Saturday, November 21, 2009


Are we down to the final days as a Toronto Blue Jays for Roy Halladay?
Last year's poorly executed tease, which played a role in the firing of GM JP Ricciardi, is now on an escalated time frame, with Halladay entering the final year of his 3 year, $40M contract signed in 2008.
The same players are likely measuring their cupboards to see just how deep into the talent pool they can go, and whether or not Toronto's new GM Alex Anthopoulos is able to be had.
The Blue Jays want to save money, but they also need to instill confidence in the fan base that the deal will play a big part of a better future in 2, 3 to 5 years from now. Which means the names being bandied about for a return on Doc will include some major-league ready and many still climbing out of the lower minors.
Both New York teams, the Yankees and the Mets, desperately want in on the deal; so too do the Boston Red Sox. Southern California suitors the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels are also in the mix; surprisingly enough, neither the San Francisco Giants nor the Chicago Cubs are expected to get past the second round of bidding.
Here's my view, being that Halladay will be wearing new colours before mid-December arrives.
New York Yankees could put together the best offer, starting with either Phil Hughes/Joba Chamberlain, and including outfielder Austin Jackson and RH David Phelps. The New York Mets, however, are rumoured to be trying to avoid costly additions - and have shown no inclination to part with two of outfielder Fernando Martinez, shortstop Wilmer Flores and RH Jenrry Mejia.
The Red Sox, who are just as motivated to keep the Yankees from adding Halladay to their pricey rotation as to having him for themselves, could knock Toronto's socks off with a pitch of RH Clay Buchholz, Kyle Weiland and Will Middlebrooks.
The LA Dodgers, meanwhile, have reportedly put RH Chad Billingsley's name on the table, and could clinch a deal if they added inf. Ivan DeJesus Jr and RH Steve Johnson in the mix. If I were AA and knowing the Dodgers' aversion to taking on too much salary (especially with a messy divorce tying up the owners' money) I'd pitch the thought of Billingsley, arbitration eligible and Canadian catcher Russell Martin and DeJesus for Halladay and nearly-ready JP Arencibia... the Dodgers could then use some money to get one of the Molina brothers for the next year and be ready for another playoff run. Toronto, meanwhile, will have acquired a great catcher and pitcher plus some means to market their rebuilding program.
The Angels aren't likely to get in the bidding, having little depth left in their minor system. The Giants, however, could easily rise to the top if it were willing to send LH Madison Baumgarner and teenage OF Rafael Rodriguez... but they won't.
For Cub fans, the yearning for a real ace will probably have to wait a little longer. New ownership may want to make a big splash, and they have the talent too, but it seems when they need to make a major deal like this one, they shoot themselves in the foot by signing a lughead instead. Apologies to Milton Bradley the game producer. But an offering of RH Jeff Samardzija, ss Starlin Castro and 3b Jovan Rosa would pique everyone's interest.

Two other teams worth mentioning -- despite the unlikelihood of them getting involved.
Unfortunately for Atlanta Braves fans, while the prospects are there the money isn't. The Braves would emerge as one of the frontrunners if they were willing to take on Halladay's salary, if they were able to off-load Derek Lowe's remaining 3-year, 15m per mistake. With a reasonable core and one last kick at the can for Bobby Cox, Atlanta would be a top contender with Halladay, Vazquez, Hanson, Hudson, Kawakami, Jurrjens taking turns on the mound -- heck, even if they had to also dump Vazquez's contract (a palatable $11.5m in the final year) it would be pretty strong. And what would the Braves need to offer? My guess a package that included outfielder Jordan Schafer (they've got Heyward who's a better prospect, anyways), and lefties Cole Rohrbough and Edgar Osuna would get the Jays' attention.
Then there are the Seattle Mariners. Their surprise push last year for a playoff spot, and the presence of King Felix, means they could feel that now is their time. With Bedard, Beltre and Jojima off the books they've also got cap space -- but a lot of holes, too. Toronto would have to give some consideration to an offer of RH Brandon Morrow, RH Quebecer Phillippe Aumont and 3b Mario Martinez.

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