By Glenn Giangrande
In the wake of Tuesday night’s reports of Chien-Ming Wang being done for the season, the Yankees need another starting pitcher, especially if they intend to hold firm on Joba Chamberlain’s innings limit.
I’ve championed the idea of acquiring Roy Halladay, but it does not appear that Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi will budge from his lofty asking price. The cost of the Indians’ Cliff Lee may also be prohibitive. If neither of those front-line starters can be obtained, it might be time to go to Plan C: Jarrod Washburn.
If you recall, Washburn was heavily linked to the Yankees at the 2008 trading deadline, but no deal was made between the Yanks and Mariners. Now Washburn is in the final season of a four-year contract. He’s having a fantastic season, posting a 2.64 ERA and a .223 BAA, both dramatically lower than his numbers through July 27, 2008 — a 4.50 ERA and a .289 BAA.
Mechanical adjustments, plus a couple of new pitches, appear to have made a big difference for the soon-to-be 35-year-old lefty. He’s pitched in big games before, having been a key cog in the Angels rotation earlier this decade.
Seattle is in no position to ask for a ransom. The Mariners have fallen onto the fringes of playoff contention and their farm system is still depleted following the Erik Bedard trade prior to last year. Young pitching seems to have vaulted the Rangers past the Mariners in the AL West pecking order. A couple of mid-level Minor Leaguers would have to be viewed as a good haul for Washburn. He’d be the most cost-effective move.
One caveat: As of Tuesday, Washburn ranked fifth among American League pitchers in the number of outs he’s recorded through the air. Some of those balls might turn into homers in Yankee Stadium as opposed to spacious Safeco Field. However, CC Sabathia and the aforementioned Lee are also among the leaders, two pitchers doing just fine, so it’s not the end all, be all; just one of the only downsides to a pitcher who’d be an economical acquisition.
By Jon Lane
Jerome Preisler pens the Deep in the Red blog for YESNetwork.com. On his day off, he e-mailed me his take on the Roy Halladay trade rumors:
Halladay is probably the best pitcher in baseball. He would alter the balance of power in the AL East in a way that can be equated to what occurred when the Red Sox acquired Curt Schilling. But unlike Curt Schilling he is 32 years old and in the prime of his career. The Yankees could expect him to produce at a high level for at least another half decade.
A trade of this magnitude will be painful almost by definition. The Red Sox didn’t want to give up Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett, and they didn’t want to take on Mike Lowell’s contract, but look how well it worked out for them. I interviewed Ramirez when he was with the AA Portland Seadogs. I saw him play several times and knew without any doubt that he would be something special. But I also knew it was a trade the Sox had to make.
I would present J.P. Ricciardi with a package that includes Joba and, if need be, Austin Jackson as its centerpieces, but other Minor Leaguers could be movable pieces. Phil Hughes would be off the table.
I agree with you that the odds don’t favor such a trade. But I think it’s more than a possibility, and Brian Cashman’s greatest strength as GM, or one of them, has been to pull these sorts of surprise moves out of his vest pocket.
Another thing to consider: Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal reported that the Red Sox have officially phoned Ricciardi about Halladay, and that Ricciardi stated that Clay Buchholz was mentioned as key to any potential deal. Thus, one can assume they had a substantive discussion about a trade. Like the Yankees, the Sox have the resources to pull one off here, and the Yankees must do whatever they can to make sure it doesn’t happen. That means monitoring this situation with all due diligence.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Jays are freezing out the Yankees and Red Sox, and haven’t returned a phone call placed by the Yankees 10 days ago.
The Yankees will hold a “major” press conference on Monday to announce an upcoming college football event at Yankee Stadium. According to the The Times Herald-Record, Notre Dame will play Army at the Bronx Mahal next year.
By Glenn Giangrande
Would the Blue Jays ever consider trading Roy Halladay to the Yankees?
Should the Yanks inquire and see what it would take?
Fans of the Yanks often get criticized by others for wanting to play “fantasy baseball” – just bring in as many stars as possible! However, if recent comments made by Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi are to be believed, the right-handed ace could be in play.
“We have to see what’s out there,” Ricciardi said. “I’m not saying we’re going to shop him. But if something makes sense, we at least have to listen. We’re (leaning) more toward listening than we’ve ever been.”
While trading Halladay would send a tough message to Blue Jays fans, it appears to be the right move. Toronto’s pitching staff is chock full of youngsters, and the Jays are playing in a division filled with teams built to win now. Halladay’s big-money contract runs through next season, and he does have a full no-trade clause. Of course, clauses can be waived, money talks…you get the idea.
Prior to last season, the Yankees chose to hold onto a number of young chips while Johan Santana was on the trade market. With Andy Pettitte close to the end of his career, Chien-Ming Wang seemingly out for a long period of time, and Joba Chamberlain regressing in the rotation, Halladay is the kind of pitcher worth emptying the tank to acquire. Every youngster except Phil Hughes should be in play – he’s too valuable to this year’s cause in the bullpen.
Austin Jackson? Sure. Lastings Milledge was once a can’t-miss outfield prospect, remember?
Manuel Banuelos, the 18-year-old strikeout artist turning heads in Charleston? No problem. The Yankees are in the business of winning now. If a player isn’t on the Major League roster and is eligible to be traded, he’s expendable.
It’s not likely that Ricciardi would move Halladay to a divisional rival, and if this situation does indeed develop, a number of teams will put together packages for the ace that may trump what the Yankees could offer.
Still, he’d look so good pitching alongside CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett down the stretch that a phone call must be placed.