By Jason July 28, 2008 2:02 pm
The Toronto Blue Jays need a face lift. I'm not saying they need an all out rebuilding job but they need to do something to set themselves up to contend in the future. Their offense is anemic and they don't have any other cornerstone pieces outside of Vernon Wells and Alexis Rios. Their farm system, outside of Travis Snider, is very weak. Unless the Blue Jays take a year or two to retool, they're going to be at the basement of the very tough AL East year in and year out.
A drastic move is needed and luckily I know just what to do. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards and in this case the Blue Jays need to trade their most valuable piece at the peak of his value. Yes, I'm talking about trading Roy Halladay.
Halladay is the very definition of an ace. He's 12-7 this season with a 2.82 ERA, he strikes out almost 8 batters per 9 innings and has an absurd 7 complete games. To further enhance his value he’s still in his prime (31 years old) and is signed to a reasonable contract (14.25 in 2009 and 15.75 in 2010) Halladay would not be a rental like C.C. Sabathia.
Now the bar was set with trading a stud pitcher under contract when the Oakland A's traded Dan Haren. Remember eveyone thought Billy Beane was crazy when he traded Dan Haren. However that trade not only helped the A's long term but short term. He got back 2/5 of his 2008 rotation in Dana Eveland and Greg Smith. > > On December 14, 2007, Dan Haren was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Connor Robertson for prospects including Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, and Chris Carter.
I would expect Halladay to fetch an even bigger bounty. Now there's only a few teams that would match up well with the Blue Jays in a Halladay trade. The team receiving Hallday would have to be; a contender and have a very deep farm system (and while the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays meet this criteria you can cross them off the list. The Jays won't trade Halladay in division.)
So what teams does that leave?
The Dodgers have a plethora of young talent. GM Ned Colleti and Joe Torre have both show an affinity towards veteran players. They clearly can win their division and the Casey Blake acquisition shows that they are buyers.
Any trade for Halladay would have to start with 20 year old lefty phenom Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw destroyed Minor League hitting and has mixed results in the Majors, but he's certainly held his own. I mean after all he's only 20 years old. He projects as a front of the rotation player for a long time.
Besides Kershaw, the Dodgers could add Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche. Kemp, a 30-30 type center fielder is currently .293/.348/468 with 12 homers and 23 steals. Kemps name always comes up in trade talks. The Dodgers have a crowded outfield with Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Andre Either, and Kemp, but why Kemp would be the odd man out baffles me. Again, it shows managements affinity to veterans.
LaRoche is also a top notch prospect. He seems to have become expendable with Casey Blake entrenched at third and Blake Dewitt waiting in the wings. LaRoche struggled in his brief stint in the majors however he still projects as a possible all-star third basemen.
Would the Dodgers need to add more? Can’t say for sure however they certainly have more than enough prospects to work out a Halladay trade. In fact it’s one that I think makes a whole lot of sense for both teams.
The Cardinals are right in the thick of things both in the NL Central and the wildcard picture. A Halladay trade would be a keeping up with the Jones move as both the Milwaukee Brewers, C.C. Sabathia, and Chicago Cubs, Rich Harden, acquired front line starters.
The Cardinals certainly have the prospects to match up with the Blue Jays. The center piece would be Colby Rasmus, a five star prospect of the caliber of Jay Bruce and Ryan Braun. The Cardinals have an excellent catching prospect in Bryan Anderson whose path to the Majors seems to be blocked by Yadier Molina. Anderson is hitting .324/.405/.429 at AAA and might be ready for the majors right now.
As Billy Beane has said "you're either building something special or you're not." While Halladay is a great pitcher, I can't ever see the Blue Jays building a playoff caliber team around him. They don't have the farm system and with a payroll probably already at maximum capacity free agency isn't a great bet either.
JP Riccardi a Billy Beane disciple should take a page out of the masters book.