Anatomy of the Halladay swap

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Halladay Phillies.jpgIf you’re snowed in like me, or just
have a few minutes to kill before football dominates the day, I
recommend reading Andy Martino’s excellent piece from the Philadelphia
recounting Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro’s pursuit of ace Roy Halladay.

Of course, the Phillies tried for
Roy Halladay in July, but the talks were rekindled with one simple
conversation at the November GM meetings in Chicago, when Amaro and his lieutenants approached new general manager Alex Anthopoulos
waiting for an elevator at the O’Hare Hilton.

I want to ask you something,” Amaro said, according to Anthopoulos.

The two walked down a hallway and chatted about Halladay.

Amaro was direct and aggressive. “What’s your asking price?” he
said, before offering Anthopoulos a few days to think about his answer
and get back to the Phillies. 

But the Toronto GM did not need any time; he remembered the player he’d been most impressed with in July.

“We like Drabek,” he said.

Martino touches on all aspects of
the trade, including the failed attempt to deal Joe Blanton and the
subsequent decision to trade Cliff Lee, the almost-trade of Phillippe
Aumont and Tyson Gillies to the Blue Jays and the madness of the
“flunked physical” that wasn’t. It’s a fascinating piece, not just
because of the complexity of the trade, but Amaro’s overt determination
to have Halladay in Philadelphia at any cost, even if it meant dealing
away a postseason hero.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.