AL-Only owners know the risks that come with their incomplete universe. While lightweight fantasy players comb a lush waiver wire full of hitters with solid averages, they troll the Mariners DH platoon and scan starting lineups for utility infielders. Such is the curse of a split league.
The fun, of course, is in the challenge of making a winner with such limited resources.
The Agony. The Ecstasy. The endless hours of refreshing MLBTradeRumors.com.
So what's a saavy manager to do?
Prepare an exit strategy—now.
If you own Roy Halladay, your mission for the next twenty four hours is simple: strike any deal, whatever deal, with anyone who can take him.
This, of course, won't be easy. He's been branded with the scarlet letter—a Phillies "P," if media rumors are to be believed—and AL owners should be sweating if they're not already. He needs to go, and he needs to go now. No matter what.
But why? What if he stays in the AL? I'm losing the best pitcher!
True, but when this many signs point to him moving leagues, you need to face facts, not cling to hope. There is a window now to get some value for him, but it gets a little smaller every time the Brewers or Dodgers or Reds (!) open their mouths and stay in the hunt for him.
There's still someone in your league—the team in first that's willing to trade some pieces away to land a big fish, or a contender willing to gamble or a last place team looking for a solid keeper. Whatever it takes, whoever it is, you can get something for him, but you have to do it now.
Logically, you need to convince a willing owner that the rewards outweigh the risks.
Here's the game plan:
- Play the J.P. Riccardi card. It won't be hard to find back up—read any of the Halladay rumor stories and you'll find numerous references to the Toronto GM's incompetence and horrible deal making during his tenure. Suggesting therefore that he will overplay his hand and Halladay will stay in Toronto is not a complete stretch.
- There are AL Teams that want him. I've seen this scrap of logic— which seems pretty unsubstantiated in the rumor mill—but only the Yankees and Red Sox can afford him. So... that must be where he's going. The money perception is true, though whether the Yankees or Red Sox can actually afford him is debatable. Regardless, use their pocketbooks to nab a decent bat or pitcher.
- He's Roy Halladay! Who wouldn't want the AL's best player? (This line of dialogue is probably best saved for the league noob who still has Giambi sitting in his 1B/3B)
Finally, be realistic. He's not Roy Halladay any more. No one is going to give you Justin Morneau for him. But Matt Garza and a solid reliever? Yeah, you might just get that. A few decent outfielders to help keep your team in the running? Definitely possible.
It's now or never. If he lands in Philly or LA or anywhere after his great start in Tampa Bay Friday night, he won't be worth less, he'll be worthless. Zip, nothing, of no consequence. But those pieces you picked up for him? Money in the bank.