I admit I am still missing baseball a bit. I know I’ve heard a few people lament over a similar feeling. Yes, baseball is a long season, an everyday grind, but there is something comforting in that, isn’t there? On Tuesday nights like these, you miss the day-to-day activities of the baseball season. I’m not all over the rumor mill, but I’ve been keeping an eye on a couple things, and it looks like Roy Halladay could be on the move this winter. Halladay said he will not re-sign in Toronto, so there isn’t much sense in the Jays keeping him. He’ll get shipped. The questions are when and where? Also, obviously one guy does not make a team, but can a guy like Halladay swing a race in one direction? I think he can. Because…
1. Look at the teams involved in the bidding. National League contenders seem to be headed by the Dodgers. I think LA moves to the head of the National League with Halladay, barring a Carpenter/Wainwright performance out of Hamels and Lee in 2010 for the Phillies. Speaking of the Phils, they might not be completely dead in this, but likely are. A Halladay to Philly trade sends the rest of the National League back to the drawing board in a desperate situation.
In the American League, we’re talking Boston, NY, and Anaheim. I can’t see the Yankees making the move, there has to be some limit on what they do, and I’m not positive they have what the Blue Jays want in return. The Angels on the other hand have the young pitching and a couple of ML ready position players to include in a package. Boston’s offer would center around Clay Bucholtz, and even though they traded some bargaining chips to Cleveland for Victor Martinez, some people still consider Boston the front-runner.
2. Not only will Halladay likely go to a team already in good position to make a postseason run, he has an excellent record against some of these top teams. Boston doesn’t have to worry about Halladay being overwhelmed by AL East lineups. His record against the Yankees is unmatched in recent years, and if the Yankees are the best, it is nice to have a guy who can beat them. Halladay is a guy that can make a difference in a series. The Angels took NY to six games. Joe Saunders is nice, but maybe Anaheim would have rather had Roy on the mound for those games.
3. It’s always about pitching. You can never have enough, and Halladay will add a durable arm to one of these rotations. Is Daisuke going to be healthy for a whole season? What if the Angels lose John Lackey? The Dodgers have pitched their way out of the post-season for two consecutive years. Success and health can be very fleeting. So, adding Halladay who is likely to give you 30+ starts, it’s an insurance policy against what can go wrong.
I wouldn’t call this free agent crop very high-profile. Certainly there are some big names out there, but I don’t see a guy who is going to impact a pennant race. Matt Holliday is a nice hitter, but he’s not putting anybody on his back, or putting a team over the top. It’s a guy like Halladay, who will have to be traded for that will create the most buzz this off-season. He’s the real prize.