On this day in 2009, the Toronto Blue Jays officially announced that franchise icon Roy Halladay had been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for prospects Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis d'Arnaud.
It marked the end of an era as Halladay had established himself as one of the best players in franchise history and was also one of the more sought after pitchers on the trade market.
The Jays were hoping to get back a haul of young players that would propel them toward contention in the next few years. That’s not exactly how it played out but getting equal market value in deals involving stars was, and remains, rare.
Halladay’s tenure with the Blue Jays was truly something special. After some ups and downs during the first few years of his career, including a near no-hitter in his third career start, “Doc” turned himself into a dominant starter by the 2002 season.
That was the first of six seasons Halladay represented Toronto in the All-Start game and he would go on to win the AL Cy Young award in 2003. He’d be named a finalist for the top pitcher award two other times and finished in the top five in voting five times.
Drabek was expected to be one of the main pieces coming back in the trade after being a first-round pick of the Phillies in 2006. He made his Jays debut as a September callup in 2010. He showed potential and began the next season as part of the starting rotation.
Again, Drabek looked like he could be a long-term solution, but the wheels fell off and he was unable to get out of the first inning in a miserable June start. He’d get some of the next year or so to show himself to be worthy of a spot in the rotation but lacked the consistency and ability to stay healthy and was released in 2015.
Taylor’s story with the Blue Jays ended before it began as he was flipped to the Oakland A’s for first baseman Brett Wallace. He retired from the game in 2015 with one home run and a .167 batting average to his name in parts of four seasons with the A's and White Sox.
d'Arnaud moved his way up the Jays’ minor league system and then was included in the mega-trade that sent Noah Sydergaard, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra to the New York Mets for R. A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas. He is stil active to this day, catching for the Braves after bouncing around the league over his ten-year big league career.
Halladay went on to prove that he still had a lot left in the tank upon his arrival in Philly. He led the National League in wins, complete games, shutouts (including a perfect game) and innings pitched in 2010 on his way to capturing his second Cy Young award. In his first postseason start, Doc was nearly flawless, with another no-hitter against the Reds with just a single batter walked on the day.
He was nearly as unhittable the next year and once again led the NL in complete games, as well as ERA+ and FIP while finishing second in Cy Young voting.
Halladay was unable to maintain his excellence in his last two seasons but was one of the best pitchers of his generation and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019, two years after his tragic passing in 2017.