We have been subjected to every theoretical trade scenario under the sun since Roy Halladay was rumored to be available via trade last season.
There are dozens of hypothetical deals that send an entire farm system worth of players in exchange for Halladay and his contract, which expires after 2010.
National League clubs see Halladay as the key to defeating the New York Yankees in the World Series.
American League clubs are of the opinion that not only can Halladay help them in the playoffs, but acquiring him can stop the Yankees from getting far enough to defend their title.
No matter where Halladay is traded, if a deal does occur, the team that gains his services will have to negotiate with him for a new contract.
Halladay has said that he will offer an exclusive negotiation window for whatever team he is dealt to, and the team will have to work a new contract within a short amount of time before the deal goes dry.
The newly re-emerging rumors that multiple teams have been in contact with the Blue Jays regarding the ace are great for rumor mills, but I don't think the supposed deals on the table are worth the cost of the 32-year old.
Let me just say that I'm not trying to devalue Halladay's ability.
He is the best pitcher in the junior circuit and still has a number of years with top-notch production remaining in his right wing.
But the team that brings him on board has to have other top-of-the-line pitchers to aid him, because his arm alone will not win a World Series.
The team that gets him needs to be committed to throwing him three times in a seven-game series, because unless you have the plan to ride your big gun through it all, then it's not worth selling the farm system for him.
We found out in the World Series between the Phillies and Yankees that the key to winning the championship does not lie in one pitcher.
Yankees' manager Joe Girardi laid out a three-man rotation, anchored by C.C. Sabathia, and stuck to it.
Girardi also had the benefit of free agent signing A.J. Burnett and the seasoned veteran Andy Pettitte to support the workhorse Sabathia.
Charlie Manuel, on the other hand, was hesitant to outline a definite postseason rotation, and his decision to not bring back his ace, Cliff Lee, on three days rest was catastrophic.
Manuel's decision was complicated by the less than impressive season turned in by former ace Cole Hamels and the lack of a solid third starter to rely upon.
By not committing to his ace, Manuel put Phillies in a poor position for Game Seven had they made it that far.
If the Phillies had managed to force a Game Seven, they wouldn't have had Lee available for the epic finale because he was used in Game Five instead of Game Four.
The decision made by Manuel relegated his ace virtually useless, and without the backup of one or two top-end arms in the starting rotation, it made the acquisition of Lee a moot point.
What I'm saying is there is no good done in trading for Halladay if you don't have a quality staff to back him up.
Even more troubling is that trading for him will require either jeopardizing your future or destroying your current roster.
Halladay has stated that he only wants to go to a winner, and that makes a trading a lot more restrictive for the Jays.
It develops into a catch-22 because whatever chips are exchanged for him can't significantly hurt the team he is going to because it might devalue the team to the point that Halladay doesn't want to pitch for them.
That leaves the other option, which is sending an army of top-end prospects for Halladay.
Sure, it sounds tempting to put all of your eggs in one basket and go for broke in 2010, but you can't run an organization in that manner.
Sending a litany of top-prospects to the Jays may sound tempting, but just ask the Seattle Mariners how their trade for, at the time, ace Erik Bedard worked out.
Bedard has battled injuries for the past two seasons while Adam Jones, the main player traded for Bedard, enjoyed an All-Star season that he recently capped off with a Gold Glove award.
Now, clearly Halladay is a much higher-caliber pitcher than Bedard, but the point to take away is that the Mariners stunted the future growth of the team by sending away the talented centerfielder Jones.
In my opinion, whichever city acquires Halladay will be sorely disappointed when he is unable to deliver a World Series title by himself and then the organization is left with little in the bank of their farm system.
There is, however, one daunting exception that could place Halladay in an elite rotation.
If Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro can secure the Doc to go along with Lee and Hamels, the Phillies will then have that scary top-three rotation to ride throughout the postseason just like the Yankees did this past fall.
And as a Dodgers fan, that scares the life out of me.
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