Thursday, July 09, 2009

Exercise Caution When Dealing for Halladay

How's everyone feeling about the Roy Halladay trade possibility? I must admit I'm a little wary: not because I think Halladay will flop - unlike many of the hyped trades and signings of the past few years, Doc is worth the price, as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs demonstrates - but because the Blue Jays have two big advantages in negotiations:
  1. Halladay's contract expires in 2010. As one of the New England sports papers pointed out recently, Toronto has three opportunities to deal Halladay: now, at the end of the season, or before the trade deadline next year. The size of that window gives the Jays a nice piece of leverage: they don't have to deal Halladay now if they don't get an offer they really like, because they'll have two opportunities to do so again over the next year. As an added bonus, if Toronto doesn't get a great deal before the 2010 trading deadline, they'll either make a bid to resign or get two draft picks in compensation.

  2. The market demand for good pitching is enormous. Philly, Texas, St. Louis, and the Mets all have a desperate need for a pitcher of Halladay's caliber, increasing demand and allowing the Jays to charge a much higher price for his services. Combined with the time window that removes much of the pressure from Toronto to complete a deal, this increased demand for good pitching would doubtless require the Sox to part with two or three highly-touted prospects (Buchholz, Bowden, Bard) to make a deal.
I'm pretty sure I've said in the past (probably in reference to Beckett) that trading future value to obtain present value is always a good idea (although some Yankee fans might disagree), but I have to make a corollary in Halladay's case: right now, the market isn't in Boston's favor, particularly for a luxury the team would like to have, but doesn't really need. I'd hate to see the Jays become the dominant team in the AL East because the Sox gave them one too many good pieces in pursuit of a deal.