Don’t expect the Roy Halladay rumors to fade away anytime soon. Until the Blue Jays trade their ace, he’ll remain atop the baseball conversation topics. That could be sometime soon, or it could last all the way until July 31. Because the Yankees are the richest team in baseball and perpetually hunt for pitching, stories about Halladay will involve them. I’m already resigned to a few months of Halladay speculation.
We know the suitors. The Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Phillies and even the Mets will factor into the process. A smaller market team might get involved later in the process, but at this point it would be an upset for Halladay to land with anyone else. What we don’t know, though, is Toronto’s asking price. Writers have addressed it, picking out the top prospects from the involved teams. But do those players fit with Toronto’s many needs?
In his National Post column, Jeremy Sandler writes of a modern day reality. As we know, “there will be a whole lot of unfounded and unrealistic talk as the process goes on, especially in an Internet age where even the flimsiest premise can gain traction if repeated enough times.” I’d like to continue this tradition by repeating a rumor Sandler introduces just a few paragraphs later. It’s not completely new, but it might offer some perspective on Toronto’s asking price.
The Jays want a major league-ready arm and bat, both young and affordable enough to stay in Toronto a while, plus prospects for Halladay.
That sounds like an awful lot to ask for a 33-year-old pitcher who will earn close to $16 million and is a year away from free agency. Yet Sandler leaves the terms ambiguous enough for us to wonder what players fill those needs. After all, it’s one thing to be a major league ready bat, but it’s another to be a major league ready bat with serious potential.
Both the Yankees and the Red Sox fill the major league ready arm requirement. The Yankees have Chamberlain and Hughes, while the Sox have Clay Buchholz. Neither team wants to trade those young, controllable arms, but perhaps would consider it for Halladay. Both teams also have high-ceiling prospects in the lower minors, who would presumably fill the “plus prospects” portion of the deal. But what of the major league ready bat?
Some scouts consider Jesus Montero‘s bat ready for the majors, though his catching skills still need seasoning. As Jon Heyman tweets, the Jays like Montero. Then again, all 30 teams probably like him. I won’t harp on this, since we’ve said it dozens of times before, but both Montero and one of Hughes an Chamberlain is too much. One reason is that all three have high ceilings. Another is that trading one means the Yankees are upgrading from one to Halladay. How much is that upgrade worth? I don’t think it’s worth one of those pitchers and Montero.
The question from Boston’s end is of who can fill that major league bat parameter? Lars Anderson isn’t major league ready. Nor is Casey Kelly. Josh Reddick is, and perhaps the Sox would trade him and Buchholz for Halladay. But would the Jays accept that? I guess that depends on how the market develops. If the Red Sox plan to snag Halladay early, though, that probably won’t get it done.
For the Yanks, Austin Jackson would fit the major league ready bat bill. But with Vernon Wells stuck in Toronto for the forseeable future, it’s uncertain whether the Jays would add another center fielder. That brings us back to Montero, at which point the Yankees would probably want to substitute Hughes or Chamberlain for a lesser pitching prospect, probably Zack McAllister. At that point, the Jays would probably decide to sit and wait.
There are other suitors, and perhaps those teams are willing to part with players that match the Jays’ parameters. As it concerns the Yankees, they certainly have the pieces required to land Halladay. The question is of whether they’d be willing to surrender them. Jesus and Hughes/Chamberlain seems like too much. Jackson and one of the pitchers doesn’t seem to fit the Jays’ needs. Jesus and McAllister is more reasonable from the Yankees standpoint, but not much meet Toronto’s requirements.
I ultimately agree with Ken Rosenthal on this issue. “It would be an upset if [Halladay negotiations] ended anytime soon.”