Dec 9, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Roy Halladay announces his retirement at the MLB Winter Meetings at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Halladay signed a one-day contract and retired with the Toronto Blue Jays. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Drabek came into that draft as one of the more heralded high school arms available. He possessed a blazing fastball and sharp curveball that had scouts drooling. Unfortunately for him, his career was derailed by Tommy John surgery, causing him to produce only -0.1 bWAR thus far.
Of course at that time, the pick was widely considered the right choice. Drabek was a great prospect, one that many thought the team could build a future rotation around. Injuries just got in the way. Where the team got lucky is that those injuries weren’t in their organization.
Drabek was used as the centerpiece in the deal to acquire Roy Halladay, giving the team the ace it needed to keep its run of dominance going. While they weren’t able to deliver on getting another championship with Halladay, having Drabek available makes this draft choice quite wise.
Cardenas was also another decent prospect. He was considered a future .300 hitter with natural hitting ability. However, he also was used in an important trade, heading to Oakland in the Joe Blanton trade. Blanton would contribute with his arm and bat in the 2008 World Series, making that trade well worth the prospects sent away. This draft was a clear win for the team.
Notable players drafted after Phillies’ pick: Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain. Kennedy has been an above average starter when healthy for the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Padres. However, were he to be picked instead of Drabek, would he have been enough to acquire Halladay? Doubtful. Many publications saw Kennedy as more of a #3 pitcher, while Drabek was considered a future ace. It’s hard imagine the Blue Jays trading a franchise icon for someone whose ceiling wasn’t that high.
Next: Phillies Draft 2007: What Was and Could Have Been