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A Cy of relief for Roy Halladay

Updated: March 11, 2010, 11:01 AM ET
By Buster Olney
The first time Roy Halladay took the mound for the Phillies this spring, Derek Jeter didn't make the 20-minute drive over from Tampa, Fla., to play in the exhibition. Nor did Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira or Curtis Granderson. And given that those guys all had played the day before, in the Yankees' home opener, they weren't expected to.

But you wouldn't have blamed the Yankees veterans if each had told Joe Girardi, "Hey, you know what, Skip? I'll pass. I've gotten my fair share of ol' Doc Halladay over here in the AL East over the years, and he's not exactly a fun at-bat in the first couple of days of spring. Somebody else can have my at-bat." Jeter, after all, has 91 career at-bats against Halladay and perhaps a handful of broken bats among those.

They don't have to deal with Halladay on a regular basis anymore, now that he's shifted from what is widely regarded as the toughest division in baseball. "They probably have the three best teams in baseball on paper over there," a general manager said this week, referring to the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.

And Halladay benefits from the shift to the National League, where he'll get to face opposing pitchers at least a couple of times a game and will be able to use the weakness at the bottom of the lineups to navigate around the toughest hitters in the middle of the order. In 2009, No. 9 hitters batted .299 against Halladay. Well, that won't happen anymore.

I e-mailed a bunch of talent evaluators -- some general managers, some scouts, some executives -- and asked them what they think Halladay's numbers will be in the NL.

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