Attention all Roy Halladay shoppers! Time is running out on your chance to get the one player that could put your team over the top this season! Make your best offers NOW to Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi! But make no mistake. Halladay isn’t for sale in these tough economic times. There are no coupons or special deals. If you want him, you will have to pay dearly for him.
That’s pretty much what Ricciardi said when he announced a deadline of next week to consummate any trade for his star pitcher. Ricciardi claims that the offers he has gotten haven’t been good enough, and that it’s unlikely he will make any trade at all.
Don’t buy it. Not for a single, solitary second.Toronto has no choice but to trade Halladay. You cannot put a guy on the market – and announce publicly that you are accepting offers – without making a deal. Halladay knows the Blue Jays would like to move him. If you knew you weren’t wanted by your bosses, would you want to stick around? I didn’t think so. You can tell me about Jake Peavy and his turning a trade to the White Sox down earlier this season and use it as an example of an unwanted player who wanted to stay with his current team. But, had Peavy not gotten hurt, I guarantee that he would have been dealt.
Toronto has to move him. After a terrific start this season, the Jays – well, they’ve become the Jays we expected them to be. They are under .500 and their deficit in a murderous AL East is now in double digits. They haven’t won with Halladay, so they figure they can lose without him and rebuild what was once a proud franchise.
The deadline that Ricciardi has put on any Halladay deal is nothing but a smokescreen. All he’s doing is trying to get a better offer. And he will. There is no doubt about that whatsoever.
As far as who will wind up trading for Halladay – well, if you believe rumor sites the everyone outside of Washington, San Diego, Baltimore, and a few other teams is in the sweepstakes. Frankly, I don’t buy it. So, I figured I would try to sort out fact from fiction and see if I couldn’t narrow the field of Halladay suitors down to two or three teams.
Let’s start with the teams I do not believe are really in the Halladay race. And you can start with the team that always has money to burn in the New York Yankees. Sure, they could use Halladay – hell, Sergio Mitre started for them on Tuesday night. But, I cannot see the Yankees spending that kind of money when they already have a number of highly priced starters in the rotation. I think the Yankees will try to trade for a starter, but I don’t see it being Halladay. I don’t see the Red Sox getting involved, either. And I sure as hell don’t see the Blue Jays dealing Halladay within their division.
The Phillies are the team that most seem to think is the favorite to land Halladay. If the reports are true, and the Phillies won’t part with highly touted pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, then I don’t see Toronto doing business with Philly. Besides, look at how weak the NL East is. Does Philly really need Halladay to win the division? Nope.
You can take the Dodgers and Angels out of the mix, too. If Toronto thinks they are going to get Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley in a Halladay package, then they are fooling themselves. And considering the Dodgers have a big lead in the NL West, acquiring Halladay isn’t something they need to do.
The Angels managed to put a bad start behind them and move into first place in the AL West without Halladay. I don’t see them pulling the trigger either – especially when you consider they have said they will not deal their top prospects.
I’m not sure the Giants have enough to make a deal for Halladay. The Rangers have the prospects, but owner Tom Hicks might be gun shy about bringing in such a high priced player in this economy. Kenny Williams – the GM of the White Sox will do his best to make a trade, but if he refuses to give up Gordon Beckham then he has no chance of pulling it off.
That leaves three teams left in my mind – the Tigers, Cardinals and Brewers.
I don’t think Detroit will be the team that winds up with ‘Doc.’ Sure, they have the prospects and adding Halladay to their staff would make them the odds on favorite to win the AL Central. But, keep in mind that there are few cities that have been hit by the recession harder than Detroit. Does owner Mike Ilitch want to add another big money player when he has done that a few times over the last couple of years (with mixed success)? I don’t think so.
I also don’t believe the Brewers will pull it off. I know there are rumors that GM Doug Melvin is offering Toronto a package including Manny Parra and Mat Gamel, but it doesn’t pass my smell test. First of all I don’t think Melvin will trade his top prospect two years in a row. Milwaukee – a small market team – just cannot afford to do that. I also don’t think that the Brewers will trade a guy they consider their third baseman of the future – especially when they don’t have any other solid options at that position. And finally, keep in mind that Halladay can approve or disapprove of any trade Ricciardi comes to him with. Milwaukee is a good team and a nice town, but Halladay might not want to go there when there might be better options on the table.
All of which leaves the St. Louis Cardinals. They could be the team most motivated to make a move here. Halladay would put them over the top in a crowded NL Central. Not many teams would love the prospect of facing a rotation that includes Halladay, a resurgent Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright (who is just nasty), and Kyle Lohse (rounding into form after his injury). It might not be Maddux-Smolts-Glavine of the Atlanta Braves heyday, but it’s damn close.
The Cards have the prospects to make a deal happen (they would have to give up third base prospect Brett Wallace in any deal). Halladay probably wouldn’t mind going to a city like St. Louis – which just might very well be the best baseball city in America. And with the prospect of having to re-sign Albert Pujols in a couple of years, the Cardinals must do everything they can to show Pujols they are trying to win now (kind of like what the Cleveland Cavaliers did when they made the Shaq trade this summer).
I’m not saying you can make book on it, but come August first, don’t be surprised if Roy Halladay is wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.