As Roy Halladay continues to hover above this off-season as Johan Santana did two years ago, the Blue Jays’ demands for him are coming into view. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Alex Anthopoulous, the new Toronto GM, will have to make a splash if he ships out Halladay. He’ll need a good, young, sure bet to take Halladay’s place and set Toronto on the path to AL East competitiveness.
With that in mind, it is clear that any trade talks with the Yanks would involve the names Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes being bandied about. After all, these are two kids who can get out AL East hitters while pitching in pressure-packed stadiums in New York and Boston. What GM wouldn’t try to demand one of the two from Brian Cashman?
Yesterday, in his regular Sunday round-up in the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo confirmed that the Jays would readily give up Halladay for Phil or Joba. He wrote:
The Yankees could easily get into the Roy Halladay hunt if they’re willing to part with Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, which they apparently are. The one player they’d love to hold on to is Austin Jackson, their future center fielder who could keep their outfield costs low.
This is a tantalizing tidbit from Cafardo for so many reasons, and as we like to talk about rumors, talk about it we shall. First, Cafardo casually mentions that the Yankees are “apparently” willing to part with Hughes or Joba. This unsourced development is a drastic turnaround from recent years when the Yankees have not wanted to let any of their young pitchers out of their grasp, and I’m not so sure I believe it here.
As with Santana, Roy Halladay comes with one year guaranteed and the option to negotiate for more. He will be 33 on Opening Day, a good four years older than Santana was on Opening Day 2008 when he made his Mets debut, and while Halladay may be more durable and better equipped to deal with the rigors of age than Santana, the Yanks would be acquiring one year of an old pitcher for a few years of Joba or Phil. If it didn’t make sense a few years ago before we had a better sense of what Joba or Phil could do, it doesn’t make too much sense now.
Next, Cafardo’s belief that Austin Jackson is “the one player” the Yanks would love to hold on to seemingly flies in the face of conventional wisdom. While Cafardo mentions Jesus Montero in another paragraph about the Yanks’ catching prospects, I find it hard to believe that Montero would be made available over Austin Jackson. Montero has a better bat and plays one of the key up-the-middle positions. Jackson profiles as a future center fielder, but Montero ranks higher up on my the Yanks’ prospects list. I’d be far more open to moving A-Jax than I would Montero (or Hughes and Joba, for that matter).
Cafardo’s piece allows us to confirm the high price for Halladay, but anyone following the Blue Jays would know it already. I don’t believe the Yanks intend to trade Phil or Joba for Halladay, and I don’t think the team should.