Thursday, July 16, 2009

DocTalk: The juice ain't worth the squeeze

Reading anything into the Blue Jays setting up their pitching rotation so Roy Halladay gets two starts at home before the July 31 trade deadline is a fool's play, likely.

It is just that if Halladay was throwing Friday against the Red Sox instead of Sunday, his next two starts would come on the road, assuming a normal five-man rotation with no one getting bumped. This way, with the temporary move to a four-man rostation, Halladay is in line to start a Friday home game on July 24 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, so if Doc is headed out of Toronto (to possibly Philadelphia, San Francisco or St. Louis) that is the night to head down to Rogers Centre with a black armband fashioned out of hockey tape affixed to a powder-blue throwback jersey. (If they were still using a five-man, it would be July 25.)

Gut feeling: Richard Griffin's rationale that the Jays should hold on until the winter, do some fact-facing and say, "We're not gonna contend in the 2010 AL East," makes some sense. The media and fanbase will be on a less of a hair trigger.

The reasoned response all along was that Halladay was not going to be traded before the end of this season. By the way, the snappy answer to the question, "Where is Doc headed?" is, "Cooperstown." Those of you who like to feed two birds with one scone can say, "They'll trade him the same day the Ottawa Senators deal Dany Heatley."

During the all-star game telecast on Tuesday, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal came off like he was backpedalling like a Pro Bowl cornerback when he reiterated that Halladay would be traded, and now he's admitting the St. Louis Cardinals and L.A. Angels are all but out of the running, although Cardinals fans sure were fawning over the right-hander. No doubt you read speculation that the Yankees could take Vernon Wells ludicrous contract off the Jays' hands. Of course, as Jason Rosenberg at It's About The Money, Stupid noted, adding Wells might be too rich even for the Yankees' blood, even with the extra revenue they're bringing in by streaming broadcasts online. It would potentially leave them with almost $170 million committed to nine players come the 2011 season.
"That's flat out insane. Of course, this doesn't include resigning Halladay or any other free agents. They might try to overpay Jason Bay (assuming he's not signed to an extension by Boston), sign Matt Holliday or any of the eventual Rays free agents. Bottom line, that money's gonna be spent.

"Wells might be another Bobby Abreu with a lower OBP and less SB; a solid player with 20 HR power. Is he 'worth' $23M? Not a chance. Is he worth absorbing that contract to land Halladay, assuming you don't have to give up Joba (Chamberlain), (pitcher Phil) Hughes, (outfield prospect Jesus) Montero? I'm not sure. I've been debating this for a long time and I've been staunchly saying that 'there's no way the Yanks take on Wells,' but maybe I am wrong. (Veteran outfielders Johnny) Damon and (Hideki) Matsui are gone after this year. (Xavier) Nady, too. Can you put Wells in CF for the next few years and have greater productivity than (Brett) Gardner and/or Melky (Cabrera)? Probably. Can you absorb Wells' abortion of a contract for the year and a half (at least) of Halladay's services? I'm not sure."
It cannot be stressed enough that all of this is just a fan's futile attempt to, in the parlance of those MacLean's promos which are played ad nauseam on Blue Jays radio broadcasts, make sense of it all. The best one can do is try to offer some guidelines:
  • Baseball Prospectus believes the Jays should act with Halladay and the left side of the infield, 34-year-old third baseman Scott Rolen and 33-year-old shortstop Marco Scutaro. A lot of people have fallen in love with those two, instead of merely falling in like.

  • One should shudder at hearing any rumours about a deal with the Yankees that would send Chamberlain, Hughes, Gardner and Shelley Duncan to Toronto. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Chamberlain has plateaued as a pitcher. Also, he's shown a lack of durability in his career to date, which would make the optics of dealing Halladay even worse.

  • It should have been stressed from the get-go that using the 2008 Erik Bedard trade, where the Baltimore Orioles got all-star outfielder Adam Jones and closer George Sherrill (among others), is a poor baseline. That was more of an anomaly and the GM who signed off on that, Bill Bavasi, has since been fired.

  • Meantime, the San Diego Padres' story arc with their ace Jake Peavy is pretty germane. That franchise has overriding internal issues (change of ownership), not unlike the Blue Jays (an interim CEO, a meh attitude in their local market and questions about their uninterested ownership). The Padres were unable to get anything done with Peavy, and are now on course to finish with about 97 losses. The gist of it the Jays probably have to act, but there's a time and place for it and that time is not in the next two weeks.
Anyway, you know it's not my style to rubberneck rumours (better to dilettante around committing to nothing, that's how it's done in Sageritaville, right?), but this one was rich:
"The Phillies remain 'very, very interested' in acquiring Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay and are currently putting together a package of prospects that may actually also include recently-signed P Pedro Martinez. The Cardinals are also a favorite to land Halladay if, and only IF they are willing to part with blue-chip prospect, OF Colby Rasmus, along with several other prospects. The Dodgers remain in the action as well and a late entry into the field are the San Francisco Giants who are unsure of the availability of Randy Johnson for the rest of the year. Their package is said to include former AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito and the highly-touted Jonathan Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter in his last start right before the All Star Break.
Halladay and Tim Lincecum in the same starting rotation in San Fran? At least that would be ironic. Another irony for an Ottawa-based Jays fan: Michael Taylor, the one outfielder whom the Phillies are said to have dangled, just got promoted to Lehigh Valley. Oi, a thousand times, oi.

(There's no graceful way to segue into it, but Bart Given has a post up at Inside The Majors explaining what a travelling secretary does in major league baseball. He managed to dig out a picture of George Costanza and Wilhelm from Seinfeld. Kinger referenced Seinfeld when Given was a guest on his CFRC sports show several weeks ago.


Ian H. said...

I never wanted to be a Traveling Secretary for and MLB team until Seinfeld came along.

sager said...

The Tao of Stieb has created a #JobaSucks tag for Twitter, by the way.

Dave said...

MLB this morning alluded to Bucholz (sic?) for Halladay, there's an interesting way to win your division, though there's a good shot he goes to Boston or NY anyway.

sager said...

And Clay Buchholz starts for the Bostons tonight vs. the Blue Jays. Hey-hey.

Alex said...

It's kind of strange to see that the guy who's been the best pitcher the last 5 years or so might not get into the hall... but Halladay just might not have the numbers to get in unless he pitches a LOT more years.

Dave said...

That's what they were saying on MLB this AM, Buchholz was called up AND the Bosox rotation was altered to give him this start. Showcase?