"I'm Your Huckleberry. A fight for (Rings)--that's just my game."
By Patrick Read
The question is: "Is Doc Halladay and consecutive rings worth it?
Many say that Roy Halladay (2009: 2.73 ERA, 4 CG, with a 11-3 record), who is being shopped by the Toronto Blue Jays, "would never be traded within the American League East. After all, why would Toronto want to make their job of competing tougher?"
This type response is bornashet and heard all the time; as if the internet isn't at their finger tips.
Tell it to David Cone, Roger Clemens and David Wells that "Toronto would never deal an Ace within their League." Clemens was traded to NY even after two consecutive Cy Young’s in '97 and '98. Each has been dealt between the Yankees and Blue Jays; and all were League Aces.
At first glance, it’s clear that Toronto would be worse off without Roy Halladay; but not so fast, speed-racer.
Toronto isn't shopping Halladay around to get better "this year", are they?
Toronto is looking to rebuild and to better their team in order to compete in the AL East for tomorrow; not today. They have no choice and know that they can not stop the Yankees from signing Halladay next year, when he becomes a free agent.
So why would they "shoot themselves in the foot" by barring a team from a trade, when that team has all the right tools for a brighter Toronto tomorrow?
Toronto will deal Halladay to whoever gives them the best young talent in return, keeping their pay-role low and future bright; which is where the Yankees walk in.
The Yankees are deep in "cheap, powerful, young talent" and they have the pockets to absorb their losses and Halladay's Check. From my count, NY still has about $20 million dollars left over from last years' pay role. And the Yankees always spend more money on pay-role than they did their previous year.
In other words; Steinbrenner could've been waiting for this one. He realizes that they will have to make sacrifices in order to put Halladay on this year’s team and next years team, in order to take the Rings.
In 2 years time, Doc will be 34, Posada may not be a catcher, Matsui may not be a Yankee and no one knows who else will still be Back in the Bronx.
So, buck up and get real Yankees. The opportunity to win it all this year, the first in the House that Fans Built, is on the line and so is next years chance at bling too.
Who can replace Doc Halladay and AJ Burnett--the anchors to Toronto’s rotation, one lost by Toronto last off season and one in the balance?
One would think that the current starters are out of consideration, for obvious reasons. NY is already one man short in the rotation, so don’t count on any starters (like Joba) going to TOR.
Here is a list of low-cost, young, top talented players that could (in some combination) be put together for Toronto in return for Doc Halladay.
Chien-Ming Wang could effectively replace Halladay as Toronto's "Tomorrow Ace" and save them big money too. Wang is 29 years old with a lot of quality years still on the horizon.
The Yankees could offer Wang, Brian Bruney, Austin Jackson (or Nick Swisher) and Francisco Cervelli. The Yankees would still have Phil Hughes and Alfredo Aceves in the Bull Pen and (of course) Doc Halladay as a starter.
Considering that Wang is an established league ace who has beaten Halladay out in Cy Young votes (earning 38 wins in consecutive seasons) The Jays might be all-in on Wang; regardless of Wang's injury, because (again) Toronto is looking to the future--and not for performance this year.
Wang signed a one year contract during last off season for $5 million; which is $9 million less than what Halladay earns. This move would save Toronto about $4.5 million for the rest of the year and give them a leg up on securing him as their future.
If Toronto is not interested in a Wang opportunity, then there is younger, more cost effective talent abound in Yankee Universe.
Joba Chamberlain vs. Phil Hughes
Some try to protect Joba "and" Hughes from a trade option for Halladay, but only one of these two is a proven starter.
Joba's highest ERA as a starter in the Majors is 4.2, and as of June he was the second lowest ERA on the team. He did have the lowest ERA on the team last year, and was in the top ten MLB wide. He is currently a 4.05.
Panicked e-fans have been complaining about his starting performance this year; even though they would be a lot more panicked had Joba gotten injured in July while throwing heat. Suffice it to say, Chamberlain has been on an Injury Prevention Program and is now ramping back up.
One doesn’t lose 6 mph from their fastball unless they are in need of serious surgery. He has hit 98 mph as a starter in three games this year. Do you think he just doesn’t "want" to throw hard or could it be that he is being told to hold-back? I would say the latter. In the mean time, Yankee fans "get" to watch him develop as a Major Leaguer; skipping the minors altogether. Hype that.
On the other hand, Phil Hughes has been a league stand out performer in the set-up role with a .74 ERA in 24 innings of work. But he has never shown real success as a Major League starter despite three years of trying and having already spent 3 solid years in the minors (2004-2006).
As a starter last year Hughes hit double digits in ERA until injured, and was a 7 ERA this year until his last 3 starts which brought him down to a 5.45 ERA.
Hughes could be a center-piece for a Halladay trade as well
Hughes, Cervelli, Nick Swisher and Juan Miranda would catch Toronto's attention. All are making the league minimum and each have bright, bright futures.
Although the Yankees have found it hard to fill the set-up role prior to Hughes, Dameso Marte was acquired last year for just this role and is en route to return to the Yanks soon; after recently jacking it up to 93 mph in a rehab start. There are also some eye-raising pitching for Trenton too, among them is Zach McAllister (92 innings pitched with a 2.25 ERA).
There are other big time starters in the Yankee Bull Pen too, and the best among them is Alfredo Aceves.
Like Joba and Hughes, Alfredo Aceves is a (thus far) dominant, dynamic pitcher's-pitcher. He is a starter by nature, even going 7 innings this year of 1-hit-ball in the minors, flashing Orlando "El Duke" Hernandez (bull pen free agent alert) type brilliance.
And like both Hughes and Chamberlain, Aceves is lights out in the pen. In 46 innings of big league play, Aceves is a 2.53 ERA. An Aceves trade would require a complete stir up of Minor League talent.
Alfredo Aceves, Brian Bruney, Juan Miranda, Austin Jackson (or Eric Hinske) & Cervelli. The Yankees would still have Phil Hughes, Marte, Phil Coke and Robertson in the bull pen and (of course) Doc Halladay as a starter.
The Starting Rotation could look like this:
Doc Halladay, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnette, Andy Pettitte and Joba.
It would be great to keep Hughes in the set-up role; I agree. It’s been water-shed moments having Hughes prove himself in the bull pen. Perhaps this article had it right all along, Hughes is a natural in the set-up role.
Either way, the good thing about trading prospects is that they can always be regained in the future.
But, the question still remains though, "are two consecutive World Series Yankee Rings worth it?"
In the words of the immortal Casey Stengal, "Kid, I like you and would love to keep you around all season, but we're trying to win a Championship up here."
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