When the Blue Jays trade a pitcher

2009 Draft: NoMaas catches up with Damon Oppenheimer
RAB Live Chat

When I heard earlier this week that the Blue Jays were prepared to trade Roy Halladay, six names ran through my head: Jason Jarvis, Mike Gordon and Marty Jenzen. David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd.

The names represent extremes of the trade spectrum and relate, as we know, to two blockbuster trades between the Jays and the Yankees. The first three were the package of prospects the Yanks sent to the Blue Jays in 1995 for David Cone. That would be a coup for the Yanks as Cone would win four World Series rings with the Bombers, and none of those three would amount to much. The second three were for Roger Clemens prior to the 1999 season. The legacy of that trade is best left to other posts.

As the rumors have grown surrounding Halladay — you can find the latest here on MLBTR — I pondered a post about the prior trades involving the Blue Jays and ace. So did Mark Feinsand. Since there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, we shall examine Feinsand’s charge that the three situations are not alike.

On Cone:

It’s hard to believe that’s all Toronto got for Cone, but don’t forget that he had only been in Toronto for three months when they traded him. He wasn’t the institution that Halladay is. Still, they should have gotten much more for him.

It should also be noted that this took place just months after the 1994 strike, and Cone’s $8 million salary was second-highest in the American League, so the Jays were probably happy enough to dump the free-agent-to-be once they were out of the race. Halladay is signed for another year, so there isn’t the same desperation to get rid of him.

On Clemens:

As for Clemens, the Yankees traded a package led by David Wells to get the Rocket, who had requested a trade and left the Blue Jays with very limited options based on his no-trade clause. If you want to equate that to present-day, the Yankees would have to send Toronto a package led by A.J. Burnett to get Halladay. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen.

Feinsand is on the money with Clemens, but I think the Cone comparisons are slightly closer than he thinks. As they did in 1995, the Blue Jays, a franchise treading water, want salary relief. But, unlike in 1995, their fans know the value of Halladay, and they will have to land more than just three no-names who aren’t going to amount to much.

Earlier this morning, rumors swirled that the Blue Jays asked for a package of three players consisting of Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, Mark Melancon, and Austin Jackson or Jesus Montero. Clearly, J.P. Ricciardi has his intra-division sights set high, and that’s where things stand. The Yankees will not acquire Halladay, and I highly doubt the Red Sox will either. Philadelphia seems to be the likely destination with Texas far behind. The history of Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher trades will, sadly, probably not repeat itself.

2009 Draft: NoMaas catches up with Damon Oppenheimer
RAB Live Chat
  • J

    Hughes/Joba + Montero or Hughes/Joba + Romine + Melancon

    • J

      actually, if we’re trading Montero, Hughes and Joba shouldn’t be in the deal.

      Montero + Mac + Melancon + … or Hughes/Joba + Romine + Melancon

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        Not worth it. Neither of them.

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime


        • thurdonpaul


          • Bo

            Why would they weaken this yrs team by trading either Hughes or Joba?

            it won’t happen. have you failed to watch cashman operate as gm??

  • Little Bill

    Ricardi is asking for a king’s ransom. Cashman was unwilling to give up less for Santana so he won’t be making this deal. Hughes and Joba are going to be great for a long time. Ricardi wants both of them or one of them AND two other high end prospects. It’s just not gonna happen.

  • jsbrendog

    its times like these i am very glad big stein isn’t still running thins because it’d put the yanks one back page headline about the sox wanting him to send him off and trade hughes joba and montero for him and then sign him to a 5 yr deal.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Except Big Stein never really did that. There were some bad moves, but he never was really goaded into trades by a tabloid headline. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

      • jsbrendog

        it was a hyperbolic example of his whims. if he wanted halladay he owuld have halladay, and halladay seems like a guy george would want.


      • zack

        No, not by tabloids. He was goaded into trades by his own obsessions decidedly. But I imagine Stein would take offense to the idea that he ever took advice from any lousy newspaper!

      • Yages

        I’m sure he was goaded into firing managers by the tabloids, but his roster screwups were generally his own, as I recall.

        • Bo

          Its revisionist history from people who weren’t old enough to actually live thru the George years. He wasn’t the one who traded prospects back then and he wasn’t following the papers and making trades based on what writers said.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    IF the choice is Montero OR Jackson you can give up Jackson perhaps more easily…

    but I would be loathe to part with Montero under any circumstance. Well, maybe if I got both Halladay and Romero back…nah. Still don’t want to trade Montero =P

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Montero is an untouchable right now in my mind. Unless the Yanks can turn him into the second coming of Willie, Mickey and the Duke, you just don’t trade him.

      • Observer283

        Agreed. He is 19 years old. We have no idea where this is going to go, and the odds are that he won’t be as great as we all hope. But he is by all accounts a generational prospect. The kind that can be the centerpiece of a lineup for a long time. Those kinds of prospects don’t come around very often.

        We hold him for the near future.

  • Stephen

    If we translate the Clemens trade into today’s team, it would be AJ, Ramiro Pena, and Phil Coke …

    Who wouldn’t make that trade in a second?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      The Wells/Burnett contract comps don’t really line up.

      • jsbrendog

        nor do their durability, handedness, or even track record of consistency, pant size, ego size (assumption), or peripherals (wells didn’t walk anybody burnett walks eveyrbody)

        • zack

          Actually, I would venture to say that for at least the past 5 years before the Wells trade and the past five years now, Burnett has actually been the more consistent pitcher. Mind you, consistent doesn’t = good per se, just somewhat predictable

          • jsbrendog

            well when you put it that way………

            now we must breakdance fight.

