Stretch run pitcher gallimaufry

For those of you paging through your dictionaries for the definition of that last word, here it is. It’s a reference to possibly the greatest baseball blog ever, now defunct. I’ve secretly been hoping for “The Office” to be canceled for a year now, just so Michael Schurr will have time to start writing for FJM again. With that said, here’s an omnibus post on Pedro and Roy Halladay.

On possibly the most important midseason starting pitching acquisition for the Phillies since John Denny, here’s some good news. The Phillies are negotiating with P-Mart. Even ESPN’s reporting it, which is a big deal because while the WWL’s basketball gossip is second to none, they tend to lag behind on sports that I like, like baseball and soccer. (Here’s the original Pedro post at the Phrontiersman; it sort of got buried under a sea of Paul Janish and Roy Halladay the first time around). Also, here is some real gossip on the Pedro deal, for those of you who are actually interested in staying up to date.

Anyhoo, over the past two weeks, I’ve developed two huge crushes: on Pedro and on Kate Nash (admit it, a curvaceous redhead with a thick English accent gets your gears gridning too). If the Phils sign PJ, it can only end well. Mark my words. Until then:

Now, on Roy Halladay, this deal has to be negotiated much like the Santana deal last winter: we’ll probably need to promise Doc an extension for him to waive his no-trade clause, which I’m OK with.

The conventional wisdom has been against “mortgaging the future” to get Halladay, namely by trading some combination of Happ, Marson, Jason Donald and Kyle Drabek, particularly because of Halladay’s age (32). Here’s why that’s wrong:

1) There is no future. The Phillies are in a better position to win a championship now than they will be probably until my children reach grade school (I’m 22, unmarried and unlikely to have any kids in the next 8 or 9 years or so). Howard, Ibanez, Rollins and Hamels are both only locked up until 2011. After that point, it only makes sense to re-sign Hamels anyway. At that point, Halladay would be 35 or 36, old for a pitcher, but not ancient. The point is, if the Phillies don’t win another Series before then, I’d be surprised if they come up with a better nucleus in the 20 years that follow. Let’s strike while the iron is hot.

2) I’m not convinced that Halladay’s going to age badly. At least anecdotally, Halladay takes better care of himself than anyone. Yes, he’s 32, but he’s a big, strong guy who has what can be described as a Tom Seaver/Nolan Ryan motion, getting maximum velocity and movement for minimal effort–that’s how he pitches all those innings that people have been bitching about. What’s more, we’re in an age of careful handling of pitchers and strength training such that starting pitchers last forever, even without steroids. Derek Lowe, for instance, or Mike Mussina. Finally, he’s got such good breaking stuff, he can turn into a “kitchen sink” kind of pitcher like David Cone or Orlando Hernandez and extend his career a few years. I think if the Phillies trade for him tomorrow, he’ll pitch effectively in the majors until he’s 40.

3) Marson and Donald are worthless to the Phillies. I’m a believer that just because Raul Ibanez has turned into Hank Aaron this season, that doesn’t mean that signing him for half again as much as Pat Burrell was a good decision, only that it was a lucky one. Likewise, I don’t care if Marson and Donald turn into Gary Carter and Joe Cronin, respectively–they’ve got no future here as long as Ruiz, Rollins and Utley are here, which they will be for the foreseeable future. Trade them while their value is high.

4) I think we can get Halladay without giving up Drabek. This is just a hunch, but I think it can be done.

5) Happ will never be better than he is now, and even now, he’s not as good as Halladay. Again, buy low, sell high. It’s like the Sixers stockpiling raw, athletic swingmen–so you haven’t “mortgaged the future” by trading any of your 100 billion awseome pitching prospects. It’s now 2013, and you have 13 No. 2 starting pitchers, no Rollins, no Ibanez, no Howard, an aging Utley, a malcontented Hamels and zero World Series titles. What are you going to do with them? You’ll wish that you had traded Happ and Carrasco for Halladay when you’d had the chance.

So grow a pair, Ruben, and make the trade. You’ll thank me tomorrow.

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Filed under 2008-09 Season, General Bull

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