What would it take to get Roy Halladay part 2: National League

Blue Jay GM J.P. Ricciardi

By Jake McCormick

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two part series looking at hypothetical trades for Blue Jay ace Roy Halladay, who would only be traded from Toronto if GM J.P. Ricciardi received a “wow” offer.

The overall minor league talent is lower in the National League, but more than a few teams could’ve put packages together with players with big league experience. Personally that’s more enticing to me because you know more about what you’re getting in a trade, but given Halladay’s aversion to hitting it would’ve been interesting to see if Riccardi would’ve followed up on his word.

Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Drabek (12-3, 3.19 ERA, 150 K in Advanced A and AA)
J.A Happ (10-3, 2.63 ERA, 97 K in MLB)
Dominic Brown (.304 BA, 14 HR, 61 RBI in Advanced A and AA)

The Philadelphia Phillies were the team closest to acquiring Halladay, but balked at the Blue Jay asking price of the three players above. Drabek underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007, but he remains the Phillies’ top pitching prospect. His fastball registers between 88 and 93 MPH on a regular basis, but his curve has been described as “filthy,” which is my favorite descriptive pitching word. Think: Yovani Gallardo

J.A. Happ has been the most pleasant pitching surprise for the Phillies and has out-performed supposed ace Cole Hamels since filling the void left by a guy that made me ask “how the hell is he still pitching?” That’s Chan Ho Park, if you’re keeping score. Happ throws a fastball similar to Drabek in speed, but has a naturally deceptive motion that can cause problems for both righties and lefties. His changeup has worked especially well for him this year as well. Think: Mark Buehrle

Brown is the Phillies’ top hitting prospect, and is well on his way to becoming a five-tool outfielder. He has good patience for such a young hitter, can definitely steal bases, and is working on developing his power. Brown is already hitting close to .300 on a regular basis and would be ready to contribute to a big league club by the middle of next season at the least. Think: Shane Victorino

Verdict:
I’d do it faster than Usain Bolt. The Blue Jays would get the Phillies’ top two prospects, and a guy that has overachieved. Of course, the Phillies already have this year’s CC Sabathia in Cliff Lee, so this trade is definitely one they aren’t losing sleep over.

Chicago Cubs
Josh Vitters (2.83 BA, 18 HR, 63 RBI in Advanced A)
Andrew Cashner (2-4, 2.80 ERA, 73 K in A and AA)
Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 7.81 ERA, 17 K in MLB)
Ryan Flaherty (.278 BA, 20 HR, 79 RBI in A)

Josh VittersVitters is the top prospect in the Cubs’ organization, and he can rake with the best of them. Speaking of, rake is my favorite description for a good hitter. Vitters is still young and will take some more time to develop patience at the plate and his defensive game, but the Cubs are sitting pretty with this heir apparent to Aramis Ramirez at third. Think: Pablo Sandoval

Samardzija doesn’t look like he’s going the way of Drew Henson, Chris Weinke, or John Elway, which is a good sign for the Cubs. He has had his fair share of struggles in the MLB, but it’s hard to ignore his upper 90s fastball and low 80s changeup mixed with a good splitter and decent slider. Think: Justin Verlander

Cashner’s scouting report reads a lot like Rick Vaughn’s in that he can really bring it but has problems with his command. “Wild Thing” is a very reasonable nickname for him, and his slider is very similar to current Cub Carlos Marmol. Cashner may break through as a power-armed reliever, because his control is just too inconsistent to be a starter right now. Think: Marmol

Flaherty is currently a shortstop, but may switch to second or third base because of his defensive ineptitude. However, he has above average power, possesses good patience, and can steal a base or two. He also has a ways to go before making it to the Bigs, but it’ll happen at some point. Think: Aaron Hill

Verdict:
I may be a little hesitant at first, but I’d take it. This basically clears out the entire cream of the Cub crop in Chicago’s farm system, but the Cubs have always been a big market, win-now team. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rickett family approaches these types of trades in the future.

