Monday, December 14, 2009
The Doctor1 is Out
From the sounds of it, Roy Halladay may not be a Toronto Blue Jay by the end of this week. Sources are reporting that a 3-team trade between Toronto, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Seattle Mariners will see Doc suiting up for the World Series runners-up in 2010, Cliff Lee teaming up with Felix Hernandez in Seattle, and...possibly no one cracking the opening day roster in Toronto.
The deal apparently hinges on "physicals", although that is probably code for "Halladay Accepting A Five-Year Deal", which the Phillies were apparently having difficulty doing with Lee. Lee, they figured, would command more money than Halladay2, and Halladay is probably a surer thing.
Although he's going to a slightly more hitter-friendly park in Citizens Bank Park, Halladay is also switching to the less offensive National League, which could well land him a Cy Young well before his new theoretical contract runs out.
Lee will be going back to the stronger AL, but to a field almost as pitcher-friendly (Safeco Field) as his old digs (Progressive Field in Cleveland). Rest assured, if he gets off to a good start and Seattle is unable to get him to re-up, he'll be in pinstripes by August.
Toronto - who had been looking for a combination of high-level prospects and Major League-ready players - probably won't be getting any 2010 help.
Canadian pitcher Phillippe Aumont is being promoted as the jewel of the deal. He was drafted 11th overall in 2007 by Seattle, but injury concerns resulted in the Mariners converting him to a closer last season - which his 6'7", 225 pound frame and mid- to high-90s fastball can certainly support - before eventually promoting him to their Double-A affiliate.
They are getting a catcher, in Phillies prospect Travis d'Arnaud, a supplemental pick from that same 2007 draft. Highly touted outfielder Michael Taylor is reportedly also coming their way, but from the sounds of it, the Jays won't be getting anyone that sounds ready to crack the big league roster pre-September.
Regardless, though, it was a deal that had to be made, as management has apparently resigned itself to a "rebuilding campaign" instead of thinking, "Hey, we've got Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, Roy Halladay and Ricky Romero - let's spend some money and see if we can make a run at this". $120 million is the minimum buy-in for competition in the AL East, and Rogers has agreed to pony up the dough - yet the Toronto "Woe is us" mentality seems to have convinced them that it would be a waste to even try. With a dwindling fan base, overachievement on a small budget may not be something the crowds are willing to hope for, and underachievement is certainly not.
Goodbye, Leroy, you'll be missed, and hopefully the idiot fans won't boo you. Good luck getting a ring; there aren't many people that deserve one more.
1 - I hate that nickname for him. First, come up with something more original - it's like calling anyone named Felix "The Cat". Second, it's Doc Holliday, not Halladay - call Matt Holliday "Doc"
2 - Probably due to being left-handed, and the perceived premium that that fact involves