Taylor was traded for Wallace who was traded for Gose who was traded for Devon Travis. He looked pretty good, when healthy. Unfortunately he hasn’t been healthy enough. And Travis d'Arnaud was part of the trade that got us R.A. Dickey, not a great trade, but Dickey has pitched 654.2 innings for us, putting up a 6.8 bWAR.
And Doc, well you know. He played 4 seasons with the Phillies (and he never looked right in that red Phillies jersey). He won another Cy Young and finished second the next season. And he finally made it to the playoffs, were he pitched a no-hitter. He never won that World Series ring.
And he tragically died this November. It has been a long time since the death of someone I’ve never met made me so sad.