Milwaukee Brewers
Alcides Escobar (.286 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI in MLB)
Mat Gamel (.239 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI in MLB)
Manny Parra (9-10, 6.66 ERA, 98 K in MLB)
Cole Gillespie (.275 BA, 12 HR, 62 RBI in AAA)

Escobar is the Brewers’ top overall prospect, and has already made a decent impact as a mid-August call-up for Milwaukee. He is a great defensive shortstop, and has the ability to be a strong leadoff hitter for years to come with his speed and ability to simply make contact. Think: Omar Vizquel

Gamel doesn’t possess extremely high power attributes but can make contact with almost any pitch. His wrists are so quick that it allows him an extra half second of pitch recognition before he has to start his swing. Gamel was introduced in a Prince Fielder-like way and got just a taste of the Show, but he will surely be a lineup fixture in 2010. Think: Freddy Sanchez with more power

Parra has had more than a few “D’oh!” moments this year and has issues with his confidence. However, his skill set projects as a top of the rotation lefty, as long as he doesn’t think too much when he gets rocked. When/if Parra ever figures out he has a mid to upper 90s fastball, a great splitter, developing changeup, and sweeping curve, he’ll be a dangerous opponent. Think: Ted Lilly

Gillespie would be a good toss in for the Blue Jays because of the logjam that is the Milwaukee outfield, and he is a good hitter with decent power. Gillespie has surprised a few people in the Milwaukee farm system with his work ethic and high production despite projections as an average player. He could be a dark horse future starter, a la Nelson Cruz. Think: Jason Bay

Verdict:
Although the Brewers can’t offer Toronto a slew of great pitching prospects, they have always had enough good hitters to make up for it. I would pull the trigger because all the players are MLB ready, or very close to it.

St. Louis Cardinals
Colby Rasmus (.255 BA, 14 HR, 44 RBI in MLB)
Brett Wallace (.292 BA, 18 HR, 59 RBI in AA and AAA)
Chris Perez (1-1, 3.53 ERA, 52 K in MLB)
Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.62 ERA, 8 K in MLB)

Colby RasmusRasmus has proven he can play at the Major League level and leads all NL rookies in home runs and RBIs. His average isn’t too high, but he can chase down any ball in center and looks naturally comfortable in the position. Rasmus is well on his way to a successful big league career, and will improve as he gets older. Think: Mike Cameron

Wallace was traded to Oakland as the centerpiece of the Matt Holliday trade, which tells you how highly regarded he is as a hitter. His fielding is very forgettable and he doesn’t possess Evan Longoria power, but Wallace will be an above .300 hitter as a regular player and finds ways to get on base. Think: Pablo Sandoval (Yes, I used him twice. Sue me.)

Perez simply throws gas (another favorite description of mine). He has seen action as a reliever for the Cardinals in 2008 and 2009, and is projected to become a solid closer someday if he can get his command under control. If he learns how to harness his power, he’ll be a nice Neo going into the last inning of a one, two, or three run game. Think: Matt Capps

Garcia isn’t going to be a dominating starter, but he has the makeup to become a solid No. 4 or 5 in a big league rotation. His fastball clocks in at the low to mid-90s with good sink and his curveball is very good as long as he can command it. He also throws a decent changeup, which will be essential if he maximizes his potential as a starter. Think: Joel Piniero

Verdict:
This is the first trade of the 10 I’m analyzing that I would not do if I were J.P. Ricciardi. The Cardinals don’t have a lot of depth in their farm system, and have already traded away two of the four players on this list for Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa. There just isn’t a strong enough hype surrounding these prospects.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw (8-7, 2.94, 164 K in MLB)
Ivan DeJesus Jr. (10 AB in Rookie level)
James McDonald (4-4, 4.13 ERA, 38 K in MLB)

Clayton KershawKershaw is clearly on track to become the ace of the Dodger staff and a great left handed compliment to Chad Billingsley. He’s already proven he can deal at the highest level on a playoff-caliber team. Oh, and he’s 21. Think: Johan Santana

DeJesus has an approach at the plate that most MLB players don’t learn until they get to the Show. Although there are some questions about his work ethic and he suffered a broken leg in spring training, but his ceiling as a contact hitter is pretty high. He is considered a good defender, but might make a switch to second because of his pension for throwing errors. Think: Miguel Tejada

It’s a good thing that McDonald’s fastball is supposedly his worst pitch, as it tops out at 92 MPH, and is still considered a massive talent. I can personally attest to watching his curveball fall from 12-to-6, and his changeup makes the fastball look so much faster than it is. McDonald has pitched out of the Dodger bullpen for most of the season, but will eventually fill in the No. 3 or 4 starter spot. Think: James Shields

Verdict:
If Los Angeles were willing to give up Kershaw, I would do this trade in an instant. Adding McDonald and DeJesus to the deal would only sweeten it for Toronto.

