Halladay will be traded at some point, and Philly's a perfect fit now
The Phillies would instantly become World Series favorites this year and in 2010
The Jays can always wait for November, but they should expect a lesser return
A frontrunner has emerged for the Nationals GM job and more notes
The Philadelphia Phillies have a shot at getting the best pitcher in baseball for not just one but two Octobers. Yes, it should hurt to acquire a pitcher as good as Roy Halladay for this year and next. But there are no guarantees prospect Kyle Drabek, 21, will be fronting a World Series-quality rotation by the time he is big-league ready, or that the core of the Philadelphia team still will be in its prime. Forget the Phillies "rejecting" the Blue Jays' asking price for Halladay. That's part of negotiating. The bottom line is Philadelphia still makes the most sense to acquire the best pitcher in baseball.
"They're clearly the best fit," said one GM. "It reminds me of when [Pat] Gillick was running those Toronto teams in the 1990s. He kept adding to the core with guys like Jack Morris and Paul Molitor. The Phillies have a chance to put together a run like that. They have the resources to do it without the loss of prospects setting back the organization."
Said another veteran scout, "There's a little bit of a tug of war in Philadelphia. Gillick and [manager Charlie] Manuel are basically saying, 'C'mon. Let's go get him. We don't know if Drabek and [J.A.] Happ can help us get to another World Series. We know that Halladay can.' The player development guys and Ruben [Amaro] are more tied to the guys who have been in their system for years."
Carlos Carrasco? Sorry, he's not interesting the Blue Jays. The Phillies have used nine starting pitchers this year and Carrasco has not been among them. J.A. Happ? Nice pitcher, but not a dealmaker for Halladay. "He's a No. 4 or 5 starter in the AL East," the scout said. "The National League stinks. It's terrible."
Today is Toronto's self-imposed "deadline" to trade Halladay, but what are the Jays going to do if Philadelphia agrees to their price on Thursday? Say, "Sorry, you missed the deadline?"
The Jays will take Happ, but the Phillies will have to include a young pitcher at least as talented as Chris Tillman, the pitcher Baltimore got from Seattle in the Erik Bedard trade. (Remember, the Orioles also obtained center fielder Adam Jones and closer George Sherrill in that deal.) That means either Drabek or Jason Knapp would have to be in the deal. "He might turn out to be the best of all of them," the scout said of Knapp. "He's a beast. A lot of people think he could be another Josh Johnson."
The Phillies tried to make a deal without including their best pitching prospect, Drabek, and their best position prospect, Dominic Brown. The Blue Jays want both. A deal might hinge on whether they can compromise with other players to do the deal with at least one of them in it. Meanwhile, the Angels and Dodgers remain interested in Halladay, but are trying to find a way to get a deal done without including a major league starter.
"The Angels don't want to take away from the team they have right now, which means no [Joe] Saunders or [Jered] Weaver," one league source said. "But they are a serious player. There's no doubt about that."
Likewise, the Dodgers won't part with either Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw, but they are willing to open wide their minor-league cabinet for the Jays to raid. The Rangers have kicked the tires on Halladay, but after the Jays asked for their best prospects, and after the Rangers needed Toronto to kick in money to help pay Halladay's salary, the likelihood of a match was remote. As for the Yankees and Red Sox, the asking price for them is even higher than what it is for Philadelphia, which is exactly what the Padres told the Dodgers when Jake Peavy was on the market. You don't trade an impact player within your division unless you are getting a clear overpayment.
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