Looking ahead: Roy Halladay in Philly?

UPDATE (7/8/09): With talks between the Phillies and Jays presumably set to begin – or already underway – I figured I’d bump this post to keep up with the Halladay news. Good to know this actually has a chance of coming true after all, even if the prospect landscape has changed drastically from the scenarios thought out below. Come on, Rube! This is your chance to shine!

Please, if you’re going to comment, keep the timeline in mind. Watching Jack Taschner pitch for three months was bad enough, don’t make the aneurysm worse.

2/22/09: There isn’t too much to talk about between now and opening day, so with a bit of downtime, I figured I’d evaluate the possibility of Toronto ace Roy Halladay ending up in CBP sometime in 2009. Halladay’s name was recently dropped in potential trade rumors – along with Arizona ace Brandon Webb – of players that would command incredible trade value but may still be on the block come July (the recent injury to centerfielder Vernon Wells won’t do much to quiet that talk, either).

Jays ace Roy Halladay

As it stands right now, Roy Halladay is one of the five best pitchers in baseball. The numbers back it up. He’s consistently underrated, however, and that’s something that could work in the favor of a contender looking to deal for Halladay in July.

It’s not as if Halladay is easily affordable, however. He has two years remaining on his current contract, and will earn $14.25M this season and $15.75M in 2010. This comes on top of the expense of talent and prospects that would need to be shipped over in any deal.

A high price? To be sure. Worth it? Even more so.

First, let’s take a deeper look at just what kind of player we’re talking about in Roy Halladay. He’ll be 32 in May, but he’s still well entrenched in his prime. Over the past four seasons, Halladay has pitched 833 innings with a 3.08 ERA and a 585:139 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He may not be overpowering, but with a walk rate of just 1.50 per nine innings over that span, a little less power is welcome.

For reference, there have been 64 player seasons in the past four years where pitchers had fewer than two walks per nine innings pitched. All four of Roy Halladay’s seasons are among those 64, and three of those are in the top 20. That includes the 5th-, 17th-, and 18th-lowest during that time.

Future Philly?

You get the idea. The man has superb control. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2002, Halladay has made 30 or more starts five times. Durability is not really of concern. Keep in mind, also, that Halladay has spent his entire career pitching for Toronto in the A.L. East, a division stacked with powerful lineups – and the DH.

Imagine what a pitcher like Roy Halladay could do pitching in the National League. We’ve already seen what Johan Santana can do, and it’s not too outlandish to assume Halladay could come close to replicating that sort of production.

What would the Phillies have to give up to land him? Do they even have the prospects and talent necessary to make a deal happen?

The answers: a lot, and yes. In addition to parting with prospect Carlos Carrasco – a near certainty – the Phillies would have to include at least another top prospect plus some proven Major League talent. One of the farm system’s top catchers – either Lou Marson or Travis D’Arnaud – would have to go, as well as either Shane Victorino or Jayson Werth, most likely.

That wouldn’t be all that’s required, but it’s certainly a starting point.

Would Carlos Carrasco be shipped?

Say a deal went down. Say the Phillies traded Carrasco, Werth/Victorino, Travis D’Arnaud and Kyle Drabek to Toronto in exchange for Halladay. What would the team look like?

If Werth were in the deal, the Phils would lose their only proven right-handed outfield bat. The outlook on offseason acquisition John Mayberry, Jr. would have to be high, as he would be the likely replacement. Mayberry would work in a three-man platoon with Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs, and from a defensive standpoint, that’s a bit scary to think about.

Most scouting profiles are lukewarm on Mayberry’s defense, as he is valued more for power potential. Jenkins was terrible in right field last year, and Matt Stairs isn’t very mobile at all.

If Victorino were to go, the Phillies’ outfield defense would be in an even more dire situation, not to mention the sudden lack of speed after Rollins in the lineup.

In D’Arnaud, the Phillies have a catching prospect that is more highly regarded than Lou Marson. D’Arnaud turned 20 on Feb. 10, and made his way to High-A Lakewood after posting an .834 OPS in Williamsport. Marson, obviously, is ready to contribute at the Major League level now, while D’Arnaud remains about three season away.

