This Cliff Lee thing really snuck up on me.
The guy hit the ground running. Coming from a crappy Indians team, I remember his face on the cover of the Daily News as he crossed home plate after getting a hit and scoring a run in his first game as a Phillie. He lost a few straight late in the season, but for the most part, he was a consistent, strike-chucking, inning-devouring, bad-ass hurler.
And now he’s all but gone.
I’ll be honest, the only real joy I got from the idea of a Halladay trade was the fact that he’d be back to back in the rotation with Cliff. Halladay by himself is terrrific news; he’s a Hall-of-Famer, yeah, yeah, fine.
Cliff’s here now. His transition was seamless and he was dominant as hell. I remember watching him backhand that grounder in the World Series and I almost threw my beer against the wall in sheer ecstasy (In Philly, our happiness is basically just rage with a smile). He wants to win, and if we had three Cliff Lee’s, we would have won the World Series.
Though that’s not really an argument, because there were plenty of teams who could have capitalized on a rotation like that.
Roy Halladay is fantastic, and there’s every reason to believe I’ll be throwing stuff at the wall because of things he’ll do with a baseball in the coming months as well. We all know, however, if he shows anything less than what Cliff brought (or to that matter, anything less than the “otherworldly god” status he has achieved), he is going to get shit all over by Philadelphia. Roy went 3-10 from mid June to the end of August. He’s not perfect.
Maybe he’s an upgrade, but if we win a game because Cliff Lee strikes out 7 guys, or we win a game because Roy Halladay strikes out 9 guys, it’s still the same end result. All we’re seeing is a different pitcher.
The value I put on a Halladay trade was in the way it complemented Cliff Lee. With Lee gone, it will still go Ace, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, and… I don’t know, Kendrick? Because the last thing you want to see is Jamie Moyer’s groin explode in front of 46,000 cheering fans. You don’t even have to be a baseball fan to know that.
And yeah, I am glad we held onto Happ. But, this is why the offseason can be a lot of cringing and moaning.
How much better are we with Halladay? Switch Roy for Cliff in, let’s just say, the World Series, and… we still win only two games, and they’re still the two games that our ace pitches.
Happy trails, Cliff, if this deal is as close as they’re saying.
In other news, my god, the Angels’s campaign for an ace ended quite poorly.