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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Hunt for Ken’s Machtober


By: Melissa S. Wollering

Formerly known as What Milwaukee’s Brewing, The SportsBank.net flips the switch on this baseball column in anticipation of October. On Sunday, Doug Melvin and Ken Macha initiated Step 1 in their master plan to secure a return to the playoffs for the Milwaukee Brewers.  Switch-hitter Felipe Lopez increases options at the leadoff spot, fills the void Rickie Weeks left at second base and could be used to play almost any position in the Crew’s infield if needed. The only problem: this move still leaves fans chomping at the bit for another starting pitcher.

First things first: was it worth the price tag? Like finding a Deron Williams Cartier diamond-encrusted watch replica at the Dollar Store, yes it was worth it. Arizona drew the short end of the stick on this one.

This Lopez move sort of reminds me of last season’s Ray Durham pickup. Lopez is an unrestricted free agent come fall. Milwaukee would need to negotiate to keep him, but has the freedom of knowing they’re not married to a long-term contract.

The Brewers could get a compensation pick after the first round next June if he shops another team; Class B is what Doug Melvin’s guessing. Felipe has about $1.5M left on his $3.5M contract.

The only thing the Brewers organization sacrificed was AAA outfielder Cole Gillespie and A reliever Roque Mercedes. Gillespie was batting .242 with seven homers and 27 RBI in Nashville, but started the season on the DL. Mercedes was 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA and six saves in 29 games played down in Brevard County. Rookie Mat Gamel was sent back down to AAA to free up space on the roster. No worries; this just gives Gamel daily playing time and it’s only a matter of weeks/months before he’s back in the bigs.


How This Brings Them Closer to October….

Ken Macha has been frustrated while trying to find a right-handed hitter to anchor the top of the lineup when the team faces lefties. Craig Counsell can still be used at second against right-handed aces if needed, and both Craig and Casey McGehee (another 2B substitute) can be utilized elsewhere in the infield.

Rickie Weeks exited stage left with a torn-up wrist just as his curtain had gone up for the first time in opera house history.  Weeks was contributing with a .857 OPS. Lopez may make up for some of that lost production, considering 2B has been a sieve on the flip side (offense) for the Brewers. Lopez has been batting .301 with 18 doubles, six homers and 25 RBI for the Arizona D-Backs. More to love: he is batting .313 from the right side of the plate and .298 left-handed. As of Sunday, he ranked second in the NL with a .372 OBP.

Arizona beat writers seem to agree that Lopez is selecting more good pitches to swing at and drawing the walk more often. As a result, he should bring more consistency to the lineup and put more guys on base for Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder to drive home.

He also provides a boost to the Brewers’ defense, with solid experience at nearly every position in the infield. He previously struggled with his defensive skills at shortstop, but he’s never disappointed at second. In fact, he may have flown under the radar in value due to the bad wrap he picked up while working his previous position.

The NL Central is anyone’s division right now. Any effort to improve the quality of play could increase the W column. Just a handful of wins could be the blueberries in your bran flakes. Think about it breakfast fanatics, and feast on it if the Brewers make it to Machtober.


Any Downside?

Felipe has called Toronto, Cincinnati, Washington, St. Louis and Arizona home.  If five cities were happy to trade him, what makes Milwaukee his sensation destination?

Skeptics believe the move won’t make an ounce of difference because the team does not resemble a 90-win ensemble right now. We’ll let you watch and let YOU decide.



Still Needed in the Quest for October….

Doug Melvin made it clear that he tried to nab a Diamondbacks pitcher in the deal (all bets are on lefty and former Brewer Doug Davis).  However, GM Josh Byrnes wasn’t biting.

Melvin says he has little to no interest in handing over Mat Gamel or SS prospect Alcides Escobar, but that may limit the organization’s ability to trade for a pitcher of quality.


As you read in Blue Jays Don’t Migrate to Milwaukee, I’m not optimistic Roy Halladay will land on a beam of the retractable roof in Miller Park, but the buzz isn’t going away.


Perhaps the most convincing indication Melvin is serious is that he has a habit of becoming mysterious and quiet right before he pulls the trigger on trades. All is quiet on the Halladay front right now, and he brushes information off as “the same old rumors” when possible.  The C.C. Sabathia trade was a prime example of Melvy’s masterful deception, which the guys over at Right Field Bleachers explain in detail quite well.


