Tagged: Roy Halladay

The Pulse of New York

A Halladay trade proposal

halladay_250_071409.jpgBy 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.

Halladay: A Natural Fit for Pinstripes

By Glenn Giangrande
Would the Blue Jays ever consider trading Roy Halladay to the Yankees?

Probably not.

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.

Stuff to think about

burnett_250_051309.jpgBy Jon Lane
There’s nothing anyone could have done about Tuesday’s loss in Toronto. Roy Halladay is one of the top five pitchers in the game and was so dominant neither the 1927 nor the 1961 Yankees were hitting him. Doc also continued his ownership of the Yankees. He’s 13-2 over his last 19 starts and 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA lifetime.

Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett is 0-1, 6.47 and has allowed five home runs in his last five starts. It’s May 13 and already it’s desperate times for the Yankees. Almost half the team is on the shelf or flirting with the disabled list, CC Sabathia is hoping to finally gain traction off Friday’s nine-inning whitewash of the Orioles and Chien-Ming Wang will need one more Minor League start before he returns. Burnett has had his chances to show he can carry a team in need and hasn’t done it.

Wang, meanwhile, threw six shutout innings for Triple-A Scranton Tuesday night, giving up three hits walking three and striking out six. It’s still impossible to believe a two-time 19-game winner is 0-3 with a 34.50 ERA. The Yankees are praying that was due to the weakness in his hip abductor muscle and not anything mechanically or emotionally.

It’s gotten ridiculous with these injuries. Derek Jeter sat out Tuesday with a strained rib-cage muscle and hopes to play tonight. Hideki Matsui, already playing on creaky knees, now has a tight right hamstring. Matsui says it’s only a cramp, but I’d be surprised to see Matsui for the rest of this series given the Rogers Centre turf.

Normally, when in times of crisis, Andy Pettitte is the one you’d want on the mound. However, the veteran left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.62 ERA in his last three starts. This is a team that was pegged not only for greatness, but to do something special. Keep the faith that things can turn around quickly in this game, but at this rate the Yankees are looking like the 1992 Mets (minus the dysfunction). That team signed free agents Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Bret Saberhagen and had visions of a World Championship. They finished 72-90.

A bit over the top? Maybe so. But the Yankees Version 2009 are laden with big names who are also aging veterans. There’s no need to worry about Sabathia, but Burnett is not doing what he did last year and any defense of Mark Teixeira and his history of slow starts no longer carry merit. Teixeira went hitless in four at-bats on Tuesday and has been stuck below the Mendoza line the past week.

This team needs to get healthy and get it going – quickly. The days of the AL East being a two-team race are long over, which means the Yankees are vulnerable to getting buried sooner than you think.

4:57 p.m. Jeter and Matsui are both out of tonight’s lineup. Reports out of Toronto say the captain is hoping to return tomorrow.

Proving ground in T.O.

yankees_350_051209.jpgBy Jon Lane
We’re just approaching mid-May and have reached the season’s first “big” series. For once it’s not Yankees vs. Red Sox, for the Bronx Bombers are in Toronto to face the first-place Blue Jays.

That’s not a typo, folks. The Blue Jays, an afterthought for years in the AL East, are 22-12, boast four players (minimum 112 at-bats) batting at least .283 and have persevered despite a starting rotation held together by Roy Halladay, bubble gum and duct tape.

Already it’s a big series and a proving ground for both teams. The Yankees need to work out of their annual early-season doldrums and make a statement, writes Steven Goldman. They will greet the sub-.500 Twins and Orioles on their next homestand before welcoming the World Champion Phillies Memorial Day weekend. If they can hold it together, notes Goldman, Jorge Posada (and perhaps Brian Bruney) will be back and the team will (theoretically) be fully staffed for the first time all year and can really make some progress.

Don’t forget about Chien-Ming Wang either. Wang is starting in Scranton tonight and a strong effort might punch his ticket back to the Yankees along with the hope that his 34.50 ERA over three starts was a wicked aberration.

Think the Toronto media is pumping up this week’s three-game set? The Toronto Star is hyping tonight’s matchup as potentially the game of the year, and not just because it’s Doc Halladay facing A.J. Burnett. The scribes have noted the critics who have cited the Blue Jays playing 20 of 34 games against the AL Central and have not yet faced their rugged division rivals. Then there’s the return of Alex Rodriguez, and the sense of urgency growing in Yankeeland, that’s expected to draw a walk-up crowd that will boost attendance to at least 30,000. Figure on a few of them holding foam syringes and wearing blond wigs. Necessary? No, but it’s the nature of the beast.

