Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Roy Halladay And The Add Ons: Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, BJ Ryan

By announcing yesterday that he is listening to offers for Roy Halladay, GM JP Ricciardi has put himself in a power position. With so many teams still in contention, there is not a pitcher close to Halladay's stature on the open market. Undoubtedly, teams in contention (and those who think they can compete) will have to at least take a look at the Blue Jays ace and see what the exactly the price tag will be. When you take into account that that Halladay is signed through 2010, the price tag obviously will very, very high.

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.



tHeMARksMiTh said...

As always and I think I said this the last time you mentioned this idea, I think it's not a bad idea, but I wonder if it would hurt the return. Like you said, the Blue Jays need players, and I wonder if attaching one of those contracts would hurt the return for Halladay. Then again, he might have enough leverage that it won't matter, or the prospect lost might just be a throw-in anyway. But if attaching one of those contracts costs them a top prospect, I don't know that I'd do it unless my financial situation absolutely dictated it.

lar said...

You're right in saying that a Halladay trade would be purely a business decision and not a baseball decision. And you're right in that the Jays should definitley do their best to throw one of these contracts into the mix to save some money. I'm not sure it's at all doable in this economic climate, though. I mean, some teams are hesitating because Halladay's price tag alone (or, earlier this season, because of Peavy's contract). I just don't think that there are many teams that would be willing to take on that much money, which would limit Toronto's leverage. Now, with the right team, it could work into Toronto's hands perfectly, but that might be hard to find.

Personally, I think the Jays and Brewers should make a deal. But that's for selfish reasons. Who knows how this will actually play out (Jake Peavy is still a Padre after all *and* on the DL)...

jorgesaysno said...

If they get the finacial flexibility, the Giants could be a great fit for Halladay and Rios...

Matty said...

Well, now that they have released BJ Ryan, if they could get someone to take Rios's contract, Ricciardi should be up for executive of the year.

kvnfyzfyz said...


Ben Nicholson-Smith from did a radio interview here in Madison and he believes the best shot Milwaukee has at Halladay is for Gamel, Escobar and Manny Parra. So then I read your post and thought that if the Brewers could afford to take on Rios or even Wells in addition to Halladay (not so sure on that), it might work out. If the Crew picks up the majority of those ludicrous contracts maybe the Jays will be willing to take less in return. Or, if we're getting an outfielder in this deal, especially a Gold Glover like Wells, we might be able to give them Corey Hart or maybe even Mike Cameron, whose contract is expiring, over a prospect. This is so hypothetical, and I personally feel that the best shot Milwaukee has at landing Halladay (or the top-of-the-rotation starter they need) would be in a three-way deal. Do you think the Crew can swing a deal for Roy before Philly?

jorgesaysno said...

I think the Brewers have the pieces to get a deal done for Halladay...but will Doug Melvin pull the trigger?

Ryan Braun says yes.

My hunch says no.

And I doubt the Brewers could be able to take on any salary other than Halladay's.

jorgesaysno said...

If JP can find a taker for Vernon Wells's contract, then he will be the GM of the millenium

Anonymous said...

howabout Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells for Gary Matthews Jr + prospects. That way the Blue jays rid themselves of the TERRIBLE Vernon Wells contract, in a reasonable way, while gaining a shorter term, less awful Gary Matthews contract. Jays would gain prospects and financial flexibility.