Drabek, son of former Major League pitcher Doug Drabek, is highly touted despite limited playing time. In just 109.1 IP in three years since being drafted, Drabek has a 4.45 ERA, with 76 strikeouts to 46 walks. Not overly impressive. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Drabek was incredibly ineffective in rookie ball, and has since looked modestly impressive in stints at both levels of A-ball. He is coming off Tommy John surgery, however, and his health would be a bit of a concern for the Jays’ front office.

A one-two punch of Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay would be fearsome

A one-two punch of Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay would be fearsome

In return, the Phillies’ rotation for August and September would be Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton. The lineup would be weakened significantly, but with that kind of staff, seven runs a game won’t be necessary.

Werth is signed affordably this year and next, and Victorino is still working on year-by-year arbitration deals for the next two seasons after 2009. After unloading Halladay’s $15M, salary won’t be an issue for Toronto.

It’s an interesting thing to ponder. The Phillies are coming off a World Series win, but it never hurts to stay competitive. And if staying competitive means being able to land one of the best pitchers in baseball for a year and a half, well, that may be a chance worth taking.

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27 Comments

Filed under 2008-09 Season, General Bull

27 responses to “Looking ahead: Roy Halladay in Philly?

  1. thatsmyboye

    Remember: this is conjecture and just me eating some food for thought.

    When commenting, keep that in mind.

  2. I pitched tent thinking about this old school gunslinger in our rotation. The man is a beast, get Halladay!!!

  3. Baseball Toronto

    We shipped Werth out of Toronto years ago and we have Wells, Rios, Snider and Lind signed or under control for the long term. Our best minor league prospect is a catcher. The Jays would want way more pitching and a 1B/SS/3B too. Try again!

  4. thatsmyboye

    Like I mentioned, the things I’m thinking about are a starting point, not a deal in its entirety. No one in their right mind would let a pitcher like Halladay walk without getting a small fortune back.

    And it’s best not to get too angry about this, you’ll probably be hearing about it all again in July as the deadline approaches. It’s only natural for fans of prospective suitors to map some of their own ideas out.

  5. Johnny Was

    Your enthusiasm is welcome, but as I Jays fan I’m really not seeing much indication that you understand what Toronto would be looking for in return for the best pitcher in club history and face of the franchise. Catchings not really a priority with JP Arrencibia on the way, there is a formidable amount of minor league pitching depth here already, nor would Jayson Werth-a former Jay the current GM has already traded away once–hold much appeal.

    There are early indications that Halladay will take a home-town discount to stick past 2010 and part of the reason the Jays didn’t make any major FA signings this year was likely to bank cash for an extension offer. The fan blowback from dealing Halladay would be overwhelming too, so a summer deal would really have to me massive. Think Carrasco, Drabek and Jason Donald to get the ball rolling…

  6. thatsmyboye

    The inclusion of Donald in place of a MiL catcher does seem logical, sure. I also talk about Werth more in this post than I do Victorino, but Shane could be the ML outfielder shipped if there is indeed one included.

    It’s been mentioned, but the backfire potential for that is Wells and his contract in CF.

  7. bravo84

    My first impression is that Halladay makes no sense for the Phils, and with the Phils already on the hook for 132M this year, which is a franchise record, I can’t imagine them making any moves that would add salary. My guess is that if they did get a pitcher it would be a first year arb guy. If the economy continues to tank some small market teams might look to unload some of the extensions we’ve seen this offseason. Possibly Maholm or Greinke who don’t start getting expensive until 2011.

  8. thatsmyboye

    Halladay makes sense for a lot of teams. Consider that while, yes, their payroll would get even heavier, his salary would be pro-rated if he were a deadline pickup.

    Additionally, Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton’s salaries come off the books. That’ll help keep the payroll on keep with Halladay’s $15M coming in and salary bumps for those with contracts or arbitration eligibility. Brett Myers is making $12M this year, too, so Halladay could be his substitute, should he leave in free agency.

