Friday, July 24, 2009

It's been awhile....

After moving, various (and ongoing) computer problems and (as Amrit pointed out) general laziness, I think it's time to post something.

Recently, my favourite baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays have begun exploring trade options for the best pitcher in baseball (indisputable fact), Roy Halladay. This seems contrary to common sense: you do not trade the best. But if Wayne Gretzky can get traded (twice), then anyone can get traded. Kobe Bryant was almost traded a few years ago, but he said no at the last hour because the players going the other way in the deal would have made the Chicago Bulls a really, really bad team, even with Kobe. Baseball is different, though. Each team has literally more than 100 players in their organization. You cannot trade draft picks, but you can trade prospects.

Now, I do not want the Jays to trade Doc because I do not want to see him in another uniform. But, his contract is up after next season, and he has told the Jays he will explore the free agent market, which he has never done before. He will be entering his age 34 season at that time, but could command a 5-year, $100MM deal, maybe even higher. If AJ Burnett can get a 5-year, $82.5MM, Doc can go triple digits. Trading Doc makes sense because the Jays have to maximize their returns. In a trade, the Jays can demand 2 sure-fire, can't-miss top prospects, plus 2 middling prospects and 1 hit-or-miss prospect.

But should the Jays trade him? I said it awhile ago, but 2009 is really about 2010. Even with the super fantastic hot start this season, the Jays year was and is 2010. This year is about figuring out who can contribute next year. Roy Halladay gives the Jays the best opportunity to compete next year. A rotation of Halladay, plus the emergence of Ricky Romero, the returns of Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch, and all the kids (Cecil, Mills, Rzepczynski, Ray...) can yield 5 solid starters. If JP Ricciardi thinks 2010 is not the Jays year, we will find out soon when he trades any asset he can (Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, Jason Frasor...) to get some prospects back. The Jays have little high-end talent at the top of the system (Snider and Arencibia), but boatloads of prospects way down the chain (Ahrens, Jackson, Tolisano, Moises Sierra, Yo Chavez, Gus Pierre, David Cooper*).

So JP has an option. Trade Roy and don't compete until 2012 or later, or go for it in 2010. I think he will go with the latter as JP's contract is also up next year. I won't be happy when Doc walks after next year, but he has earned the right to win, and the Jays might not be the best situation for that.

I hate being a fan of this team.

* I really hope that Balbino Fuenmayor, Moises Sierra, Yohermyn Chavez, Gustavo Pierre and Mark Rzepczynski are on the same team one day, just to give announcers nightmares.

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