You've all heard it by now: The Toronto Blue Jays are open to considering offers for Roy Halladay.
It's not the end of the world. All the Jays front office wants to hear are some possible deals and to mull them over, probably not for long either.
If trading Roy Halladay is the right move for the team, it should be an easy thing to accomplish.
Teams are practically salivating over Halladay at his current deal; he's much more affordable now than when he becomes a free agent in 2010 and becomes a candidate for a $20 million a year contract.
That means the Toronto Blue Jays hold the most valuable contract in Major League Baseball in their hands—and all the possible blockbuster deals it could garner.
Is it time to trade it away? I don't think so.
Is it time to even start talking about it? Not even close.
Why is this even an issue right now? The Jays remain above .500 and in the hunt for October. Why aren't they trying to add pieces instead of thinking about trading their best player? Why are they devoting time and energy to theoreticals?
Don't tell me the money doesn't exist either. The money offered to A.J. Burnett to re-sign was substantial and was subsequently pulled off the table and back into the vault after that fell through.
Using some of that money to bring in some bullpen and rotational help would be welcomed.
At the beginning of the season, J.P. Ricciardi said he wouldn't burden Halladay by talking about an extension.
Why has he now gone in the opposite direction and saddled Doc with trade talks instead? Is that any less distracting to a player's season?
Even talking about this is unprofessional. It should be backroom talk, because if it's not serious, why would you even start to talk about it? Why scare the fans?
I'll tell you why Ricciardi has broached this topic at all: It's because it's going to happen. Roy Halladay will be traded, and it's going to be for all the wrong reasons.
What contender would be willing to swap ace for ace with Toronto? No one. That's not how you make a good baseball team, and everyone else in MLB has realized that. Chances are that the Jays would receive a ton of great young talent in return for Halladay.
Great, I think. This will be the beginning of building a real competitor—except that means waiting another few years for the seeds to blossom.
That means tolerating another few years of J.P. Ricciardi in Toronto.
Ricciardi's job isn't exactly what you would call safe. After eight years of mediocrity, you have to look around the league and wonder how many other GMs have been given so many chances. There aren't many.
An attempt to trade Halladay is Ricciardi's attempt to keep his job.
Think about it.
That young talent coming in will need to season for a few years in the minors. That means waiting to see if it was really worth trading away the best player Toronto has had in 10 years. It also means letting Ricciardi linger while his biggest trade tries to vindicate him.
Roy Halladay's contract expires in 2010. What a coincidence! So does Ricciardi's! If Halladay can't bring Ricciardi a playoff season by 2010, then in his mind he must trade him to warrant himself another extension.
It's a panic move to save Ricciardi's job, and the entire Rogers organization is buying into it.
Do you watch TV? I do, so I'll try to help fill you in here.
On Rogers Sportsnet (also known as the station owned by the same people who bring you the Toronto Blue Jays), Ken Rosenthal was brought in to extol the virtues of trading Halladay right now.
It's a great idea, says Ken; teams want him for that year and a half, instead of half a year next season. Trade him now, Sportsnet says.
I wonder: Would the station that belongs to Rogers actually be supporting its front office by using its medium? Could the organization be planting the stories for Sportsnet to run?
Meanwhile, on TSN, ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips was brought in. Phillips thinks the only way in hell you trade Halladay is if you receive the perfect deal.
That means All-Star Pitcher X, some high draft picks or excellent prospects, and maybe a little something-something on the side, just for Halladay. It's a deal that right now doesn't exist.
Did I mention that Rogers doesn't own TSN?
Sure, Rogers Sportsnet has a history of using FOX for programming and using Rosenthal as an analyst. I just feel it's a little too convenient that Rosenthal is vehemently in agreement with trading Halladay on the same network that pays Ricciardi.
It's a ham-fisted attempt to prepare Jays fans for Halladay's departure.
At this point I'd like to point out that a paranoid is simply someone in possession of all the facts.
Where was I?
Right, Roy Halladay.
Think for a moment about what moving Halladay actually means for Toronto. He's been the only constant in a Jays rotation that has been chewing up the organization's young pitchers.
Do you remember Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan? All three were young prospects who were asked to take on more innings because of openings in the rotation.
They responded beautifully. They also all ended up injured, and McGowan may never return. Is that the same fate Toronto fans want to see for the new breed of starters in Ricky Romero, Scott Richmond, Brett Cecil, Brad Mills, and now Marc Rzepczynski?
They're all going to be excellent pitchers, but they're all in their first real season as starters, and they've battled injuries. There has to be someone to take on more innings, a proven commodity, who can relieve some pressure.
That's Halladay—and it should be Halladay and another veteran pitcher that the Jays should acquire. Face it, it's going to cost more to continually build and rebuild a rotation trying to find another Doc.
Ricciardi & Co. are sitting on their hands. Instead of making a play for a veteran presence in the bullpen and rotation, they're waiting to see if this current squad can turn things around by themselves.
It's like they're observing the Jays for science: Let's put this team in Major League Baseball and see how it does with no help from its creators!
There's some sound thinking.
You can still trade Halladay later. He's still under your employ next year, and his extremely affordable contract makes him more valuable every day.
So why not try to use arguably the best pitcher in baseball while trying to add some help?
It's thinking like this that has driven me to drug use. Mostly Pepto-Bismol; I feel sick.
Granted, Ricciardi could just be thinking aloud. It's happened before (sorry Adam Dunn!). This could all blow over, and the Jays will plow on.
That's the whole point of this article, though: Why aren't the Jays trying to do anything sensible to win? Trading away Halladay won't win you more games now. Inaction is admitting defeat, and that means a winner can't be made from this Jays team.
That means it's time to start over, to tear it all down and start from scratch. That's fine with me.
Just not with J.P. Ricciardi in charge.
This is his team. He put it together, and its struggles are his struggles. J.P. should be fighting tooth and nail to bring in some help for Toronto. Instead he's thinking about trading away the best player on the team and hoping for good things.
If this team fails, it's Ricciardi's fault, and he should take the hit. He's the man signing players, and he's had eight years to assemble a winner.
I'd trade Halladay, especially if it means making the playoffs. I'm not married to anyone on the Jays, and as callous as that may seem, it's the way to win (see: Nomar Garciaparra and Boston).
Of course, this means that every possible option has been exhausted before Halladay is traded, and that's not the case.
Let's all calm down for a moment and accept that Roy Halladay has now been put on the trading block. We could be rolling in baseball riches come this time next year, and it could all be thanks to Halladay's departure.
NEXT YEAR. There are still things that can be done to salvage this season.
This year is the year to win with Halladay.
So get it done.
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