  9. thatsmyboye

    That second paragraph is in reference to 2010.

  10. jaysfan

    Sorry to dissapoint you but that package wouldn’t get it done, other teams have better packages to give with more high ceiling prospects (eg. Braves, Rangers) … keep in mind the Jays will not trade Halladay for a light to medium package of prospects/young MLB talent… they will rip an entire farm system away from someone completely if they do deal him. If the Jays traded Halladay and Jays fans thought they didn’t get enough for their franchise player i’m sure a riot would erupt in downtown Toronto right away.

  11. thatsmyboye

    I’ll agree that the Phillies don’t have the best farm system, but will those teams with better systems want to trade for Roy? There needs to be the initiative in addition to the talent.

    I agree that Philadelphia may not be the ideal situation, but who knows? It COULD end up being the best.

    Though, in reality, I’d suspect Toronto would keep Halladay through this year rather than just deal him for something they deem insufficient.

  12. bravo84

    I’m not trying to be a hater,(actually I really like the Phils, even though the braves fan in me wants to hate them) but the salary you speak of coming off the books is already accounted for. I got Myers 12, Eaton 8.5 (less buyout), Jenkins 6.25 (less buyout, and possibly Feliz 4.5 (less buyout). That makes it 31.25 coming off the books. With raises coming next year of Howard 4M, Utley 4M, Ibanez 5M, Hamels 2.3M, Werth 5M, and the realization that Feliz’s option will most likely be excercised, as well as arbitration raises to Blanton and Victorino, you end up with pretty much a wash. Maybe a 2M surplus to the Phils. (I know you mentioned trading one of Victorino/Werth, but the Jays just have too many outfield options to except that salary.) They would have to push payroll to 145M next year to add Halladay. So if you Phils fans are hoping for that, all I can say is recession or no recession you better get your tails to the ballpark, and frequent the concession stands to boot.

    An option I see as extremely interesting, is moving Howard for a quality pre arb starter, and use the extra funds to bring in Beltre at third and LaRoche at first. Your infield defense would be awesome and you would have a better balanced lineup. Plus the cost of those two is sustainable. The question is which pre arb starters or young guys signed to team friendly deals strike your fancy. I think Jon Lester would be very interesting. You could probably get Ellsbury and one of Bowden/Masterson/Bard. If the Sox lose the division next year you might get more.

  13. jaysfan

    Why wouldn’t they want to trade for Roy? Lots of people think he is the hands down the best pitcher in the game. Halladay is extremely affordable and under valued with 14.25M in ’09, and 15.75M in ’10, while there are many other starters who will be getting tons more than him like Sabathia and Burnett. If I was JP Ricciardi, I don’t know which direction I would go. Obviously if you pull the trigger your setting yourself up for a short rebuild with excellent prospects on the way up, however Toronto is not an all around “bad” team at the moment. With key injuries to starters Marcum (gone till ’10), and McGowan(gone till May-June) the season appears to be a building block to 2010. By then our rotation will look something like Halladay(if still here), Marcum, McGowan, Purcey, Litsch, and the offence will be determined by how this season goes. The Jays could possibly make a splash in 2010 if everything goes right, but if they aren’t in it in July in the summer of 2010 thats when I would deal Halladay, they could get a package like what the Indians got this year when they dealt CC at the deadline.

  14. bravo84

    PS I think the Rangers are by far the best fit, and the most likely to be in a position where Halladay can put them over the top. I just don’t know if they could justify trading Neftali Feliz after trading Volquez just a year an a half prior. They’d have to be dead set on winning now. Plus if the brave are trading for Halladay something has went terribly wrong, we already have 9-10 (not sure I count Reyes anymore) pitchers for 5 spots.

  15. bravo84

    That would be taking half value for Haladay jaysfan, trade him in July in the offseason or not at all. Best to trade him in July, look what the Rangers got for Teixiera with 1+ years to go. Someone will lose a pitcher and be in desperate need at the deadline, thats when you pull the trigger.

