As is often the case in trade speculation, there is a wide range of opinions on what Roy Halladay is actually worth on the trade market.
His perceived value—in the media, amongst fans and on blogs—ranges from obscenely slanted in favor of the Blue Jays (any five players in any minor-league system) to ridiculously weighted in favor of whatever team the Blue Jays trade him to (salary dump for marginal prospects).
Obviously, the truth is somewhere closer to the first suggestion, but I still feel Halladay’s perceived value is skewed way too high in general right now.
Luckily, Halladay wouldn’t be the first ace to be dealt in the past few seasons. We have precedence to go on. Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren and Erik Bedard all have ace-like numbers and have been dealt in recent seasons. Let’s analyze those trades on the surface and see if we can come up with any conclusions.
Santana was younger than Halladay at the time of the trade, has better numbers than Halladay and the Twins offered the Mets a window of time to sign Santana to an extension. The Jays will not do that with any Halladay trade. So, the Blue Jays should get slightly less value in a trade of Halladay than the Twins got for Santana.
The Brewers sent four players, including their No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America, to the Indians. Michael Brantley, a highly regarded AA outfielder at the time, likely would have been in the Brewers’ top 10 this year if he was still in the system and he was ranked No. 9 in the Indians system.
Rob Bryson was a lower level prospect and Zack Jackson was a failed prospect.
Sabathia was younger than Halladay and as good of a pitcher as him, but was just a half-season rental in this trade. The Blue Jays should get more for Halladay than the Brewers paid for Sabathia.
Peavy nixed the trade, but the White Sox were prepared to send their Nos. 2 and 3 prospects, according to Baseball America, and two players to be named later to the Padres in a deal for the San Diego pitcher.
Peavy is younger and has very similar numbers to Halladay. He is signed to a reasonable deal through 2012 with a 2013 option so any team that would trade for him would be getting him for a handful of years.
That increases his trade value to some degree, but the financial risk involved is also greater. I think the Blue Jays should expect a similar return on Halladay to this nixed deal.
The Oakland A's received six players, including their Nos. 1, 3, 7 and 8 prospects, according to Baseball America, for Haren.
Haren was younger than Halladay, had similar numbers and was signed to a low-cost deal for three years. The Blue Jays should not expect as much as the Diamondbacks paid for Haren if they trade Halladay.
The Orioles got five players, including former Mariners No. 1 prospect Adam Jones (he was entering his second year in the majors at the time) and their No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America. The Orioles also received a nice MLB relief pitcher, George Sherrill, and two other minor leaguers.
The Mariners got Bedard for two full seasons. The pitcher was younger than Halladay and had great numbers in 2007, but was less proven and more of an injury risk. The Blue Jays could probably expect a similar return on Halladay.
What Have We Learned?
First of all, this all very subjective since prospect rankings within individual systems depend on how good that minor-league system is, but it can at least give us a general idea of what Halladay is worth.
Based on recent trades of aces, it looks as though the Blue Jays should be able to reasonably expect to get two top-five prospects, another prospect in the top 10 range and one additional player for Halladay.
What Could the Brewers Offer?
I made a post yesterday about the possibility of including shortstop J.J. Hardy in a trade with the Blue Jays. The tough thing there is it’s hard to peg down what Hardy’s value would be to the Jays or if they would even be interested in him. They definitely need a shortstop of the future, but Hardy is only a season and a half away from free agency.
If the Jays thought he could be the answer at the position for them, they could trade for him and hope to work out a long-term deal before he reached free agency. With so many ifs in that scenario though, I’ll go with a simpler proposal for now.
The Brewers could offer third baseman Mat Gamel (the Brewers' No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America), catcher Angel Salome (No. 5), pitcher Zach Braddock and one additional prospect.
The Brewers could afford to deal Gamel because they have another highly regarded third base prospect, Taylor Green, climbing up the system. Likewise, the Brewers could trade Salome because catcher Jonathan Lucroy is a level behind but equal or ahead of Salome in prospect rankings.
Lefty Zach Braddock is having a breakout season this year and has moved up to AA. He was not listed on the BA top 10 before the season, but would likely be near the bottom of the top 10 if they redid the rankings now.
In fact, Braddock is the Brewers No. 7 prospect, according to the most recent BrewerFan.net Power 50. The final prospect would probably someone in the No. 10-20 range in terms of prospect rankings. A high-ceiling pitcher like Wily Peralta, Cody Scarpetta, Evan Anundsen, or Jake Odorizzi would probably fit the bill.
So, What Do You Think?
Should the Brewers offer a deal of something like Gamel/Salome/Braddock/Odorizzi for Halladay?
The Brewers are in a unique position where the top two prospects in that proposal would have other highly regarded prospects at their positions that could move up the totem pole behind them if they were to be dealt. It would make the deal’s blow to the minor-league system a bit easier to take, in that regard anyway.
However, it would hurt to lose the pitching prospects since the Brewers’ minor-league system is starving for pitching at the higher levels and the Brewers hope those players will develop into big-league arms in the coming seasons.
The addition of Halladay would be a huge boost to the team though. The starting rotation is the clear weak spot and an upgrade is necessary if the team is expected to make the playoffs this season. A top two of Halladay and Gallardo would be imposing in regular season match-ups and even more so in a postseason series.
The money Halladay is due would certainly be an issue as it would put major constraints on an already tight budget for this season and next, but if the front office can make it work, it’d certainly help set up this team for success.
Furthermore, the NL Central and the NL as a whole are pretty weak this season, so any boost, and especially an addition as good as Halladay, could mean a big difference in how far the team can go.
Since the Brewers would have Halladay again next season, it would set up well with the window this team has to compete.
Many of the key young players will reach free agency years by 2011 or 2012, meaning the Brewers will have some tough decisions to make in regards to contracts and who should be traded to restock the minor-league system by the time those seasons roll around. Realistically, 2009 and 2010 are probably the last years this core group will be together.
The more I think about a move like this, the more I support it. I’m usually not in favor of gutting a minor-league system, but the circumstances seem to be right in this case for the Brewers to make an aggressive push for the postseason.
If you were the Brewers GM, would you offer Mat Gamel, Angel Salome, Zach Braddock and Jake Odorizzi for a season and a half of Roy Halladay?