Remaking the Halladay-Lee comparison, a month later

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About a week before the July 31 trading deadline I wrote an article comparing Roy Halladay to Cliff Lee, concluding that “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.”
Plenty of comments and e-mails disagreed with me, because at the time Halladay was being touted as the ace getting shopped for packages of elite prospects and Lee was viewed as more of an afterthought or fallback plan. Fast forward a month and things have changed quite a bit.
Halladay stayed in Toronto and has gone 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA and .320 opponents’ batting average in five starts since the trading deadline, including getting knocked around for eight runs on a dozen hits last night. Lee was dealt to the Phillies, where he’s gone 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA and .175 opponents’ batting average in five starts, including allowing just two unearned runs over seven innings last night.
All things being equal I’d still probably take Halladay over Lee long term, but the comparison is an example of why focusing strictly on performance rather than getting caught up in name recognition or perceived value can be illuminating. To the average fan Halladay was the big name and the stud pitcher, but in reality his performance was just slightly better than Lee’s during their previous 50 starts.
No one could have known that Halladay would struggle and Lee would be unhittable, but it wasn’t tough to see that the Phillies got a comparable top-of-the-rotation starter for a fraction of what it would have cost to add the bigger name. Toss in the fact that Lee is 15 months younger and will make $8 million next season while Halladay earns $15.75 million and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking awfully smart right now.

The Yankees and Red Sox will both be wearing home whites for the London Series

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This summer’s series between the Yankees and Red Sox in London is, technically, a home series for the Red Sox, with the Yankees serving as the visitors. Pete Abraham reports that Major League Baseball is dispensing with the usual sartorial formalities, however, and will have both teams wearing their home livery: the Red Sox will wear white and the Yankees will wear pinstripes.

It’s marketing more than anything, as you can’t really put your league’s marquee franchise on an international stage and not have it wearing its iconic duds, right?

It’s also pretty harmless if you ask me. Baseball is not like football or basketball in which you have to have contrasting uniforms in order to keep one side from accidentally throwing the ball to the opposition or what have you. And with so many teams wearing solid color alternates now — sometimes both the home and road team are in blue or red jerseys in the same game — it’s not like there hasn’t already been a breakdown in home white/road gray orthodoxy. I prefer the classics, but I lost that battle a long time ago.

So: I say let a thousand colors fly. Heck, let the Yankees wear their pinstripes on the road all the time. Who’ll stop ’em?