    • zack

      Not even Coke, as Lloyd was a true lefty specialist. Coke has shown to be a bit more of that, or is at least being used that way, already on pace for double Lloyd’s average innings. It would be like Pena, AJ, and, um, well, someone less usefull.

      I for one would love to swap AJ for Hallady for that package, and I can’t fathom anyone else desiring otherwise. Of course, the salary issues are totally out of whack and make the trade impossible…

    • Bo

      The Clemens thing isn’t relevant. It was the Yankees or nothing since Boston didn’t want him and he didn’t want to go back.

  • AsianShuutoHeat

    HA HA ha… ha…………………. NO

    Stay away, from the Halladay!

  • nathan

    I currently live in the SoCal.. and i have a funny vibe that the Angels will be the team swooping in…

    a rotation of the Doc, CC, AJ sure sounds nice… but it aint happening and the package that would need to be provided would be too much..

    i think Halladay, if he approves, is coming to SoCal and i wont be shocked if the Dodgers decide to swoop in too, they have the talent and the team to win it all this year too…

    i would rather Doc go to Angels than Dodgers…

    • Little Bill

      I would rather Doc go to the NL where there is no chance we have to face him twice in a 1st round 5 game series.

      • nathan

        Well i meant from the Joe Torre angle… u can write down their name on the trophy if he gets there..

    • A.D.

      I wouldn’t be surprised either, they seem to not want to play Wood, so might as well trade him

    • Bo

      Whens the last time the Angels traded a prospect?

      Never. it doesn’t happen. They don’t make these moves. And all these “great prospects” have been failures at the major league level. Wood, Kendrick, Morales, etc.

  • Glen L

    Melancon, Melky, IPK .. get it done Cash

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      You’re doing it wrong. It’s just Melky + IPK. That nets them whatever they want.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        Actually, I was going to say it should be Edwar, John Rodriguez and Kei Igawa.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          now THATS what i’m talking about :)

          …but to be honest, its important to maintain trading partners, so we should throw something in so they feel like they won…something like…Duncan.

    • Observer283

      When did J.P. Riccardi become a Yankee fan?

    • nathan

      I donno if Melky and IPK would have gotten DeRosa… IPK is rehabbing… Melky is Melky… Melancon is still unproven and a little shine has come off because of his rough start… lets be practical…

  • Kwest Cash


    • Joe R


    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak


      Also, per the guidelines, no all caps comments please.

    • jsbrendog


    • zack


  • Bo

    The attendance levels in Toronto would fall beyond belief if they traded him in the division. It doesn’t matter. Neither the Sox or the Yanks are trading prospects to get him anyway. If neither did it with the much younger Santana neither will do it for Doc.

  • Andy

    If the Yanks could take on salary, I think I would sign up for Joba or Hughes/Jackson/Melancon/Romine for Halladay/Rios. Even a cost controlled Joba or Hughes is not as valuable as Halladay. Halladay, CC, Burnett is a threesome no team would want to see in a short series. The combination of Pettite/Wang/Hughes/Aceves would hold down the 4 and 5 slots. And it solves our winter outfield problem.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      …didnt the Jays have AJ and Halladay last year…and they still sucked, right?

  • pollo

    Holy shit that’s all they want?

    Send them Hughes+Melancon+Ajax and call it a W for the Yanks the next 5 years

    • Peter Lacock


  • Peter Lacock

    I was against trading for Santana but I’d do it now (the Yanks weren’t one SP away then) and I’d trade for Halladay especially if that’s all it costs. (THAT’S ALL? are you kidding me?) I figured Cano, Joba or Hughes, AJax AND Montero plus others, like Melancon or ZMac or maybe Nova plus Russo or Pena.
    Halladay would take the pressure off CC (that I’m not sure he can handle) and make everyone else around him better. It would be better than Schilling-Big Unit et al.
    He would have to agree to an extension. I’d offer Montero and keep AJax for the future +D backing the aces. Melancon is a reliever-no big. Joba or Hughes is a toss up but with a gun to my head I guess give’m Hughes and keep Joba in the rotation. None of them have proven to be anything close to an #1 ace like Halladay.
    This would instantly make the Yanks prohibitive championship favorites for the next five years. Plenty of time to develop another SP, C-DH and reliever. I definitely make a trade that, as close as it can be to it, guarantees multiple championships.
    King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, A-#1, Top of the List.
    C-Money should call the Mets too and see if they’re ready to tear it up and lose Santana yet.

  • Whitey14

    You’ve gotta think the cost to the Sox or Yanks is an additional good prospect over and above what they’d expect from teams that are not within the division. I just can’t see either team pulling this off (especially when they could still potentially just buy him after 2010). I’m not in favor of Boston trading Buchholz, Bowden, Bard, Hagadone, Riddick, Kalish, Anderson, or anybody that could possible catch or play SS in the bigs in the near future. So basically, if they can get it done for Brad Penny, Mark Kotsay and Julio Lugo, I’d be all for it. To show what a good sport I am, I’d even toss in J.D. Drew and let them send Alexis Rios over with Halladay.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Brad Penny, Mark Kotsay and Julio Lugo

      That’s a bigger and more absurd fantasy than our joke of saying IPK+Melky=Anyone. I have no more words.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals


    any trade should look like this:

    Doc+Wells=any one top prospect or any two ‘b’ prospects.

    if we eat that much salary…wow…