When FOX commentator Joe Buck asked me to name the favorites for Halladay on Tuesday night’s All-Star Game broadcast, I mentioned the Phillies and Yankees as the “best guess.”
The Phillies actually are not a guess — their farm system is deep, and club officials already are brainstorming on how to make a Halladay trade happen. The Yankees seem less likely to pursue Halladay, but I’ll believe they’re out when the pitcher lands with another team. The Yankees were not publicly “in” on free agents such as Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira until the moment they signed them.
There is also this: Halladay, unlike Johan Santana in the winter of 2007-08, does not sound intent on securing a contract extension to waive his no-trade clause. So, the Yankees would not need to trade top young players and make a $100 million-plus investment, at least not right away.
Halladay will cost less than $5 million for the rest of the season if he is traded after July 31, and the Yankees could worry about his $15.75 million salary for 2010 later.
Yes, the Yankees value Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, one of whom would need to be included in a Halladay package. But I doubt they would miss either too badly if they went into the postseason with a rotation of Halladay, lefty CC Sabathia and righty A.J. Burnett — and had the same three together again for at least next season.
This will sound bad to many—and maybe I’ll regret this comment later—but the more I think about trading for Halladay, the better it seems. That’s not to say that I’m totally for the idea, rather, my stance on trading either Joba or Hughes is beginning to soften. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to keep both as developing cheap internal talent has become a necessity in this game (and a necessity for the Yankees, specifically).
However, with that said, when you have a win-now team, winning now is also a necessity. A rotation that features Sabathia, Halladay and Burnett—possibly the most dominant pitching trio in recent memory—is certainly playoff-bound and WS capable. For that reason, one should think long and hard before passing on a pitcher of Halladay’s caliber, especially if you only have to commit to him for an abbreviated period of time and don’t have to pay $100 million plus in an extension for an aging player. If you’re only losing young talent then it could be worth it.
I’m not saying that we should trade both Joba and Hughes for Halladay. Nope, that’s not what I’m saying and it’s not what I believe. Instead, what I do believe is that anything outside of trading both of them or moving Jesus Montero should be considered an option if it betters the team.
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