The Price for Roy Halladay

According to a “high-ranking official” cited in an article by The National Post, the Toronto Blue Jays will take as much time as needed to trade Roy Halladay — if they trade him at all.

Would they actually keep Halladay through 2010 and allow him to leave via free agency next winter? They say yes — but they could be saying that publicly to retain leverage in trade negotiations.

The Jays are not exactly asking for the moon, but they do have specifics. According to the report:

As one high-ranking team official confirmed, the Jays are after young, salary-controlled players.

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.

If indeed that’s the price, I’m not sure the Mets have the chips. The arm would be Mike Pelfrey, but who is the MLB-ready bat?

Before you say “Fernando Martinez”, he’s only 20 years old and therefore does not fit the term “Major League ready” (though, he would meet the level of “prospect”). The next name coming out of your mouth is Ike Davis, and again I have to stop you. First because he also is not “MLB ready” and secondly, the Jays already have an up-and-coming, slugging first baseman named David Cooper. Cooper had a rough time jumping from A to AA, and an equally difficult campaign in the Arizona Fall League, but was the 17th overall pick in 2008 draft and is expected to return to the form that made him one of the top hitters in the country. Though, you never know — maybe the Jays would consider giving him some competition.

The only other players fitting the descriptors of “young”, “salary controlled”, and “MLB ready” are Dan Murphy, Omir Santos, Nick Evans, and Josh Thole. Would the Jays be interested in any of those players?

Of course, the Jays could do what the Twins did two years ago and drop their demands — asking instead for unproven prospects. In that case, the Mets have plenty of players to offer — their system is full of highly projectable 19- and 20-year-olds. If all it takes to land one of the best pitchers in baseball is a few Ruben Tejada, Jefry Marte, and Wilmer Flores types, then the deal is a no-brainer.

But there’s more to the acquisition — just as there was with the Santana deal. Namely, the Mets will have to either negotiate an expensive extension, or let Halladay walk after the 2010 season. That’s where the real price needs to be considered — if he’s worth handing another 4-5 years and many millions of dollars. Or, is it worth emptying the farm system for one, possibly magical year of Roy Halladay?

The Mets did something similar with Mike Hampton prior to the 2000 season, and that deal helped them make the World Series. Was it worth it?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. astromets November 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm
    Davis was the 18th overall pick in the 2008 draft, not Cooper.
    Dan Murphy could qualify as major league ready bat to add in the trade with Pelfrey and Tejada and maybe another prospect like Marte or Flores. That doesn’t qualify as emptying out the farm system, thats a good deal for Halladay.
    Who did we give up for Hampton by the way?
  2. isuzudude November 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm
    Interesting. writes the following, based on a tweet by Jon Heyman: “…the Blue Jays are looking for a Jesus Montero or Casey Kelly-like prospect in exchange for Roy Halladay. Kelly and Montero are among the top prospects in the game, and the Jays would ask for even more on top of the talented youngsters. Heyman suggests the Yankees would need to package an established pitcher like Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain along with Montero and the Red Sox would have to provide Clay Buchholz to go along with Kelly. Roy Halladay is an excellent starter, but this kind of asking price will scare away most teams.”

    This leads me to believe the Jays ARE asking for the moon. And if the best the Mets can do is Pelfrey/Murphy/prospects, they’re going to get blown out of the water if either the Yankees or Red Sox are serious about landing Halladay. Again, this may all be posturing, because naturally Toronto is going to open negotiations looking for the best possible package, and it may wind up getting hairy for the Jays to deal their ace to interdivisional rivals. But I see both the Yanks and Sox as in better position than the Mets to take on Halladay’s projected contract extension, and hungrier to complete a trade than the Mets because they’ll be competing between themselves. Then again, I don’t know who Jon Heyman’s sources are, or how reliable his track record is, but I’m just calling it as I see it.

    And ultimately, regardless of whether the Mets find themselves in position to pull off another Johan-esqe heist for Halladay, I just don’t see it being worthwhile in the long run, as the Mets just don’t have enough minor league depth to be trading another boatload of prospects for 1 guy, nor do they have the flexibility to be handing out another $100M extension, especially to a guy who’s going to be 33 next year and will be in his upper 30s when his projected extension wraps up. These are red flags that tell me Halladay is not going to be worth the trouble.

    Meantime, news has also surfaced regarding another offseason acquisition target, Adrian Gonzalez, which can be read here:

    a-mets: Hampton was acquired from Houston, along with Derek Bell, for Octavio Dotel and Roger Cedeno.

  3. astromets November 27, 2009 at 9:48 pm
    In that case, we got Bell and Hampton, who both helped us to the series for Cedeno, who had a few decent seasons left in him, and Dotel, who has been alright when healthy. I would say that was definitely worth it.
    Although I don’t want to see a lost season, thats seeming to look like the better plan for the Mets long term than trying to win next year. I hope Omar thinks like that, that is about the only way he could save his job.
  4. joejanish November 28, 2009 at 12:52 am
    astromets – nice catch. Cooper was 17th, not 18th, which as you pointed out was Davis. Thanks very much. This is like the fourth error I’ve made in the last two months — I’m clearly losing my edge.

