By now you may have heard about the huge three-team swap involving the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, and Seattle Mariners. All the details aren’t in — and until they are, the whole thing seems a bit mysterious. The big news is that the Phillies obtained Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, but at the expense of trading Cliff Lee to the Mariners. It isn’t clear why the Phillies made this deal, since Lee is regarded by most analysts as Halladay’s near equal and is fifteen months younger, and. as Yankee hitters can attest, he’s World Series proven.
Nor is it clear exactly why Seattle, who led the American League in ERA last season, needed another ace starter — unless they plan on trading someone for an ace hitter, since they finished dead last in the AL in runs scored. Perhaps the Mariners have their eye on the Red Sox’s Jason Bay, who hit 36 home runs, drove in 119 runs and stole 13 bases last season and is reported to be ready to leave Boston.
If that’s the case, the Red Sox, who just obtained John Lackey from the Angels, will now have, almost certainly, the best starting rotation in the American League but are going to be short on power when Bay leaves.
What is perhaps most puzzling about all this is the inaction of the Yankees or Mets to make a serious move for Halladay, Lee, or Lackey. In the Yankees’ case it might make sense if they can sign Bay — a right-handed power hitter who can hit 35-40 home runs might counter the Red Sox’s acquisition of Lackey. So far, no rumors in this direction, but they could develop by tomorrow….