So, it seems that the Blue Jays, Phillies, and Mariners have arranged a blockbuster deal where Roy Halladay will go to Philadelphia and Cliff Lee will end up in Seattle. The Phillies also get Mariners prospects Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and Juan Ramirez, plus $6 million in cash from the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays get Phillies prospects Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis D’Arnaud (thanks to MLBTradeRumors.com for gathering the details from all the circulating reports).
This is quite a deal to break down, but I’ll try. There are only two major-league players involved, and both have one year left on their current deals before becoming free agents. Halladay will make almost $16 million and I have being worth around $17 million. Lee will make $8 million, and I estimate him being worth $15 million. Straight-up the Phillies don’t look so good here, but this is where the cash and prospects come in. I have recently developed a system for valuing prospects based on their minor-league performance. It’s complicated, and I will be explaining it in my forthcoming book (details on that to come), but it involves projecting the expected worth of minor-league players based on their performance. So, below, I have the expected value of the rights to all the players in the deal in millions of dollars. These values are crude, but they should get the job done.
Team In Out Phillies Halladay (1+) Lee (7) Aumont (4) Taylor (4) Gillies (2.5) D'Arnaud (+) Ramirez (1.5) Drabek (4) CASH (6) Total 15 15 Blue Jays Drabek (4) Halladay (1) Taylor (4) CASH (6) D'Arnaud (+) Total 8 7 Mariners Lee (7) Aumont (4) Gillies (2.5) Ramirez (1.5) Total 7 8 Grand Total 30++ 30
The pluses indicate that there is some unquantified value. For D’Audard, he is so low in the minors that I cannot adequately project his worth. He’s worth something positive, but it’s hard to say how much. For Halladay, the + reflects the value to the Phillies to being able to lock up Halladay before he hits the free agent market. This may net them a small discount as well as offers stability. Note that Toronto doesn’t loose this value, because he was not going to sign with the team. John Heyman is reporting that the Phillies and Halladay have agreed to a three-year $60 million deal, plus some vesting options. I have Halladay worth $55 million over that span to the average team—close to the actual contract—and because the Phillies are a good team he ought to be worth more. So, he seems to be getting a good deal and the Phillies may be getting a small discount.
In the end, all the teams are coming out about even, and of course all the GMs believe they are coming out ahead with a new group of players. I’m kind of surprised it worked out so neatly, especially with so much cash involved.
UPDATE: I just realized that I was estimating the discounted present values of the prospects and major-leaguers in different years’ dollars. I’ve corrected the error.