ESPN’s Buster Olney:
Right now, the team most aggressively searching for a frontline starting pitcher is the Philadelphia Phillies, who no doubt would covet Halladay for their particular park for his ability to generate ground balls and missed swings—he has a ground ball/fly ball ratio of 1.30, to go along 98 strikeouts in 116 innings this season. The question about the Phillies—as it is with most teams these days, when the value of young players has never been higher—is whether they would be willing to give up what the Jays would require in trade.
It’d take a ton of prospects to land this whale, but wouldn’t you take another World Series win in 2009 for potentially lean years three or four seasons down the line? Halladay is an ace’s ace. A guy who can simply carry a squad for months at a time. We can all dream of what Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown, Michael Taylor, and Carlos Carrasco will look like in a Phils uniform, but the fact is we dreamt the same thing about Pat Combs, Ron Jones, Marlon Byrd, and Brad Brink once too.
Take the World Series this year, and potentially the next season as well (Halladay is signed through 2010), and worry about restocking the farm in the interim.
There is no hitter on the market who would represent fair value for Vazquez—not A’s left fielder Matt Holliday, who is underperforming as a potential free agent; not Brewers right fielder Corey Hart, whose on-base percentage since the start of the 2008 season is .307. There will, however, be plenty of hitters available at bargain prices this off-season.
As much as I like Vazquez, his post-season track record, in a word, blows. If the Braves decide they’re out of it, and aren’t enamored with extending Vazquez beyond 2010, a package of Lou Marson, Kyle Kendrick, and Carlos Carrasco may do the trick. But after reading how much Javy likes Atlanta and Bobby Cox, any sort of deal for him seems like quite the longshot.