With deadline looming, Halladay isn't the only ace available

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Roy Halladay is obviously dominating the rumor mill
right now as fans across the country assess their favorite team’s
chances of landing one of the truly elite pitchers in baseball.

However, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reminds everyone that another ace may also be available with the trading deadline now just 10 days away.

In fact, take a look at how our mystery man compares to Halladay since the beginning of last season:

               GS     IP     ERA     W     L     AVG     OBP     SLG
Halladay 51 378 2.76 31 14 .241 .275 .347
Player X 51 359 2.83 27 12 .265 .301 .364

Player X is Cliff Lee of the Indians, who won the Cy Young award
last season and has a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts this year. Lee’s potential
availability doesn’t generate the same number of headlines as Halladay
because his track record prior to 2008 isn’t as good and terrible run
support has him sporting an ugly 5-9 record, but since the start of
last season he has the third-best ERA in baseball behind Halladay and
Tim Lincecum.

Both pitchers are signed through next season, but Lee is 15 months
younger and will make just $8 million in 2010 compared to $15.75
million for Halladay. All things being equal I’d certainly choose
Halladay over Lee, but the gap between them hasn’t been as big as most
people seem to think and given the likely costs involved in acquiring
each player Lee could prove to be a better target.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.