Yes, they were trades. Plural. It wasn't a three team deal as the Phillies made it out to be. The Phightins' traded Cliff Lee to Seattle for a load of prospects, and then traded Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor to Toronto for Roy Halladay. The Mariners and Blue Jays had no transactions between each other.
Now, I understand why Ruben Amaro Jr. did this deal–Halladay was "his guy." Amaro wanted Halladay since July and when this opportunity came up again to possibly acquire him, you knew he was going to jump all over that, especially when Toronto was going to throw in some money to pay Doc right now.
On the other deal, with getting rid of Drabek and Taylor, it makes sense to re-booster the farm system by getting these prospects from Seattle. Yet we all know the real reason for getting rid of Lee was because the Phillies didn't want to pay him now, or "big market" money when his contract is up at the end of the season.
Therefore, it was a load of bologna when Amaro explained the Lee deal as a "baseball move" because even though there was an importance to re-fueling the minor league teams for the future, the main goal when it comes to this current day is WINNING NOW.
If they would've kept Lee for at least one year, which they could've, it would've made this rotation DOMINANT and practically a lock to definitely go back to the World Series, if not win the whole thing.
I love that we have Halladay because he is definitely the best pitcher in the game. But isn't it incredible that at the same time we brought this great pitcher in, a lot of fans, including myself, are frustrated the Lee is no longer a Phillie. The guy went 4-0 with an ERA below two in the post-season. He was sensational. It is so weird that he just got here at the end of July, and now in the middle of December he's gone.
Thanks to Lee for the amazing run in the postseason last year.
On that same note-"Doc" Halladay, welcome to Philadelphia. Not that you can't do it, but you have big shoes to fill.