|A pair of former Cy Young Award winners switched teams in the second three-team blockbuster this month. The first time out, the Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson. This time, the Phillies landed righthander Roy Halladay (from the Blue Jays), while the Mariners netted lefty Cliff Lee (from the Phillies). Toronto also sent $6 million to the Phillies to help offset the difference in salaries between the departing Lee and the incoming Halladay.
For parting with their aces, the Blue Jays and Phillies each receive a trio of prospects. Headed to Toronto (via the Phillies): righthander Kyle Drabek and corner outfielder Michael Taylor, both of whom spent most of the year in Double-A, as well as low Class A catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
Headed to Philadelphia (via the Mariners) are righthanders Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez as well as swift center fielder Tyson Gillies. Aumont spent the second half of the ’09 season in Double-A, but all three began the year with high Class A High Desert, a club that won 83 games and made it all the way to the California League finals.
|Blue Jays Acquire|
|Kyle Drabek, rhp
Born: Dec. 8, 1987 in The Woodlands, Texas.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: The Woodlands (Texas) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in first round (18th overall) of 2006 draft; signed July 5, 2006.
In Drabek, the Blue Jays get the Phillies’ 2006 first-round pick and son of ex-big leaguer Doug Drabek, the 1990 Cy Young Award winner. He’s come as far the last two years as any prospect, having missed the second half of 2007 and the first half of ’08 to Tommy John surgery. Drabek improved his delivery and changeup while rehabilitating from the surgery, and had his best season as a pro in 2009, making an impressive appearance in the Futures Game and finishing up in Double-A. Drabek could be a No. 2 starter on a championship team, with athletic ability, improving command and three average-to-plus pitches. His fastball sits 90-93 mph and touches higher, and he has good control and improving command of the pitch. His curveball can be tight with good depth and impressive power, and his changeup also flashes plus potential. His move to an American League organization will negate one of his strengths, as he’s a fine hitter for a pitcher.
|Michael Taylor, lf
Age: 23. Position: LF (67 G), RF (38 G).
Born: Dec. 19, 1985 in Cheverly, Md.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 250. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in fifth round of 2007 draft; signed June 13, 2007.
Taylor left his winter assignment in the Mexican Pacific League in November due to elbow soreness, the only black mark on an otherwise stellar 2009 campaign. The 24-year-old Stanford alumnus has shown five-tool ability with excellent size at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. He runs well for his size. Taylor hit a combined .334 with 39 home runs and 36 stolen bases the last two seasons, working his way up through four stops from low Class A through Triple-A. Taylor was a left fielder in the Phillies system and has an average arm that should play in right, which he played in the low minors. Scouts’ biggest knocks on him are for his defense, which fits better in left, and his power, which is only slightly above-average and a bit short for a true left fielder’s profile. His swing has been more oriented for contact despite his size, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
|Travis d’Arnaud, c
Age: 20. Position: C (99 G).
Born: Feb. 10, 1989 in Lakewood, Calif.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Lakewood (Calif.) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in supplemental first round (37th overall) of 2007 draft; signed June 16, 2007.
d’Arnaud, whose brother Chase plays shortstop and second base in the Pirates organization, had a huge second half to help lead low Class A Lakewood to the South Atlantic League title. He has good defensive tools behind the plate and an emerging bat with plus raw power. He led the SAL with 38 doubles. d’Arnaud’s hitting ability is allowing him to tap into his power more, as he hit .302 after the all-star break last season. He has a plus arm and good receiving skills, but has some footwork issues to address defensively, as he threw out a mere 23 percent of basestealers in ’09.
|Phillippe Aumont, rhp
Born: Jan. 7, 1989 in Gatineau, Quebec.
Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 220. Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: du Versant SS, Gatineau, Quebec.
Career Transactions: Selected by Mariners in first round (11th overall) of 2007 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2007.
The Mariners surprised Aumont in spring training with the announcement that he would continue his career as a reliever. He proceeded to save 12 games in 14 chances for high Class A High Desert before running into resistance in Double-A. After elbow soreness limited the towering righthander to 56 innings in 2008, the organization reasoned that not only would the move accelerate his readiness for the big leagues, but it also would help keep him on the field. Aumont throws across his body slightly, which gives his pitches above-average life but places additional strain on his shoulder. His heavy sinker ranges from 92-95 mph with plus-plus life down in the zone. He dials his four-seamer up to 98. His mid-70s curveball features occasional plus 12-to-6 break, especially when he repeats his high three-quarters arm slot and gets extension on the front side of his delivery. The biggest thing holding Aumont him back is an overall lack of command in the zone, but if he discovers it he has true closer potential.
|Tyson Gillies, cf
Age: 21. Position: CF (123 G).
Born: Oct. 31, 1988 in Vancouver, B.C.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 190. Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: Iowa Western CC.
Career Transactions: Selected by Mariners in 25th round of 2006 draft; signed May 30, 2007.
A Mariners’ draft-and-follow find from Langley, British Columbia, Gillies skipped over low Class A on his way to the high Class A California League in ’09. Despite his inexperience, he produced on a grand scale, ranking third in the minors in average (.341) and triples (14), fourth in runs scored (104) and fifth in on-base percentage (.430). Formerly the top athlete in Mariners system, he grades as an 80 runner on the 20-to-80 scouting scale by some evaluators, and he paced the Cal League with 44 stolen bases. Gillies’ speed translates into well above-average range in center field, where he boasts of plus arm strength. His hand-eye coordination and feel for the strike zone give him a chance to hit .280 or better. Gillies hit only one home run away from the hitter’s paradise that is High Desert, as his slap-and-run approach rules out power almost completely. Hearing deficiencies require Gillies to wear hearing aids in both ears, but he’s adapted by learning to read lips proficiently.
|J.C. Ramirez, rhp
Born: Aug. 16, 1988 in Managua, Nicaragua.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 225. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Mariners, July 2, 2005.
High Desert is such a hostile pitching environment that you can largely disregard Ramirez’s final ’09 pitching line. He pitched much better in 11 road starts, compiling a 3.09 ERA in with just two home runs allowed over 64 innings. Ramirez has mid-rotation potential if he can improve his concentration on the mound and learn to repeat his delivery and arm slot. He’s a physical, durable righthander who has proven capable of handling increased workloads each season. Though Ramirez’s command wavers, his stuff is top-shelf, beginning with a lively 92-94 mph fastball that he also four-seams at 96-97 when necessary. He can spin a quality, high-70s slider, but the pitch lacks consistent tilt because he often drops his hands during delivery, which lowers his arm slot. His changeup has not made much progress three years of pitching in the U.S.
|Roy Halladay, rhp
Age: 32. Remaining Commitment: 4 years, $75.75 million (plus vesting option for 2014; Blue Jays send $6 million).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
|Cliff Lee, lhp
Age: 31. Remaining Commitment: 1 year, $8 million.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.