If early reports from Jon Heyman are to be believed, the Phillies have sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners and received Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, potentially losing a prospect or two in the process. The Mets are going to get murdered by the ravenous Bill Madden-led New York press for sitting idly by while the Phillies acquire arguably the games' best pitcher. Some Mets fans are going to wave the white flag.
In reality, this move is pretty lateral for the Phillies. They traded a 6-WAR pitcher for a 7-WAR pitcher, with the net-gain likely to be even less than 10 runs. While this move may prove to be a better long-term decision, if they can get Halladay extended, in 2010 it isn't checkmate for the N.L. East. Interestingly, the Mets likely overreaction counter-move might end up being a bigger splash in terms of pure talent added to the 2010 squad. Knowing the Mets, that could be at the cost of a potentially debilitating contract. Luckily, though, the most obvious target to overpay, John Lackey, is freshly off the market. Lackey is a nice pitcher, no doubt, but I worried that the Mets would be over-investing in a pitcher will tangible signs of decline and without improving the defense needed behind him.
Many of you expressed a desire for the Mets to let the Phillies get Halladay, so the Mets could graduate a younger more affordable team of prospects in 2011-2012. Those prospects are no sure things, however, and with David and Jose becoming progressively more expensive, and Johan and K-Rod's backloaded contracts, the Mets may be wise to view these next two years as their window. I'm not saying that trading a bunch of prospects in a hasty reaction-move is right or smart, but it's certainly tempting, and may be in store whether you want it or not. Whatever happens, things certainly got more interesting.