So what should the Blue Jays be asking for? Obviously, one answer is young, cheap, and talented prospects. This has become the norm throughout major league baseball when dealing all star caliber players. And to be honest, asking for quality, young players makes all the sense in the world for Toronto. This a franchise that cannot compete with the Red Sox and the Yankees by competing with them with the checkbook; instead, they need to build a solid core through the farm system that can be supplemented by free agents and trades.
But consider this: instead of solely asking for prospects back in return, why doesn't Toronto try to unload one of their absurd contracts in the process? Halladay is one of the top assets in baseball and if Toronto is serious about dealing him, then this could be their only opportunity to get from under some of these terrible contracts. In the long run, the financial flexibility the Blue Jays gain could help them more than prospects, many of whom never pan out.
There are three guys on the Blue Jays that I view as potential add ons.
1. Vernon Wells: The Blue Jays center fielder is owed a ridiculous amount of money through 2014 and is not performing anywhere near expectations. If a team is willing to take Wells, the Blue Jays NEED to pounce on that immediately. However, I seriously doubt that any team would take on Wells's contract, which I believe could go down as one of the worst in baseball history. Plus, Wells has a full no trade.
2. Alex Rios: Now we're talking. The Blue Jays right fielder is signed through 2015 and is owed another $68 million bucks. While that amount may not sound terrible, Rios's performance has not been close to what the Blue Jays expected it to be. By most accounts, the team is willing to deal Rios for very little as long as the team takes back his contract. Realistically, that's probably not going to happen. But if you attach Rios to Roy Halladay, I think teams would become a lot more open to taking on Rios and his contract. Keep in mind that Rios also has a no trade clause.
3. BJ Ryan: Even though Ryan's performance level has dropped dramatically and he is owed $10 million in 2010, I think he would be the most realistic add on in a deal for Roy Halladay. Ryan does not require a commitment beyond 2010 and even though he's had a down year, he might be worth taking a chance on. When Ryan is on, he is one of the best relief pitchers in the American League. For the Blue Jays, getting rid of Ryan would not give them the long term relief they seek, but it would be one less big contract on the books for 2010.
Would the Blue Jays be willing to take a lesser prospect or less prospects in the deal if it means getting rid of one of these deals?
Are there any teams out there that would consider acquiring Wells in addition to Halladay? I doubt it.
Are there any teams out there that would consider acquiring Rios or Ryan if it meant that they could get Roy Halladay? I think so.
So in the end, it comes down to this: if the Blue Jays have the opportunity to get rid of either of these three guys in a deal for Halladay, I think Ricciardi would be motivated to do it. Because in the end, the decision to move Halladay is more of a financial decision than a baseball move and if the Jays can better set themselves up in the future financially, I can't see the team passing up on that.