Sunday, July 19, 2009

DocWatch: If they took our Halladay, where to?

When something is out of your hands, you might as well mine it for humour.

At the very least, that's the intellectual justification for posting on Roy Halladay, whose next home start could come Friday vs. the Tampans at Rogers Centre (or not). He proved himself a friend of gamblers and Seamheads who will take baseball any way they can get it but can take only so much of Sportsnet's telecasts by needing only two hours, 15 minutes to six-hit the Boston Red Sox. With the Bostonians' propensity for arguing balls and strikes, you could say, "It was vintage Roy Halladay and the Red Sox brought the whine."

After the 3-1 win where he threw only 27 balls to 33 hitters, Halladay's WHIP is 1.07 and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a sick 113-17. A 3:1 ratio is solid, 6:1 would fit right in on Ridiculous Day down at the deli. There's the damn trade talk, though, and Phillies prospect Michael Taylor does offer a ton of potential.
"The Phillies remain nearly everyone's favorite to land star Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, and the teams are believed to have advanced to the point where they have discussed several of Philadelphia's top prospects — including outfielder Michael Taylor, shortstop Jason Donald and pitcher Carlos Carrasco — although, there's no evidence yet that the Phillies are relenting on top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.

"If Philly agrees to surrender Drabek, one competing executive said, 'they might get (Halladay) real quick.' " —
Under the heading of "thanks, Captain Obvious," the optics of trading within the division — GM-cest — are so bad the possibility should not be considered. A Jays fan should figure out which team would be an acceptable destination, just as Nordberg's wife in the first Naked Gun movie was told not to wait too long to fill out those organ donor cards. It also helps if the reasoning, so-called, is completely random and as irrational as possible. It's also irrespective of what the Jays might get in return, since that is J.P. Ricciardi's concern.
  1. Milwaukee Brewers — It works on so many levels. The Jays were pwned by the Brewers long before the term was coined, the Brewers seem to have sucked up to Canada and Milwaukee is cool in an avocado-coloured furniture kind of way.

    You would never hear this in the Toronto media whose baseball memory only covers the years 1989-93, but two small-market Midwestern teams, the Brewers and Kansas City Royals, have hand on the Jays, in the Costanzian sense, and it can never be rectified. The Royals, of course, eliminated a two-game deficit in the 1985 playoffs and kept the Jays out of the World Series. Two years later, when the Jays and Tigers engaged in one of the great divisional races of the pre-wild card era, the Brewers played spoiler by sweeping a late-season series in Toronto. That is tough to avenge, since the Brewers were liberated from the American League (coincidentally, Bud Selig used to be their owner) and moved to the NL in 1998. The only way is if there's a Milwaukee-Toronto World Series.

    The Brewers also have a Canadian GM and assistant GM, Doug Melvin and Gord Ash, and B.C.-born bonus baby Brett Lawrie will be a fast-riser through their farm system. It's like they're cosying up to Canada.

    Last but not least, Milwaukee might seem like a hick town. Well, there are two kinds of hick towns, the ones which are dull and boring (ahem, where I do live again?) and those ones which are quirky. This is coming from a guy who's never lived there, but Milwaukee falls toward the latter. Brewers fans sing the obscure second verse of Beer Barrel Polka just to be different. It's assumed there's a bit or irony in Green Bay Packers football fans wearing those Cheeseheads (if there's a God in heaven, it better be ironic, because those people get to vote). Besides, anyone hard up for a liberal oasis can always drive over to the nearby state capital, Madison, where one learns not to even bat an eye at women picketing topless. Point being, Milwaukee is OK.

  2. L.A. Dodgers — Dodger Stadium's park factor is 94 for pitchers, which in the short run might help Halladay shave a few points off his earned-run average. That might help in some future Hall of Fame election. They also have the best chance of advancing to the World Series, an event that was played in Canada a couple times in the 1990s.

    The big caveat is that it would just be a question of when L.A. Times clown columnist Bill Plaschke would start using Halladay as a political football in his regularly scheduled anti-Manny Ramírez screeds. Doc is not a political prop or a rhetorical splitting wedge. It demeans him when columnists do that, something certain people in Toronto did not pay heed to the past three years when they were cracking on A.J. Burnett.

  3. Philadelphia Phillies — The most "logical landing spot" (John Heyman, for Halladay is also the place where, fire up the old refrain, they booed Santa Claus/cheered when Michael Irvin broke his neck/boo when couples get engaged on the video screen. The greatest living baseball player, Michael Jack Schmidt (548 home runs and he never took a steroid or judging ballplayers or more recent vintage who did), also got booed once in a while.

