Sunday, November 29, 2009

Roy Halladay. Nice guy. Great pitcher. Just not worth it.

Alright, I don't usually post in response to satirical weblogs, but I just couldn't help it with this one. It Is High, It Is Far recently opined that it would be wiser for the Yankees to let Boston land Roy Halladay, sign John Lackey, and keep our prospects for ourselves (or for a future trade for Josh Johnson or Felix Hernandez). And while it's satire (partly), they make an excellent point. Roy Halladay will cost everything, leaving the Yankees nothing for Johnson and King Felix or for their own ballclub (as far as prospects are concerned).

Some points are in order:

1. Roy Halladay is 32 years old, and will be 33 by next summer. The buzz around the baseball internets is that Halladay could be a starting pitcher who ages well, because of the effectiveness of his two-seamer, which works like a sinker (his curve and cutter are pretty nasty, too). Halladay isn't an ace because he simply throws hard, he throws strikes and get guys to ground out a whole heck of a lot (Fangraphs). Even with this data, I go back to the fact that he's nearly 33 years old. And he wants a contract extension upon being traded. That means he'll be pitching in pinstripes until he's 36, and maybe even longer. With CC and AJ signed for the next few years, that doesn't seem like smart business sense: having a bunch of 30 year old pitchers (i.e., players who tend to break down faster or more often than their better-hitting peers) with longish contracts.

2. Roy Halladay will cost the Yankees Jesus Montero and either Joba or Hughes. Jesus is the real deal (Yankee Universe), and if he manages to stick around at catcher (which is still up in the air), he will rake at a usually offensive-thin position. The Yankees have had Jorge Posada so long (and Matt Nokes/Mike Stanley before that) that most fans forget what it was like to trot Don Slaught and Bob Geren and even Joe Girardi out there to catch and not hit. Parting with Jesus Montero would be easier for a King Felix type because he's only 23 (twenty-three!) years old. Likewise, Johnson is nearly 26. These guys are just hitting their prime. Halladay is not. He is in his decline years. You don't trade Jesus for decline years. You just don't.

3. If the Yankees trade either Joba/Hughes and Jesus to Toronto for Halladay, the Red Sox get Josh Johnson or King Felix. This will happen. It's not a matter of if these guys will get moved, it's a matter of when. Florida and Seattle simply cannot afford to keep these boys around anymore than they could afford to sign CC Sabathia last year. If the Yankees trade for Doc's declining years, the Red Sox get one of the two young aces. They will have kept their prospects, while the Yankees will have dealt theirs. It's a simple matter of investment of available resources. If the Yankees trade cheap and effective resources for Doc Halladay, the Red Sox will have cheap and effective resources for Felix and Johnson. This is simple economics. Also, it will break our hearts when 37-year-old Halladay pitches a gutsy 7 inning, 4 run performance but still loses in the ALCS to a breathtaking Felix Hernandez (8 IPs, 5 hits, 1 ER) in his 27-year-old prime. It will kill us to lose to the Red Sox like that. Especially if Jesus hits 30+ HRs in Toronto that year (instead of safely out of sight in Seattle). That will kill us doubly. As many of those HRs will come against us.

That's alot of words on baseball, which is unusual for this site. But dammit if that satirical weblog didn't get me going. Let the Red Sox pay for Halladay. Even if they don't overpay, it will put them out of the running for the young aces, with (fingers-crossed) thousands of innings left on their beautiful, cherbiclike arms. If we could magically know that Joba, Hughes and Jesus will amount to nothing, then this trade would be a no-brainer. (But then it'd be a no-brainer for Toronto, too.) But we know nothing, other than how much upside these kids have. Don't trade them for someone's decline years. Keep them. Sign Lackey. Or Sheets. Or maybe Duchscherer.

Keep the kids. Unless King Felix falls in your lap. Then ship 'em out to Singapore.

(Pic courtesy of this blog, whose name is confusing.)

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