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With deadline looming, Halladay isn’t the only ace available

Roy Halladay is obviously dominating the rumor mill right now as fans across the country assess their favorite team’s chances of landing one of the truly elite pitchers in baseball.

However, Ken Rosenthal of reminds everyone that another ace may also be available with the trading deadline now just 10 days away.

In fact, take a look at how our mystery man compares to Halladay since the beginning of last season:

Halladay 51 378 2.76 31 14 .241 .275 .347
Player X 51 359 2.83 27 12 .265 .301 .364

Player X is Cliff Lee of the Indians, who won the Cy Young award last season and has a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts this year. Lee’s potential availability doesn’t generate the same number of headlines as Halladay because his track record prior to 2008 isn’t as good and terrible run support has him sporting an ugly 5-9 record, but since the start of last season he has the third-best ERA in baseball behind Halladay and Tim Lincecum.

Both pitchers are signed through next season, but Lee is 15 months younger and will make just $8 million in 2010 compared to $15.75 million for Halladay. All things being equal I’d certainly choose Halladay over Lee, but 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.