    Dotel has been “alright” ? A bit better than that. Still, I agree – a good deal for the Mets.

    ‘dude – I’m sincerely torn on this issue. Halladay might be had for less than $100M. He might also be serviceable through age 40, for all we know (though it’s unlikely). Beltran comes off the books shortly, and Delgado is already gone, so the Halladay investment may not be as insurmountable as it looks. And if he goes bad, well, the Dodgers survived Jason Schmidt’s contract. From the standpoint of the players, I’m not even a bit concerned about losing 19-year-old “prospects” — the Minaya / Bernazard regime has yet to impress me with their ability to evaluate talent. Which is another reason why I might be inclined to go for broke now, while Santana is in his prime and Beltran is on the club — because the farm, to me, doesn’t look like it’s going to produce a championship ballclub anytime soon.

  5. TheDZA November 28, 2009 at 5:33 am
    Bar the package for Halladay, the only stopper seems to be how old he is and that in offering an extension he would pitch the majority of that beyond 34 yrs of age.
    I am going to go out on a limb here, with no statistical support and say that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the majors for the last few yrs and so serious in his preparation and fitness that his age would not be the key issue.
    I think we’re talking about an old style pitcher here who regularly goes 200+ innings (with quite a few complete games), and essentially is a throwback to the pitchers of yore – a true competitor and a horse – before throwing 100 pitches a start became a CODE RED.
    He has definitely had a massive effect on Toronto’s younger pitchers – Players like Litsch, Romero…he has rubbed off on them and TO has a decent staff.
    Maybe he could fix Oli in like 5 minutes! Ha!

    Like I say no way of really knowing but if he could be had it might just be worth it.
    Anyhoo have a good Thanksgiving one and all.

  6. Mic November 28, 2009 at 10:17 am
    Again: No to Halladay. Cmon, Santana IS the best pitcher in Given the hype, expectations and example from Philly (just say no!!), I think Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, and THEN Josh Johnson are my primary targets. Also Ed Jackson and Piniero.

    Sorry But this team WILL need Ike, jeurys, Niese, Nieuwenhuis, Fmart (to sub for CB) & Tejada to go into the next decade.

  7. Mic November 28, 2009 at 10:39 am


    1. Joe: I like your pessimism. But I think with Santana, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, this team will rebound…..IF (jeff Wilpon) you dont think it will TRADE CB and Santana now. Amediocre team will not sell tickets either. I think the Mets can gamble this offseason.

    2. Therefore:
    a- Sign Nick Johnson. His OBP is the best we can hope for. Plus injury soothsayers..we have Nick Evans as his trusty sidekick. NB- Nick Johnson IS healthier than delgado.
    b. That frees Murphy and Pelfrey to dangle for Brandon Phillips. If that does not work then go for the O-dog.
    c. I still see Rich Harden as a high risk-really high reward pitcher along with Beddard and Sheets. These guys if 80% are better than anyone we have not named Santana. But I wish I could see their Medical reports.
    d. The biggest loss we had last yr was Pedro.

  8. Mike November 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm
    Look all, we know depth is paramount over a 162 game season if winning to the goal. We also know The Mets are not going to sell season ticket packages with the likes of Randy Wolf and Nick Johnson, though they might win with the likes of them. The Mets are in need of both a big splash in the lineup and the rotation, as well as depth up and down the roster. Can you have both in one off season? Only a truly good GM could do this, in my opinion.

    My point is if Halladay is available to Minaya then he is going to try and get him. I doubt that there is any free agent that could fit his needs that he wont be interested in. Regardless of what he can and wont give up he will try to land Halladay and we will hear more from the Mets on Halladay before the end.

    Joe, I think your comments are interesting on the farm: namely that you feel the system has plenty of highly projectable under 20 year-olds. This is essentially a point I’ve been getting across for a few months now. I think it can be misleading but it is an important distinction to separate the “highly projectable 19 year-old” from the ML ready or more advanced prospect. At low A ball and below most prospects are either talented and worthy of scouting, or just filler with not much chance to make it to the show. These prospects do not make for good trade bait because most organizations have about the same two-dozen or so scattered throughout the many levels. A+ ball and above is where the prospects take form, actually projectable roles, and scouting can occur making these prospects possible trade bait. If a trade for Halladay were to call for “prospects” in addition to ML ready young players then we are talking about A+ ball level and beyond, not the Jeurys Familia and the Jefry Marte’s of the system. My proof is that David Wright and Jose Reyes were both offered in trades for players (bad ones) and rejected because at the time they were no more than highly projectable youngsters and not the super prospects they became shortly after.

  9. […] in a post to Mets Today, Joe Janish wonders what bat the Mets might have to offer in a deal for Roy […]
  10. […] in a post to Mets Today, Joe Janish wonders what bat the Mets might have to offer in a deal for Roy […]