    Point being, though, that's all cliché and stereotype. Perhaps the reason they boo in Philly because they care unconditionally. That's more than can be said for certain northeastern U.S. cities which, not naming names, barely noticed they had a NFL team before 2001.

    The Phillies have a decent shot at returning to the World Series. Pat Gillick works for them. Matt Stairs is there. What's not to like?

  4. St. Louis Cardinals — Good god, no. What comes to mind with St. Louis is a Deadspin user saying last week that while Busch Stadium is always a sea of Cardinal red, most of those fans are wearing "cheap $11 jersey T-shirts of some average white player."

  5. Chicago White Sox — Their owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, is the World Series-cancelling, NBA dynasty-dynamiting plutocrat whom Gary Bettman would rather have as a NHL owner than Jim Balsillie, who actually wants to spend money on a team. That takes care of that. The White Sox are the 10th-richest team in baseball, but act like they're a small-market underdog next to the cross-town Chicago Cubs.

  6. Detroit Tigers — Make your own joke about the Michigan economy, but don't be too cruel. Geographically speaking, Detroit is too close for comfort for a Jays fan, even if it's out of the division.

  7. Texas Rangers — Imagine trading a player to a team whose owner is hemorrhaging money. This is not a serious suggestion, but it's hard to get one's mind wrapped around the idea that the Rangers are even allowed to make such a trade in the wake of MLB giving them a bailout.
More teams will be added in accordance with whatever teams Ken Rosenthal swears are "flying under the radar."

As trade deadline nears, Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay on everyone's list (Bill Madden, N.Y. Daily News)


dzuunmod said...

The greatest living ballplayer - really? Hank Aaron? Willie Mays? ...Pete Rose?

Not saying I'm in definite opposition, but reasonable people can disagree.

eyebleaf said...


sager said...

@ eyebleaf: Don't make me give you the Otter speech from Animal House: "I've got news for ya, pal, they're gonna nail us no matter what we do, so we might as well have a good time."

Tomorrow, I go to work in a toga.

sager said...

@dzuunmod: Of course reasonable people can disagree. It's opinion. If someone said Aaron or Mays, I would respect that (not Rose, though, please).
Stan Musial is still with us, so he would also be in that conversation.

This is not an ultimate comparison, but here is some cherry-picked criteria.

Home run titles:
Schmidt: 8 (in 12-team leagues)
Mays: 4 (in 8 and 10-team leagues)
Aaron: 4 (in 8 and 10-team leagues)

Seasons leading league in OPS+
Schmidt: 6
Mays: 6
Aaron: 3

MVP awards
Schmidt: 3 (with two 3rd-place finishes)
Mays: 2 (2nd twice, third twice)
Aaron: 1 (was 3rd six times)

Schmidt also won 10 gold gloves while playing an infield position (Mays won 12 in centrefield, but the awards were not created until his sixth season). Again, if someone knows with more certainly whether Schmidt won those on merit or reputation, please don't be shy.

Bottom line, baseball has become more competitive over time. I am inclined to figure Schmidt was dominant vs. tougher competition. Any of those players, though, would have been great in any era.

Dave said...

Well, there are definately a fair number of people who say Schmidt is the best 3rd baseman ever (yes, better than Brooks), and for those who saw him play at the Big O over the years, it's hard to argue. Tell you one thing, you'd sure take 9 Schmidts (put one on the hill) and like your chances.....

Ian Gray said...

I would be as OK as I could be with this if it were Philadelphia and the return was huge. Like Drabek AND Taylor huge. Donald would be nice too-give them a reliever or something if it had to happen. Los Angeles with Kershaw and Kemp or something would fill the same gap.

That said it would still suck. And I'd still want Ricciardi's head on a pike. And of course it's not going to happen-he'll go there, but for second line prospects, or he'll go somewhere else, or they won't trade him now and we'll go through this circus for part or all of the winter. Or god forbid he'll wind up in New York or god save us Boston. Then I really would want Ricciardi's head on a pike.

I can't quite think of the analogy, but there is one, I'm sure, for this agonizing wait that you want to be over but also don't want to be over. This has been the worst two weeks I can remember as a Jays fan.

Rob Pettapiece said...

The greatest living baseball player, Willie Howard Mays


I heard someone suggest that the Jays should package together Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells' Contract, and trade them for nothing. The Jays probably come out ahead in that one, and yes, I'm serious.

Rob Pettapiece said...

Of course, Wells has a full no-trade, so maybe not. But he's owed $20.5M next year, and that's his least expensive season from then through to 2014. Getting rid of that would more than make up for losing Halladay.

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, how 'bout getting rid of J P Ricciardi?
The more he talks about Halladay, the more he paints himself into a corner.
Hey JP...shut up already!