The Phillies don't need Roy Halladay

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I promise that this is my last Roy Halladay post of the day. Unless I’m inspired to write another, anyway. Anyway:

Peter Gammons: “Phillies must make trade for Halladay

This would be the same Phillies team that is now 6.5 games up? I mean
sure, he’d be nice to have around, but do you really mortgage the
future for a marginal improvement in a race you already stand an
excellent chance of winning easily? Gammons says in the article that
“One player does make a huge difference,” with the implication that in
the postseason, having that ace could mean the difference between a
championship or going home empty handed. History, however, doesn’t bear
that out.

The Brewers may have made the postseason because of CC Sabathia, but
he didn’t get them anywhere in the playoffs. Same with the Cubs and
Rich Harden. Go back further and the story repeats itself with the 1987
Detroit Tigers and Doyle Alexander. Same goes for just about every team
to trade for an arm at the deadline in recent history, because in the past 30 years,
the only starting pitcher acquired midseason to win a World Series game
was St. Louis’ Jeff Weaver in 2006, and he was a salary dump. [CORRECTION:
I forgot Joe Blanton last year, but I don’t know that that changes
anything]. Weigh all that against the guys who were traded away for
those putative final pieces of the puzzle: John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell,
Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek. The list goes on and on.

Sure, Halladay is a special talent. And yes, maybe it’s a different
calculus if the Phillies and Mets were locked in an epic battle for
first place. But they’re not. The Phillies, in all probability, are not
going to have any trouble making the playoffs. Once they get there,
fate will play a greater role in determining whether they repeat as
champions than any one player’s fastball.

It would be nice to have Roy Halladay. If the Jays decide to sell
him at a bargan price you certainly make the deal. They are not,
however, in a “must” situation with this, and to the extent Gammons or
anyone else argues that they are, they’re mistaken.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.