Many of you read the content of premiere insider Tom Hardricourt as well.  If you do, you know he’s changed his tune in recent days and believes Milwaukee will try to secure Roy if only to get him out of the hands of the Cubs and Cardinals.


On Twitter Sunday, Tom let us know Dick Groch, Melvin’s top scouting assistant, was in Toronto watching Roy pitch. Regardless of whether the Brewers club possesses the worm of choice for the early bird, we know they are interested. And a solid nest of starting eggs in the rotation should be Step 2 in the Hunt for Ken’s Machtober.

Blue Jays Don’t Migrate to Milwaukee

By Melissa S. Wollering

Doug Melvin and I seem to share a media relations philosophy that I wish I could impress upon others. A trade or acquisition rumor is a waste of time UNLESS it becomes worth it to explain to you why the rumored possibility was silly, unbeneficial and not going to happen.  That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and discuss the realistic price the Milwaukee Brewers would have paid if they were serious about Roy Halladay.  Which they are not.

Blue Jay migration to Milwaukee is historically less popular than Milwaukee migration north towards Canada. Sure birds fly south, but Milwaukee is hardly south of anything other than Minneapolis.

A year and a half of Halladay is worth what? He likely commands a combination of no less than four players who all play in the bigs now or have received at least one call to the majors in the last season and a half.

In order to make a trade, the Milwaukee Brewers would almost certainly want to “off-load” a boil or two such as Bill Hall.  Maybe Jody Gerut, who has not exactly panned out. Here’s an eyebrow raiser: how about off-loading Jeff Suppan if his payroll goes with him?

Dangling Roy like a piece of meat in front of Siegfried’s tiger suggests shameless, overpriced self-promotion on the part of the Jays who certainly want an inflated return for Roy boy. If Doug Melvin had to put together potential options lists, perhaps they would look something like this.

Alcides Escobar 2B, Mat Gamel 3B/DH, JJ Hardy SS & Angel Salome C 

Escobar has been called up and could be ready for everyday play in the next year. JJ may not be worth the future investment if Milwaukee tries to keep Prince Fielder. Gamel’s defense isn’t there yet, but he has no trouble fitting into a DH spot. Angel Salome is pretty close to the majors and the Jays are slightly short at the catcher spot.

Alcides Escobar SS/2B, Lorenzo Cain OF, Angel Salome C & Brett Lawrie

Lawrie sings O’ Canada in the shower and brushes his teeth with maple syrup.  He can also play anywhere on the diamond and could become a stud faster than it takes Celine Dion to get tipsy on Molson Ice. As many readers know, Lorenzo Cain is my boy and Toronto’s CF Vernon Wells is driving everyone up a wall with his lack of consistency.



Manny Parra, SP, Jonathan Lucroy C, Brett Lawrie & JJ Hardy SS

At this point you realize we might as well deal either Escobar or Hardy in any of these hypothetical trade cocktails. Only one can play if the other sticks around forever. We also have two decent catching prospects in Lucroy and Salome, so one is expendable.  Manny Parra may have problems as long as he stays in Milwaukee. He wouldn’t be the first Milwaukee Brewer to find success north of the border.

Evan Anundsen, SP, Angel Salome C, Corey Hart RF & Alcides Escobar SS/2B

Evan is arguably the best minor league pitcher this season for Brevard County. He’s only in Brevard, I know. But he threw a no-hitter earlier this year and in contrast to the Blue Jays’ pitching prospects, he’s not injured. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend dealing Hart, but I can see it being an option.  Mat Gamel may eventually land in CF and with the success of Casey McGehee we could afford it. That is unless Toronto is drooling over Casey, too.

There is only one line of reasoning I agree upon with Halladay trade advocates. If the Milwaukee Brewers don’t go after him, the Cardinals or Cubs could. Does this look good to you?  Vomit in my mouth.

Wainwright – ERA+ – 135
Carpenter – 180
Pineiro – 123
Lohse – 104
Halladay – 154

The talent that Milwaukee would have to give up to bring Halladay is not likely worth the approximately $7M the organization would be liable for, plus another $15.75 due in 2010. Would it make Braun happy?  Oh, now my sarcasm is coming up.  Yes, let’s do it for Brauny. 


I think the best written statement on this comes from none other than the St. Louis Dispatch:


Asked about the price tag for Halladay, a club source said: “Give Ricciardi all our minor-league rosters and let him circle any 5 names.”  –Joe Strauss, SL Post Dispatch

This is why Milwaukee would not have acquired Roy.  This is why Blue Jays don’t migrate south for the summer.