By Jon Lane
Roy Halladay is open to the idea of playing for the Yankees, telling the media yesterday his “priority would be winning” and not a hefty contract extension. Halladay not only has a full no-trade clause, he added he’d be fine with pitching in the homer haven that’s become the new Yankee Stadium and the added pressure of playing in New York.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of media people that wouldn’t love me,” Halladay said during a press conference that announced him as tonight’s starter for the AL All-Star team. “But I think, for me, I’ve always been able to separate field from off-field. I’ve realized that I can’t make everybody happy all of the time. Sometimes, that includes media … We’ll try and do the best I can, but that’s always the way I’m going to be.”
The roadblocks are economics – Halladay makes $14.25 million this year and $15.75 million next year before being eligible for free agency in November 2010 – and the thought of the Blue Jays trading their best pitcher to a division rival.
The Yankees are not optimistic that they’ll land the 32-year-old right-hander, writes Ken Davidoff, who adds the Phillies are generally regarded as the favorites. But what they have to offer (along with the Phillies) is a chance to win a World Series and the ability to blow J.P. Riccardi away with a strong package out of their farm system. The Yankees aren’t getting Halladay for Ian Kennedy and Andrew Brackman. Figure on the Jays asking for Phil Hughes (and that’s for starters), but I have a proposal that just might work.
Joba Chamberlain, Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero. (I may even throw in Kennedy if a suitor isn’t scared off by an aneurysm that will keep him out until next year.)
Anytime you surrender top prospects it’s a major risk that at least one becomes a superstar. But in this case, give me production over potential any day. Halladay remains in the prime of his career, and unlike Johan Santana there isn’t a risk that health will betray him in a middle of a long-term contract. Hughes’ lights-out performance in the bullpen looks like it’ll launch him into a long career as a front-line starter. Chamberlain’s struggles have his stock dropping a bit, but not to where teams will be turned off completely. The Blue Jays can still develop him as a starter, away from New York’s bright lights and endorsement temptations, or say forget that, let’s make him our closer.
Jackson is being hyped as a franchise center fielder, but as my colleague Glenn Giangrande wrote last week, Lastings Milledge was once a can’t-miss outfield prospect, and right now the Yankees are receiving surprising contributions from both Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera. Montero has grand potential written all over him too, but there’s no guarantee he’ll remain a catcher. Even if he does, wouldn’t you take your chances on Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine once (or if) Jorge Posada retires at the end of his contract in 2011 if it meant getting Halladay?
Kevin Kernan made his pro-Halladay case today too, going as far to remind everyone that the Red Sox once traded Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. That won them a World Series in 2007 and it took guts. The Yankees may have to learn from history.
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.