Much as 2007 was the Winter of Johan, 2009 is shaping up to be a Very Merry Halladay. (OK, OK. I’ll stop with the bad puns now.) We’ve heard all about how the Blue Jays are making Roy Halladay available, how the team is willing to trade him within in the AL East and how they want a Major League-ready arm and bat as well as other prospects in exchange.
With these demands as a starting point, then, it’s little wonder that Joe yesterday expressed his belief that a trade would not be consummated any time soon. No team is going to be too willing to give up two cost-controlled players for one year plus the right to (over)pay Halladay for a few more years. If the Blue Jays want to turn Halladay into something younger and cheaper, they are probably going to have to reduce their demands.
But there is another wild card in these negotiations. What of Halladay? When the Jays’ ace signed his three-year, $40-million extension in March 2006, Toronto granted him a full no-trade clause. Alex Anthopoulos can talk until he is blue in the face, but unless Roy signs off on the deal, he ain’t goin’ nowhere.
Last night, we learned that Roy Halladay appears willing to waive that NTC for the Yanks. Bob Elliot, a Toronto-based sports writer, fills us in:
Will Roy Halladay leave Toronto via the same route as ex-Blue Jays aces David Cone and Roger Clemens?
…It has always been a possibility. Now that chance has been upgraded. “I don’t know who Toronto will wind up with,” a major league executive said Friday. “I don’t know when he is going and I don’t know where he’s going. But I do know that Halladay has told the Jays he’ll approve a trade to the Yankees.”
…Halladay has never said yeah or nay to the Yanks and still hasn’t, but this third party news clears the decks for Halladay to follow the path of Cone and Clemens.
Halladay, reports Elliot, has already said that he would block trades to both the Twins and Rangers, among others, and he feels that this news opens up an avenue to New York for the Jays’ ace. Still, though, if the price remains Jesus Montero along with either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes and other prospects — or simply Jesus plus one of those two pitchers — it’s too steep a deal, too high a price for the Yanks. Brian Cashman has held on to his blue chips through thick and thin, through Johan and a bad 2008. He won’t change course so soon. Across town, Elena Gustines and Jay Schreiber of The Times urge the Mets to take Vernon Wells with Halladay, but the Yanks shouldn’t even consider that move.
Meanwhile, while Halladay remains a big name out there, the Marlins may have thrown a wrench into Toronto’s plans. John Perrotto, via Twitter, says that he “keeps hearing” that the Marlins are “very willing to trade Josh Johnson right now for the right package.” Joe Frisaro, the beat writer for the Marlins’ official site, disputes that notion. I am of the belief that any player is generally always available for the right price, and if the Larry Beinfest gets a good offer, he won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Now, we’ve gone on record with our interest in Josh Johnson. He has the stuff to succeed in the AL East, and his peripherals suggest he will. He will be just 26 come Opening Day 2010 and figures to have his peak years ahead of him. If the Yanks are going to sell some of the farm on a pitcher this year, I’d rather see them go after Johnson than Halladay. Both, it seems, are available, and the Hot Stove machinations are starting to heat up.