Jockbeat: Can the Yanks Get Halladay? Of Course They Can


Can the Yankees get Roy Halladay? Of course they can.

Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi says, “We’re not inclined to move him, but we’re going to see what’s out there.” That means: “Yes, we’re willing to trade him.”

Do the Blue Jays want too much for him? Of course they do. No matter what they want for Halladay, it’s going to be too much for just about anybody. Realistically, only the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Angels — and maybe the Dodgers — will be in on the bidding. Of those teams, the Dodgers, with the best record in baseball, might be least inclined to make a big bid.

But Toronto, in the end, will be reasonable, if only because after 2010 they’re going to lose Halladay anyway. The GMs of all the teams out to acquire Halladay are talking in tones of fiscal reasonability. i.e., “We’re trying to build up our farm system,” etc.– which is always baseball code for “We’re trying to keep the price down.”

In the end, teams will do what they always do with regard to prospects: they’ll deal them for superstars. Everyone knows that’s really what prospects are for. Only a handful of prospects are ever going to mature into big league stars anyway, so there’s no doubt that any smart contender will pull the trigger on a deal that will trade them prospects for Roy Halladay.

In the Yankees case, it means giving up the much-touted and also much-hyped Austin Jackson, who is speedy but a light hitter. Yankee fans should understand that if the Bombers can make a deal for Halladay, they will give up Jackson in a heartbeat.

They should also understand that the Yankees will have to give up more…

More in this case should mean Robbie Cano, which, as we’ve maintained for some time, would be a blessing. It should be obvious by now that
though Cano has an impressive batting average, he’s never going to mature into a major star. The Yankees should have been thinking about
dealing him for some time now, and it must have occurred to the front office that Derek Jeter has to move somewhere next year, and that’s not going to be centerfield.

So some sort of deal involving Jackson, Cano, and any other minor leaguer Toronto wants for Halladay would be to the Yankees’ advantage. Every story you read on Halladay stresses the fact that the Blue Jays would be unlikely to deal Roy to another AL East team. This might be true, but only if all trade prospects were equal. It should be up to the Yankees to see that those prospects are not equal.

The brutal fact which Ricciardi and the rest of Toronto’s front office must have faced by now is that they’re not going to win the AL East this year anyway and that they’re not going to win it next year without Halladay, so what’s the difference?  Ultimately, what does it matter whether you lose the division by 7 or 12 games?

What’s not being said is that the Yankees are, or should at least feel they are, more desperate to get Halladay than any other contender.  There are three reasons for this: First, they can never beat Halladay, and not having him in Toronto is worth a couple of games down the stretch. Second, despite the euphoria of the Yankees having pulled even with Boston in the division, the Yanks still don’t have an established ace.  C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett have yet to prove themselves as the guys you feel confident about when facing the Red Sox or the Angels in a big game.  Halladay is that ace: he’s the equalizer.

Moreover, with the likelihood that Chien-Ming Wang isn’t going to right himself this season, Halladay  would not only become the best pitcher on the staff but relieves the Yankees of having to plug that hugely uncertain fifth spot in the rotation. This would also free Phil Hughes to take the set-up man slot.

Third, and perhaps most important, the average age of the Yankees’ major stars — Jeter, Rivera, Posada, A-Rod, Damon, Rivera,
and Pettitte — is almost 36, which means that it’s virtually impossible for the Yankees to win next year with this year’s talent
base. Several of those names will be gone in 2010, to be replaced by a system that has produced precious little in the last few seasons.  The
Yankees have to win this year, and Halladay gives them a spectacular chance to do that as well as a leg up on the next.

Yes, the Yankees can make the Roy Halladay deal, and they should.