Blue Jays fans have had nothing to cheer about since consecutive World Series championships in 1992 and ’93, so you can’t blame them for getting excited about their team holding the AL’s best record. The Jays have rarely made a big bang during the offseason, but the core of the team is beginning to pay dividends. Cito Gaston’s group lead the Majors in batting (.294) and runs scored (204), and are in the top five in on-base and slugging percentage. Then of course there’s Halladay, whose six wins are tied with Zack Grienke for the league lead and his 52.0 innings pitched rank third.

It was September 24, 2008 when Burnett walked off the Rogers Centre mound for the last time as a Blue Jay after whiffing 11 Yankees through eight innings. A crowd of 28,701 gave him a standing ovation, imploring him to re-sign as a free agent. That didn’t work, so expect Burnett to receive the treatment given to Mark Teixeira (Baltimore), Johnny Damon (Boston) and A-Rod (everywhere).

“I’m sure I’m going to get some boos,” Burnett told the media in Baltimore, “as long as I hear a couple of claps in there. But to be honest with you, it’s probably going to fuel the fire. I’m going to channel it that way.”

Burnett needs something to get him going. He’s winless in his last four starts (6.66 ERA) while allowing five home runs and walking 13 in 24 1/3 innings. CC Sabathia stepped up Friday in Baltimore in what everyone hopes will spark a turnaround. Now it’s Burnett’s turn. He’ll have to out-pitch his old friend. Halladay was 3-0, 1.80 in two complete games against the Yankees last season and owns a career record of 15-5, 2.86. 

Memo to Wang: Take a step back

By Jon Lane
As we begin a new week, the top storyline in Yankeeland is the alarming situation surrounding Chien-Ming Wang. I wrote last week that Wang didn’t suddenly forget how to pitch and afforded him until mid-May before drawing any conclusions. Little did I know that Wang would surrender eight runs on eight hits in 1 1/3 innings on Saturday that saddled him with an ERA of 34.50.

Suddenly, someone who entered the season with 54 wins in 97 big-league starts could find himself being skipped over his next start, scheduled for Friday night in Boston. You can’t throw Wang out there, you just can’t. Study the pitching lines of his first three outings:

April 8: 3 2/3 IP, 7 ER, 9 H
April 13: 1 IP, 8 ER, 6 H
April 18: 1 1/3 IP, 8 ER, 8 H

Not a pretty picture. Neither is Wang’s career 5.11 ERA in seven starts at Fenway Park. And when the idea of sending Wang to the Minors to follow the path of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, two aces who had to go back to the beginning before evolving into Cy Young Award winners, Joe Girardi clarified why that’s not feasible.

Wang is out of options and cannot be sent down without exposing him to waivers, which means it’ll take about the average time Wang has lasted in his three starts for another team to scoop him up. Since Wang, Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland continue to insist the right-hander is healthy, the only alternative to exposing him to the Fenway wolves is giving him a good nine days to repair his mechanics and confidence.

Our Kimberly Jones guesses that Wang will throw a simulated game either on Thursday’s off day or Friday, perhaps in Tampa. She also shared a suggestion from Brian Bruney which raises an excellent point. Like Wang, Bruney recovered from a Lisfranc injury and he believes that Wang has not re-gained the trust of his push-off foot, the same foot that was injured last June in Houston. What bothers me the most is how Wang said yesterday that after watching video he believes there are no mechanical differences from this season to last season, which went against what Girardi said. Denial is worse that any physical ailment. The first step to figuring out why you’re not pitching well is to admit something is wrong.

Wang, 29, is a major investment for the Yankees today and tomorrow. Taking the next nine days to figure out some sort of solution won’t hurt the team as this stage. A.J. Burnett can be slotted into Wang’s space on Friday with the rest of the starters on their regular turns until the Yankees need a fifth starter April 29 in Detroit. If the sabbatical fails to work, you’re looking at the increasing likelihood of Phil Hughes being recalled from Triple-A Scranton and Wang serving as the long reliever the Yankees decided not to take up north.

Back later with tonight’s lineups.