Most of these trades sound interesting, and all of these teams could use another ace. It’s debatable whether or not Halladay would’ve performed like Sabathia from last year and Cliff Lee this year, as he registered an ERA of 4.75 in August. In retrospect, it might be worth it for teams like the Brewers and Cubs to hold onto their young players and wait until next year. It’ll be interesting to see what the trade market for Halladay is this offseason, if there is one, and which of these teams would be willing to bet the farm on a former Cy Young winner. Until then, Halladay remains a Blue Jay because of his team’s extremely high demands. As James Bond said in one of his lesser movie appearances, the world is not enough.

What would it have taken to land Roy Halladay? Part 1: American League

How much am I worth to you?

How much am I worth to you?

By Jake McCormick

The chances of someone landing Toronto Blue Jay Roy Halladay before last month’s MLB trading deadline were 1 on 146,107,961. That’s one point higher in odds than getting all five numbers right in the Wisconsin Powerball lottery. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating J.P. Riccardi’s demand of a “Wow!” package for a two-year lease on one of the game’s premier pitchers, but most front offices had to feel like they had a better chance at winning the lottery than getting Halladay for anything less than their top pitching and hitting prospects, and Megan Fox.

With only a month left in the 2009 regular season, the true contenders are starting to put everything together for the final push while the stragglers are left to fend for themselves. Now we’re left with a lot of “what-ifs” from teams like the Brewers, Cubs, Twins, and Mariners. In the spirit of hypothetical situations and video game-created All Star teams, I’m writing a two part series (one for the American League, one for the National League) on what would’ve happened if Halladay had been traded to 12 teams a month ago and the packages each team needed to put together to bring the ace onto American soil.

Editor’s note: We’re also going to assume that the teams have pre-Trading Deadline lineups and prospects.

Toronto Blue Jay demands:
Obviously pitching is a big need for an organization that has a few promising prospects mixed with oft-injured hurlers. The Blue Jays also could use some outfield help after they showed the underachieving Alex Rios the door and Vernon Wells continues to compliment Alfonso Soriano as the AL’s biggest outfield bust and untradeable long-term contract signed in the past three years. Toronto has some budding talent in 2B Aaron Hill, DH Adam Lind, and top prospect Travis Snyder, but the left side of their infield isn’t exactly a long-term fixture, and like almost every other team, they could use a catcher of the future.

Boston Red Sox
RHP Michael Bowden (4-6, 3.19 ERA, 84 K in AAA)
P Clay Buchholz (2-3, 5.02 ERA, 27 K in MLB)
RF/CF Josh Reddick (.252 BA, 13 HR, 33 RBI in AA and AAA)
SS Yamaico Navarro (.233 BA, 5 HR, 26 RBI in A and AA)

Clay BuchholzBuchholz has shown signs of brilliance over his short career, including besting Halladay in a duel last Wednesday. He would be the centerpiece of the deal because he’s on the cusp of putting it all together and hasn’t even reached the age where he can legally rent a car. Think: Roy Halladay

The Sox would be forced to part with their top pitching prospect in Bowden, who isn’t a strikeout pitcher and would at best become a No. 2 starter. But he lacks a history of injuries and works both sides of the plate with a low-90s fastball and good curve. Think: Joe Blanton

Double-A outfielder Josh Reddick has good speed, a strong arm, and is a work in progress with his plate discipline, but his bat speed helps offset that deficiency. The guy can definitely hit. Think: Matt Kemp

Navarro can play shortstop, third base, and second base effectively, as he has a strong arm and good range. He’s a bulky guy with a decent bat. Think: Juan Uribe

Verdict:
If I’m the Blue Jays, I pull the trigger. None of these players costs you anything, and you get two MLB-ready pitchers and an outfielder that’s a year away from the Bigs.

Minnesota Twins
CF Carlos Gomez (.242 BA, 3 HR, 27 RBI in MLB)
RHP Shooter Hunt (0-5, 10.19 ERA, 26 K in Rookie and A)
LHP Glen Perkins (6-7, 5.89, 45 K in MLB)
OF Aaron Hicks (.243 BA, 3 HR, 22 RBI in A)

This would be GM Bill Smith’s chance to totally redeem himself for the terribly unbalanced Johan Santana trade. Gomez continues to be a work in progress and the Twins have Denard Span turning into the player they thought Gomez would be at this point. Think: Dexter Fowler

The Twins have always filled their rotation with command pitchers that throw with a lot of movement in their repertoire. Hunt does not fit the bill. He walks a lot of guys, but throws the ball like it’s coming out of a potato cannon. Think: Ubaldo Jimenez

Perkins has been unable to fight the injury bug, but has had points where it looks like he’s figured out his stuff. He would be a nice MLB-ready compliment as a control pitcher to the fireballer Hunt. Think: Wandy Rodriguez

Aaron HicksHicks is the top outfield prospect in the Twins’ organization. The guy can run, hit, patiently wait for a good pitch, and can actually pitch himself. He was called the best high school prospect in the Los Angeles area since Darryl Strawberry. As long as he doesn’t follow the path through white snow as Strawberry did, he’s going to be an impact player. Think: Justin Upton

Verdict:
I would absolutely pull the trigger if I’m Toronto. You may not be getting ace-quality pitchers, but all four of those guys bring completely different skill sets to the table. That’s enough for me.

