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?