Ken Rosenthal’s latest column on Fox Sports addresses his predictions for the upcoming season. He writes:
Jake Peavy and Roy Halladay will be traded
Not exactly going out on a limb with Peavy; the Padres will be pathetic both on the field and at the gate, and desperately need the influx of inexpensive young talent that a Peavy blockbuster could provide.
Halladay is less certain to be dealt: Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has said that the team would move him only if the sagging economy left ownership with little choice. Well, check back in June after the Jays get off to a poor start and their attendance craters.
Club officials believe the team will be stronger in 2010, the final year of Halladay’s contract. Better the Jays should trade the pitcher in July and maximize their return than risk losing him only for draft picks after next season.
Of these two, clearly Peavy will be the consolation prize. I wouldn’t think the Yanks would be seriously involved for Peavy, as there are questions to how his stuff will translate away Petco field and in the AL East. Also, he has long been rumored as someone who doesn’t want to pitch in NY. It should be added however, that the same things were said about CC Sabathia, and we all know what happened there.
Roy Halladay is another matter. The Yanks would move heaven and earth (re: Phil Hughes) to get a pitcher of his quality, even at his age (32). You wonder if AJ Burnett could be a recruiting tool, he’s tight with Roy and AJ said after he signed with the Yanks that he was already in Roy’s ear about coming here. Halladay is a 10+5 guy, so he automatically has control over where he goes. The Texas Rangers or Atlanta Braves would be better fits, both in terms of MLB ready talent and Toronto’s desire to get him out of the division, but Roy has to give the final approval. Also, it’s likely neither team will be in the middle of a pennant race this season, so their own level of interest is muted. Halladay is signed through 2010, so it would likely require a contract extension to get him to waive his no trade rights.
The economy will help flood the trade market
One reason the Red Sox showed restraint in free agency was the their belief that teams such as the Padres and Blue Jays could engage in massive salary dumps if they perform poorly and revenues plummet.
The Tigers’ season-ticket base has been cut almost in half, and a number of other teams also are bracing for attendance drops. But if trade talks this spring are any indication, deals will be difficult to consummate even for teams that are willing to help defray a player’s salary.
Phillies outfielder Geoff Jenkins, Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. and Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns are among the players who could be had at little cost, yet their respective teams have been unable to find takers.
The demand will be greater if players of higher quality — Peavy, Halladay, Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez, A’s outfielder Matt Holliday — become available.
Matt Holliday would be the most desirable target, but as a Boras client he would be a strict rental. I don’t see the Yanks as big players for him. With Damon and Matsui both vying for time in LF by mid season and Swisher looking for ABs, there’s simply not a need there. You can also simply sign him in the off season and only pay for him with dollars as opposed to paying in dollars AND talent. While Magglio Ordonez hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down at 34 that day could come soon, and it could be this year. He’s effectively a rental as well, while he has club options for 09/10, at 18/15 mil those would almost certainly get declined in this economy.
The most likely area of need for the Yanks will be CF, if Gardner shows he’s not ready yet and Melky picks up where he left off last year.
Vernon Wells anyone? Anyone? Hey wait! Where are you guys going?
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