Texas Rangers
RHP Neftali Feliz (1 SV, 0.55 ERA, 21 K in MLB)
OF Julio Borbon (.415 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 9 SB in MLB)
C Taylor Teagarden (.194 BA, 6 HR, 22 RBI in MLB)

Neftali FelizFeliz is an absolute stud ace in the making and the Rangers have a deep enough farm system that they could handle losing their top pitching prospect that already has made a splash in the majors, with a 0.55 ERA in 16 IP. Think: Felix Hernandez

Borbon has also made it to the big league club this year, and is batting at a .478 clip. He is fast and can obviously hit, but he needs to work on his defensive skills. That’s no reason to turn him away in a trade though. Think: Kenny Lofton

Teagarden is also currently with Texas, and is a very good defensive catcher that can hit for power but whiffs a lot. The Rangers’ package would give the Blue Jays three players just touching the start of their big league careers. Think: Bengie Molina

Verdict:
This is the easiest one to take if I were Riccardi. All three guys have loads of potential and fill long-term needs. And did I mention they’re MLB-ready, and cheap?

Seattle Mariners
LF Michael Saunders (.253 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI in 74 AB in MLB)
RHP Phillippe Aumont (2-6, 3.88 ERA, 59 K in A+ and AA)
RHP Michael Pineda (4-1, 2.70 ERA, 40 K in A+ and Rookie League)

Saunders is currently on the Mariners roster, and is performing like a rookie should. He’s can run well, hit, hit for power, fielder, and throw very well. The only downside is his strikeout potential, but that can be corrected given his natural-born talent. Think: Left-handed Ryan Braun

Mariners Diamondbacks Spring BaseballAumont is the Mariners top pitching prospect, with a fastball that gets up to 95 MPH and a high arching curve. He is developing a changeup and is still young, but if he can put those three pitches together, the upside might be too much to pass up if you’re Toronto. He’s also faced MLB hitters in the World Baseball Classic, and made Kevin Youkilis, David Wright, and Curtis Granderson look foolish. And he’s 20 years old. Think: Matt Cain

Pineda is a big, skinny guy (6’5”, 185 lbs) and has consistently performed well in the minor leagues. He throws a good fastball, a very good slider, and average changeup. But his ability to control all of those pitches are what makes him a dangerous opponent. Think: Jered Weaver

Chicago White Sox
LHP Aaron Poreda
(1-0, 2.45 ERA, 12 K in MLB)
3B Gordon Beckham (.284 BA, 8 HR, 47 RBI in MLB)
RHP Levi Maxwell (4-14, 4.86 ERA, 38 K in A+)

Dodgers Sox Spring BaseballBeckham has proven he can flat out rake to all fields at the big league level, and would undoubtedly be the focal point of this trade. He is till adjusting defensively as a third baseman, but considering what he’s done at the plate that’s no reason to sit him down. Think: Scott Rolen

At 6’6” 240 lbs Poreda is a real man, and he’s left handed. He throws a mid to upper-90s fastball with lots of movement, and is continuing to develop his slider and changeup. Poreda has already proven his worth as he was part of the trade that brought Jake Peavy to the South Side. Think: Lefty Josh Johnson

Maxwell is a work in progress and has excellent control over his fastball, which runs in the low to mid 90s. His off-speed pitches need work, but if he can command all his pitches even if they aren’t lights out, he’ll easily find a spot in a big league rotation. Think: Derek Lowe

Verdict:
If Beckham and Poreda are in the deal, that’s enough to seal it for Riccardi. Both are so highly regarded and MLB-ready that it would only make sense to take the trade if it was offered.

Those are just five offers in the American League that Riccardi couldn’t refuse. If I’m any of these teams, I would be just as hesitant as they were to part with potential future stars. But given what happened with CC Sabathia last year and the Brewers, would it really hurt any of these teams that much? Stay tuned for the National League version of hypothetical Halladay trades.