  16. thatsmyboye

    One way I think a team would not want to trade for Halladay would be, simply, if they’re not in contention. If Texas is in contention in the West – and they very easily could be – then yes, they’d be a great fit. And hey, maybe Ricciardi could think the Jays would be more competitive next year when Marcum comes back and who knows what else happens. Everything we’re talking about is in hypotheticals, I know. My hopes aren’t high, believe me.

    As for the payroll, yes, I think a Howard trade would allow for the most budget wiggle room. That would probably complicate things, but then I don’t think any sort of trade involving players of this caliber would be anything but.

    Oh, and remember. This is the Philly front office we’re talking about. New name, same game. Everything is conservative, and in the real world this move probably doesn’t happen regardless of circumstance.

  17. ju1ced

    As others have said, we do not need catching prospects.
    As someone said, Donald instead would be an idea.
    Jays don’t really have a 3B of the future, atleast a few years away.
    Donald to 3B, or even SS until Rolen’s contract is done, I’ll suffer with his range.
    That being said, though Carlos Carrasco looks very good, I’d still want a no doubt blue chip prospect in return for Halladay, ala Feliz, but as also said above, I don’t know if Rangers would give him up, but someone around that level is what I’d prefer. A top 10-15 prospect, and start from there.

  18. Grant

    The Phillies really do not have what it takes to trade for the clear cut best pitcher in baseball.

    The Jays have a logjam of all-star type outfielders, they will not be interested in Werth or Victorino at all. Carlos Carrasco is really the only minor leaguer the Jays would be interested in as the Phils minor league system is extremely weak.

    Sounds stupid, but this deal would never get done without Hamels, the Phils only young, cheap and attractive talent. It would be a good move short term for them but they obviously wouldn’t do it.

  19. thatsmyboye

    I’m going to leave the Hamels comment alone simply because it makes no sense, and while the point of Halladay or Santana being the best is nitpicky, I’ll again agree that he’ll require an immense amount in return.

    And don’t sleep on the Phillies’ system. I know all you’ve heard for the past five years is that it’s weak so you’re going with what you know, but the system is no longer among the dregs and actually does stack up, even if it stacks up in raw talent with high potential.

    In clarification of “no sense:” Hamels’s trade value is actually higher than Halladay’s is right now. Hamels is years younger, is a proven upper-echelon pitcher, and is affordably under control for three years plus an arbitration year after (he’s a Super Two). When you consider Halladay’s older and only under control for two years, that makes Hamels more “valuable” in a trade, actual ability and numbers aside.

  20. Grant

    My point was, the Phillies only only have one ‘super stud’ young player in lieu of a top 10 prospect and that person is Cole Hamels. Obviously a trade with him wouldn’t make sense and that’s exactly why the Phils couldn’t trade for Doc.

    Look at the haul a vastly inferior (at the time) pitcher, Sabathia, got last year. A clear cut top 10 prospect, a top 50 3B prospect having a fantastic year, a back end young SP and another prospect. The Phils just can’t pull that off, few teams can. Texas seems like a more likely destination if they are competing.

  21. thatsmyboye

    Well, we may not have the top 10 overall kind of talent, but we’re deep and may be able to compensate in the form of decent quantity. Who knows? It’d probably cripple the system again.

  22. TheWiz

    Remember, Halladay may be undervalued in general, but not in Toronto. He IS the franchise. There will not be a discount because he plays under the radar in Toronto.

  23. Bravesin09

    JohnnyWas, are you saying the depth of minor league pitching is so great in the Jays organization that they wouldnt look to aquire ANY teams top pitching prospects in return for Halladay? Seems as though most of Toronto’s pitching prospects are of the left handed variety. Looks like JohnnyWas WRONG….

  24. thatsmyboye

    I don’t know how much longer people will be finding this post, so let me take this time to thank all of you for your thoughts and input, and I hope to keep talking baseball with you in the future.

  25. As a far-away (Netherlands) Toronto Blue Jays fan, I am always looking for new sites with Jays news.
    I hope that Halladay and Wells stays healthy all season.

  26. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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