The trade is the big news, so let's evaluate it for all teams involved. Roy Halladay has been headed somewhere for almost a year now and made it clear to the Blue Jays that he wouldn't accept a trade (he has a no-trade clause) after spring training began. Along with Halladay, the Phillies will get a few prospects. What the Phillies give up is nothing short of a haul. They will be sending Cliff Lee - arguably their best pitcher in 2009 - to the Mariners and their top two prospects (pitcher Kyle Drabek and outfielder Michael Taylor) to the Blue Jays. The Jays will also get a catching prospect from Philadelphia.
Blue Jays - All the Blue Jays ever wanted was top tier prospects that are Major League ready in exchange for the face of their franchise. Drabek was at High-A ball and AA last year while Taylor split time between AA and AAA. Catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud was in A ball last year, but is only 20 years old. Some Blue Jay fans will wonder why Toronto didn't trade Halladay for Boston's collection of prospects last July, but but sending him to the National League, where they won't see him often, benefits the Blue Jays and hurts their AL East rivals.
Mariners - They trade their top two pitching prospects, according to Baseball America and get Cliff Lee, a Cy Young award winner with one year left on his contract. This just in: The Mariners are going for it this year. With a potent one-two punch in Lee and Felix Hernandez and with the Angels losing Lackey, Seattle feels like they can win the division now. They better, because the cost-conscious Mariners probably won't re-sign Lee (but will happily take the two draft picks when he signs elsewhere) after his contract is up at the end of the year.
Phillies - Roy Halladay has finished in the top 5 in AL Cy Young voting five times, including each of the last four years. Clearly, he's in the conversation for the best pitcher in baseball. The thing is, though, over the last couple of years, so is Cliff Lee. How much are the Phillies really improving by swapping Lee for Halladay? In addition, the Phillies have gutted their farm system by trading seven of their top 10 prospects of 2009 (according to Baseball America) for two pitchers, one of which isn't even on the team anymore. With their core of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins just a few years from free agency, the Phillies are feeling pressure to win now and are mortgaging their future on it.