Chris DeMarco, Staff Writer

Blue Jay Flies South
Roy Halladay is considered to be one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last decade. Many top-tier teams were in hot pursuit of his services at the trading deadline last season, but no one could seem to match the ridiculous asking price that then-Toronto Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Riccardi was asking in return. One of those teams in pursuit of Halladay was the then-defending champs Philadelphia Phillies. The Blue Jays were asking the Phillies to give up their top prospects, and the Phillies initially balked at the idea and turned to the Cleveland Indians, landing Cliff Lee in what was considered to be the top move of last season.

Since contract negotiations stalled with Lee, the Phillies finally made the deal for Halladay happen by sending top prospects Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor to the Blue Jays. The Phillies immediately agreed on a three-year, $60 million extension with Halladay. This move marked the second big deal since July in which the Phillies landed a former Cy Young-winning pitcher. This was one of many moves the Phillies needed to make to remain the top team in the National League. With Halladay under contract for the next three seasons following the upcoming season, the Phillies will remain the team to beat in the National League.

Phillies Trade Ace Away
Cliff Lee was by far the most dominant pitcher during last postseason. His pitching, along with Chase Utley’s clutch hitting, are the only reasons the Phillies kept up with the Yankees in the World Series. When the news broke that Lee was going to be traded to help replace all the prospects the Phillies had given up in acquiring both Lee and Halladay, it came as a shock to the baseball world. The move could be considered a bad trade for the Phillies because, had they kept him, their rotation could have possibly included three former Cy Young Award winners in Lee, Halladay and Pedro Martinez.

A Phillies loss is definitely a huge gain for the Seattle Mariners. With the acquiring of Lee, the Mariners are now the front runners to win the American League West Division.

With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim losing a lot of key players, the Mariners are now the team to beat with the best one-two punch at the front end of their rotation in Felix Hernandez and Lee. With the Mariners overachieving to a respectable 85-77 record last year, one can expect that the acquisition of Lee will only help that 85-win total go up this upcoming season.

The Evil Empire Strikes Again
Just when we thought the Yankees could not possibly add anymore stars to their already stacked lineup, they do it again.

After being involved in a three-team trade, the Yankees landed All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers.

With the move, the Yankees strengthened the weakest part of their lineup. The most important aspect of this move is the fact that the defending world champions upgraded themselves and put them in line to have an excellent shot at defending their title.

The Yankees were already solid prior to the trade and now have a tough lineup from top to bottom.

Also, with adding Granderson, they get younger. They let the 36-year-old Johnny Damon and the 35-year-old Hideki Matsui walk after they acquired Granderson.

Those are some pretty huge shoes to fill because both were vital to the Yankees defeating the Phillies in the World Series last season.

However, the one-time All-Star should not have any problems making up for what both Damon and Matsui have contributed over the years.