Philadelphia Phillies 2011: In life, we can never really know what could have been. We can only know what it is.
So all we really know the Philadelphia Phillies 2011, now that Opening Day is finally here, is that four of the most dominant pitchers start in life by chance in line to start about 132 of their 162-game of the year.
But there is a subplot what would happen if this story is beyond comprehension. And it starts with a question almost everyone asked last year at this time, but almost no one question now:
Suppose that as early as December 2009, the Phillies had never been traded Cliff Lee?
It is still a question that gnaws at the innards of the CEO that has been exchanged, Ruben Amaro Jr. Sixteen months later, GM still does not know "if it was the right decision or the wrong move," said said.
Well, it was probably the wrong move on a million levels, despite the logic that motivated. But - cue the "Twilight Zone" soundtrack - without moving, it never happens again.
This rotation does not exist, not in this form of stars, at least. We can only guarantee it.
When you look back and reconstruct the probable sequence of events that made this rotation together, everything becomes clear. The "bad" moves, it moves the Phillies probably never had to do, triggered all the right moves that followed.
It 'started with the domino topple. He created a single point to connect the next point, which concerns all the other points.
"There are many different scenarios that could have been made," said Amaro now. "We talked about this [the office] all the time. We are not Roy Oswalt, and we do not Cliff Lee, if it works exactly the way it did. Honestly, I think. We have the opportunity or if you're smart, you could not tell . But luck probably more cunning. "
Well, whatever, never was a kind of master plan to bring all these together have. GM never wake up one morning and decides it would be fun to go and collect all the Cy Young award winners in North America.
Sometimes stuff just happens in life, because one thing leads to the next thing. And that's gone here.
Because Roy Halladay soon became available when the Phillies made an attempt too short to see what it would take to get Lee signed long term. And that led to a second abrupt decision - to trade Lee to Seattle.
Second, because Lee was gone, the Phillies actually released in July and tried to reach an agreement to bring it back. But because it bid for Texas, which turned around and traded out Oswalt.
And finally, everything was closed when Lee hit free agency during the winter and decided he wanted to be part of the Phearsome Phoursome - or what we call the rotation this week.
How all these pieces come from assembling the way it did? Well, accidents happen. He was one of them.
"We are very lucky," Amaro said that the ball just kind of rolled the right way. "
But there are many more nuances to the trajectory that the ball went. And without each of them, you can not find a "R2C2" shirt hanging on a rack in a shop sporting goods manufacturers in Philly.
So let's start with this question: A year and a half ago, Amaro and his front office to kick off this chain of events is completely wrong interpretation of what Lee wanted to stay in Philadelphia, in the first place?
GM now admits that, obviously, they did.
"But I'm worried," he says, "and why we moved so quickly was that [the Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos] wanted to make a move Roy [Halladay]. And I do not want to miss the boat there. It 'been very stressful and vulnerable time because I wanted to be Cliff Lee. But we had the opportunity to acquire what we thought was the best pitcher in baseball [Halladay]. And I heard not want to lose. "
In retrospect, Amaro said, probably would not have been such a frenzy - the organization of trade (import Halladay) and line up the second (export Lee) at the same time. But he also had a timing issue.
He had a good feeling, if I could sign Halladay traded for him. It was not so sure that would never sign Lee. So, Amaro feared that if I waited, when he had fully explored whether it would be possible to keep Lee, Halladay would have disappeared.
So all these months later, the man who made the bids is often a reflection of what might have been if he had sent Halladay kept Lee and then found out Lee was out of your price range. Then the GM said he was looking for a potential 2011 rotation of Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, who was tried and JA Happ ... uh ... Well, who the hell knows?
Lee would be a free agent. Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer were also called to become free agents. Thus, the only two entries have been controlled the Phillies - the position of this season, remember - is Hamels and Kendrick.
Instead, he met with the four riders on Blanton.
"I believe" Amaro laughs, "I like it."
Well, who would not? But of course, Amaro always under the assumption that we do not know with certainty to be precise - that Halladay had not acted right, then, do the Blue Jays have turned around and traded elsewhere.
"Without doubt," said Amaro. "I certainly would. Why should not they?" I can not speak for Alex, but I know that Alex was the main objective to get as much talent in his system as he could. And I guess, maybe be wrong, that all should leave enough talent to get this man. "
Now, it is interesting to note that Anthopoulos said he is not 100 percent sure. And it's even more interesting that Halladay, who had a no-trade clause to complete, said Philadelphia was "fairly close to the place that I was ready to go." So, if the agreement had not been prepared Phillies, "I do not think I would have acted," he said.
Bitter, but remain skeptical.
"One would think," he said Halladay, "if it does not come to Philadelphia, there is a situation where he ends up being in New York [Yankees]" - while the Yankees have done their darnedest to make him a multigazillionaire.
OK, maybe. Or maybe not. But even if Halladay had not been exchanged, so it was very interesting man of Trade Rumor again last July. Or does it become a free agent last winter, when Amaro is convinced that its price has approached the gross domestic product of the Netherlands. In other words, the GM said, Cy Halladay would have been a Phillie.
"I do not think there is any possibility," said Amaro. "God knows what will eventually sign a free agent."
As a free agent, he would have taken 60 million over three years - it's the Phillies signed him when they traded for him? Seems almost absurd. But Halladay said: Do not be so sure.
"I had the free will to choose what you want to play," he says, "not a chance to see how much money you can get. ... So more than likely, I pushed pretty hard, if you'd become a free agent , is here. "
Then again, Halladay admits: "It would have been different [if] Cliff should have been here. If he had stayed, would probably have signed a long-term residence of a lot, too. So I do not know what happened."
But Amaro said he knows what would have happened. Although both Lee and Halladay was willing to take the same below-market, five years, 125 million U.S. dollars against Lee decided last winter, there was not enough money in the account Audit Phillies do it twice.
"I can tell you this," Amaro says. "We could not have [the book], both of these guys five [years] times $ 25 [million] -.., and it's at least what I would certainly tell you that"
In other words, in almost any scenario other than that which occurred, chances are that the Phillies would now use both Lee and Halladay fairly close to anyone or anything.
But to say that the miracle happened. Somehow. That they had traded for Halladay in July instead of December. Then there would be no trade for Oswalt. Or say they acted to get Lee in July. Then there would not agree to Oswalt.
"Pretty good plan B," Amaro said, laughing.