Yep, that's Harry Leroy "Doc" Halladay waving goodbye to Toronto, and it will have to happen 3 days before the trade deadline now that J.P. Ricciardi has set the 28th as his deadline.
Unless a team panics and pays the huge price that Ricciardi is asking for, Halladay will stay put and be moved in the offseason when the asking price nudges a wee bit. I'm setting the odds at about 40 percent that Doc is in a new uniform this season (10 percent if the Indians place Lee on the chopping block).
The J.P. deadline says two things to me.
One, Ricciardi doesn't think he'll be around for long, the way things are going for the Jays.
And two, he is planning on completely rebuilding this team.
But enough about Doc. I've seen enough coverage on whether or not he will be traded.
I want to know what will happen to the Jays if it actually happens.
If Doc gets traded by the 28th, it will give Ricciardi time to try to move several other players to contending teams for as many prospects and as much salary dump as they can. Think of Doc as the first domino in a long line.
So who follows Doc out the door?
C Rod Barajas is one of my favourite Jays, and would be a very good trade chip. He has been struggling lately, but has handled the rotation well and out-played his $1.2 M contract, second among AL catchers with 43 RBIs. He has a player $2.5 M option that is automatic if he plays 130 (Tonight he's in his 75th).
He would be a great platoon catcher, as he hits lefties at a .329 mark. With J.P. Arencibia being the catcher of the future, the odds of Barajas being traded for a prospect are pretty good.
1B Lyle Overbay is a very good defensive veteran and punishes right handed pitching (.277/.397/.497). He's in his contract year with a manageable number on his pay cheque. However, his power numbers are weak, especially for a first baseman (23rd in the ML with nine HRs among first basemen).
The only contending teams with a weaker bat at 1B are the Giants and Dodgers, with Ishikawa and Loney respectively. The odds of them being interested in Overbay are lowered, with both Ishikawa and Loney being younger, cheaper, and lefties.
PTP - San Francisco, Los Angeles Dodgers
Odds - 20 %
2B Aaron Hill is not going anywhere.
3B Scott Rolen is a phenomena,l all around player. He's no longer a big power threat, but has the highest batting average of the AL third basemen, with a very impressive 25 game hitting streak in June/July, the longest in a storied career. He is a veteran with a championship ring, but does have a hefty contract that runs till 2010 and a history on the DL .
If the Blue Jays are going to trade Rolen, they might not be able to get as much as they would like because of his contract.
SS Marco Scutaro might be the best trading chip the Jays have, outside of Halladay. The veteran shortstop is having a career season in a contract year and is only making $1.1 M this season (with 400k more coming with performance bonuses). While I'm not sure where to look to compare leadoff men, I am sure he has been the top leadoff man in baseball this year.
He is a sparkplug on offense, seeing a lot of pitches, with a lot of good ABs. He doesn't strike out much (43), walks more (59), scores even more (65) and can drive in runs at the top of the order (39). Who doesn't want that? Oh, and he can play some above average defense.
His odds of leaving go up because of the Jays asking specifically for a top SS prospect in any Halladay trade.
LF Adam Lind is staying right next to Hill
CF Vernon Wells was once thought to be the face of the franchise. Now, he is a sore topic on the minds of every Toronto fan. The seven year, $126 million dollar contract is without a doubt the worst contract in Toronto history, and the reason Ricciardi is nervous about his job. Wells is hitting well under .200 with RISP and cannot buy a clutch base hit.
If there was ever a guy Toronto needed to trade, it's Wells. If there was ever a guy who Toronto will not be able to trade...it's Wells.
RF Alex Rios is another player who needs to get out of Toronto. He has struggled this season, but has managed to put up decent numbers. He fell well out of favor with Canadian fans after the video of him verbally assaulting a mouthy fan in front of kids. Rios has shown flashes of hope, putting things together at a few points this season, but just can't put a lengthy string of good games together. A change of scenery might be the best thing for Rios and the Jays
Rios still has a lot of good baseball left in him, and the fact that he's still young might get a team to take a chance on his long and sizeable contract.
PTP - San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, Detroit
Odds - 30 %
Kevin Millar and John McDonald would be very good pick ups for any team who wants to make a playoff run. Millar is a good lefty bat that can come off the bench and McDonald is a defensive wizard. They also have cheap contracts that run out at the end of the season.
Odds - 66.7 %
Jose Bautista and David Dellucci are more expensive, but also have expiring contracts.
Odds - 30 %
Raul Chavez came up after Michael Barrett got injured, took the back up catcher spot, and kept it. Barajas is more likely to get traded, so I think they're going to have to keep Chavez.
Odds - 5 %
The Jays are stocked with good young arms not named Halladay, and they might need to include one or two of them in order to get teams to take some of their larger contracts (Rios, Wells and Rolen). If they had a healthy staff all year, they would not be even thinking of a Halladay trade.
McGowan, Marcum and Listch were all great last season, but all three were hurt this season, with Litsch the only one to see playing time, making him the one teams might take a chance on.
Odds - 10 %
Romero, Cecil, Rzepczynski, and Richmond were all rookie starters this season for Toronto, and with Brad Arnsberg doing the job he's doing, I don't see any of them being moved.
Odds - 1 %
Purcey is the one young pitcher I see the Jays dangling out for other teams with the big contracts. He's a giant lefty with plenty of talent but still has some control issues. Then again, he's only 27 and was a first round pick.
Odds - 50 %
Brian Tallet is another big lefty that Toronto could move. The man with the moustache started the season as one of their better relievers, but quickly made his way into the starting lineup due to injuries. Teams will want him because he be a starter, long reliever, seventh inning guy, or lefty specialist.
Odds - 60 %
Scott Downs gave the Jays the security they needed to release B.J. Ryan. Unfortunately, if the team goes into rebuilding mode, Downs is the third best trading chip the Jays have, behind Doc and Scutaro. He has proven himself as a very good closer (tonight excluded) and a top set up man.
Odds - 85%
Jeremy Accardo, Jason Frasor and Dirk Hayhurst have all looked excellent and will carry a steep price for any suitor.
Odds - 10%
Shawn Camp and Jesse Carlson are both Cito Gaston favourites and will object to any trade for prospects.
Odds - 18%
Brandon League has the most talent in the pen. His fastball is nasty with a capital NASTY (97mph with a lot of movement). However, his wildness has stopped him from becoming an elite pitcher and will prevent the Jays from keeping him. He's also still young, which is why the Jays can still get good value, but it's also why they might want to hang onto him.