North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

For Jays, trading Doc is the only way forward

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For the last few weeks, nobody in baseball has had as much talk surrounding their future as Roy Halladay. He’s been traded to the Angels, to the Phillies and to Boston without actually having moved.

And now, the latest rumor is that he’s definitely, for sure, without a doubt getting traded to the Phillies (say people who know people in the know)… or the Phillies have balked at whatever the Jays are demanding back for him. It’s either one or the other.

Of course it is.

With the Jays season essentially in free fall, the market for Halladay is about as good as it’s going to get. The Jays are well positioned to sell and begin rebuilding and the contenders are looking for one extra arm that would push them well over the top, likely into the World Series.

But hanging on to the Doc doesn’t make sense for the Jays.

Halladay’s not only the ace of the staff; he’s also its star. None of the four other current starters have anything near the cache or the talent that he does. And with the other big arms of the rotation – McGowan, Marcum, Litsch – on the DL for at least the short term, Doc has to carry the team with his pitching.

Item: In his last two starts, with his name flooding trade rumours, Doc’s pitched 18 innings for one win and a no decision. His WHIP is 0.72 and his ERA is 1.00 in that period.

He’s having a career year. He’s won a league-leading 11 games and has a WHIP of 1.05 plus an ERA of 2.62. ESPN is projecting him to finish the season at 18 and five, with seven complete games and 205 strikeouts. His 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings is the highest he’s had since becoming a full-time starter in 2002.

All in all, his numbers aren’t far off from his 2003 CY Young season. That season, he finished 22-7 with 204 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.071. Or from last season’s 20-win, 206 strikeout, 1.053 WHIP season.

With numbers that good, it’s high time for the Jays to sell. His stock is at a high and there surely isn’t a shortage of teams that are interested in somebody of his caliber – add him to any rotation and he’s immediately their dominant pitcher.

But when I said he carries the team, he literally does: he’s already pitched over 140 innings and four complete games this season. The Jays offense is making him work hard and stay sharp throughout games, thanks to their lackluster run support. Four times this season, Halladay has pitched for seven innings or more and come away without a decision.

Trading for Halladay would likely come with a steep price. But how steep? ESPN is reporting that the Phillies have turned down an offer of him for pitcher JA Happ and two prospects. It’s likely that to obtain him, the Angels or Red Sox would have to offer a similar package of prospects.

Prospects are something the Jays need desperately. This spring, Baseball America ranked their orgazation’s talent 19th in the majors. Three of their top prospects (again, as ranked by Baseball America) have been forced into starting positions this season because of injuries. Their minor league teams are getting depleted.

Granted, trading away the ace in the Jays hole is akin to giving up, something I’m not sure JP Riccardi would like to do. But with the season in freefall for the Jays what else can they do? Hanging onto Doc won’t solve any of their problems – after a 12 inning, 10-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays the Jays are sitting four games under .500 and are 13 games back.

Trading him looks like the only way the Jays can go forward.


Written by M.

July 25, 2009 at 10:50 pm

One Response

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  1. tracking back For Jays, trading Doc is the only way forward… tracking back For Jays, trading Doc is the only way forward…

    July 26, 2009 at 9:45 am

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