The answer is yes, and hard.
It’s been widely speculated that Roy Halladay will be made available at the mid season trade deadline, most recently by John Heyman of SI. For us as Yankee fans, its easy to envision the Yanks enjoying a healthy rotation and not having a glaring need, but that simply will not factor into this equation. This is not an ordinary pitcher, this is one of the top 2-3 pitchers in the game. Guys like him who are still in their prime (31) simply don’t become available that often. Cashman would move Heaven and Earth (re:Hughes+) to acquire a pitcher of his abilities.
The NYTimes did an excellent piece on Halladay yesterday, profiling him as a pitcher and how mature his approach is on the mound.
Halladay’s 206 strikeouts last year, a career high, were all but unintentional.
“Really, I try and avoid them,” he said. “My main goal is to get ahead and get balls put in play early. It wasn’t something I tried to do. But if you get ahead in the count quickly and you have a chance to put guys away, you do it.”
That’s the kind of thing you don’t hear pitchers with his stuff say until they get old and start to lose it. It also helps to explain why he had such a big effect on AJ Burnett last year.
He’s a 10+5 guy, which give him blanket no trade protections. That means he can steer the process to make sure he lands wherever he wants to go. AJ Burnett said after he signed with the Yanks that he was already recruiting him to come to the Bronx. The Blue Jays may not want to trade him within the division, but he has the right to veto any deal that sends him somewhere he doesn’t want to go. So he has the final say in this process, not Ricchardi. Also, in order to waive his no trade rights he will VERY likely demand a huge extension (3-4 years at 20+ mil per) he’d be foolish not to. That limits the number of suitors for his services to the big market clubs that are least affected by the economy. That’s the Yanks, Red Sox, maybe the Mets and 1-2 other teams. That will hold his price down somewhat, the fewer the bidders the lower the price. But you know the Yanks and Sox will do whatever they can to screw the other team, so there’s a game of chicken involved.
Toronto’s fallback position could be to simply not trade him, but that will depend on how much financial pressure the team is under if they fall out of it. To get a sense of that, keep an eye on their year over year attendance figures. If they’re on pace to draw significantly less than they did last year (10% or more) then he’s going somewhere. They really have nowhere else to go. Vernon Wells would need a monster year to have any trade value, and even then his insane contract would scare off all suitors. Scott Rolen is always hurt and a team that acquires him would owe him another 11 mil for 2010, so he would fetch little in return. Ditto for BJ Ryan. Halladay is the only one they can trade and get significant value back in return. When you consider everything, Halladay’s the one who makes the most sense.
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