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Posted: Tuesday July 28, 2009 11:32AM; Updated: Tuesday July 28, 2009 12:28PM
Tom Verducci Tom Verducci >
INSIDE BASEBALL

Halladay will be traded, and Philly's a perfect fit now (cont.)

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So will Halladay be traded? The answer is yes, but we just don't know when it's coming. The Jays are too far down the road of dangling Halladay, just as the Twins were with Johan Santana, to keep him until he is eligible for free agency after next season. Trading him now makes the most sense because his value is highest. A team gets Halladay for about 44 starts and two Octobers now, but only 33 starts and one October if they wait until the next shopping period in November. Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi can always wait for November if he doesn't like what he is offered now, but he should expect a lesser return then.

Recent trade history of top starting pitchers suggests the Phillies shouldn't miss this opportunity. Yes, the Orioles clearly fleeced the Mariners in the Bedard trade last year. Said one AL GM, noting the trend of increased value on young players, "You might never see a deal like that again." But really, the Twins' take from the Mets on the Santana deal was poor (Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber), and the Indians, though they were selling a rental, did OK on the CC Sabathia deal with Cleveland (Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson and Zach Johnson).

And then there are the Oakland Athletics, who in a little more than four years traded or lost Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Dan Haren and Rich Harden without a single clear victory. Zito was lost to free agency. The other four trades netted them eight pitchers, including Haren, who combined for a 76-92 record with Oakland. Brett Anderson, 21, acquired in the Haren deal with Arizona, has a chance to be special. A chance.

(Oakland flips properties so quickly it is hard to evaluate its trades without considering the trades that come subsequently, but the 16 players they obtained in the four trades of top pitchers have not moved the organization forward much.)

The Phillies instantly become World Series favorites if they trade for Halladay, not just this year, but also next year, too. "They have a chance to extend this run out to four or five years," the scout said. "Their core is still young and athletic." They can do it by losing only one piece from their 25-man roster, Happ, who might be a No. 4 starter in the postseason, a slot that is not even guaranteed a start. It is why the Phillies remain the best fit for Halladay.

Quick notes

Arizona director of scouting and player personnel Jerry DiPoto has emerged as a frontrunner for the Washington Nationals general manager job, according to a baseball source ... Only the Reds and Padres have a worse hitting team than Arizona in the NL, but you would not have known that by the way the Diamondbacks smacked around the Pirates. The Diamondbacks scored 30 runs with 25 extra-base hits in four games while hitting .346 in a weekend series against Pittsburgh. Said one scout, "That was one of the least prepared teams I've seen all year. They pitched at Arizona's hitters' strengths, not their weaknesses." ... Look out Lincecum and Cain: Aaron Cook and Jorge de la Rosa have been an unbeatable 1-2 punch for more than a month. Since June 17, Cook and de la Rosa are a combined 11-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 15 games. The Rockies are 13-2 in those games ... The Rockies continue to be one of the top grinding teams in baseball. Other clubs that have established a fierce every-day mentality: the Angels, Phillies, Red Sox and Rays ... Nice move by the Giants to pick up first baseman Ryan Garko. Now if they can land Freddy Sanchez or Dan Uggla to play second base, their lineup will be good enough to carry them to October.

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