Did J.P. really “botch” the Halladay business?

I’m prepared to admit that there are many reasons to fire J.P. Ricciardi but, contrary to what Heyman says, not trading Roy Halladay is not one of them.

As far as I know, there was never a truly great offer on the table for him. The Indians kind of killed the market anyway by taking as little as they did for Cliff Lee. Contrary to what seems to be increasingly popular belief, Roy Halladay is not now plummeting in value for the Jays. He’s extremely valuable and will remain so for a long time, partially because he’s a fabulous pitcher and teams need those, but also because losing him would have been a really tough pill to swallow for Jays fans, whose devotion to the team tends to wane as Leafs camp approaches anyway. Simply put: you don’t want to give those guys an excuse to bail on you, because in Toronto, they probably will.

Ricciardi should have probably not talked as much about dealing Halladay as much as he did — I would have said nothing publicly aside from the “we always listen to offers” line — but by this point you can set your watch by J.P. putting his foot in his mouth. What no one has adequately explained to me yet is why it was so, so, so important to trade Roy Halladay. At least so important that not doing so justifies canning the GM.

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  1. Tim Kelly said...

    The prevailing opinion seems to be that it was really really really important for JP to trade Roy Halladay before the deadline because he will become less valuable as a trade chip until such time as his deal runs out.

    That’s all fine and nearly indisputable but it ignores the reality that the Jays have an alternative:  keeping Roy Halladay.  He’s an immensely valuable pitcher for Toronto and a key component to any chances they have in 2010. 

    If I had a $100 bill and I’m given a best possible offer of $75 for it, I think I’d keep it too.

  2. Chris said...

    I’ve been toying with a theory.  What better way to garner attention for a perennial bridesmaid in Cy Young voting than generating trade talk and getting people South of the border to take notice?  Maybe there was no actual (or at least very little) intention of trading Halladay, but helping a guy who is consistently amazing get the recognition he deserves…

  3. Michael Martin said...

    Halladay’s value is the same to be sure, but having a loudmouth like JP be the guy to deal you can’t be helping the Blue Jays’ cause.  I think the guy needs to shut his mouth and wait for the right offer when it comes, instead of going off on the idea of trading Halladay all over again.

  4. Tim said...

    It was so, so, so important for the Jays to trade Doc because the media said it was.  Now they look stupid for saying that a trade was inevitable and are trying to cover their own asses by ripping on Ricciardi.

  5. DP said...

    Your $100 dollar bill is gonna walk out of your pocket and sign with the Yankees or Red Sox next season. Take the $75 dollars now that has the potential to turn into $150 in the near future.

  6. Mac said...

    In trading a pitcher like Roy Halladay – you absolutely must get a solid package headlined by some big upside youth.  The reported Phillies package didn’t offer that.  The Phils substituted out the 2 guys the Jays wanted (Drabek, Brown)& offered other players.  Why should the Jays be crucified for not jumping on that? – because the Tribe took a crap deal?  People will mention Knapp & Taylor – but the Jays never got a good look at Knapp because he was hurt (why would they take that kind of chance?) & perhaps they just weren’t enamored with Taylor?  Makes sense to me. 
    I haven’t heard any other 100% confirmed offers.  So isn’t it a bit hard to say what the team should or shouldn’t have done? 

    Heyman & Stark were the guys losing their minds at the prospects of a Halladay trade.  They’re angry they didn’t get the big trade they thought they were promised.  Must be real tough for them.

  7. Chris Fiorentino said...

    The Jays screwed this deal up and here is why; they got way too greedy.  The fact is that JP is the worst GM in the AL right now(were Ed Wade still not a GM, JP would be the worst in all of baseball).  How he didn’t make a deal for Halladay is insane.  Roy clearly wanted to go to a contender.  The contender(Phillies, Red Sox) clearly wanted him.  How he could not make a deal with either of those teams is dumb. 

    Who is going to want Halladay in the offseason?  And how do we know Halladay is going to waive his no-trade without knowing how well the team is going to play?  I mean, he may say “nah, I’ll wait until July 31 to make sure the team I get traded to is going to be good.”  And then the Jays are royally screwed…because they don’t get as much for a 2 month playoff-run rental as they could have received this year.

    The $100 for $75 trade example is lame, and here is why.  That $100 will be worth $60 in the offseason, $40 on July 31st next year, and $0 on August 1st next year.

  8. Kurt said...

    If you guys are going to keep on with the $100 analogy, then this is the deal…

    1) Let’s assume Halladay is worth $100.

    2) Let’s assume that there were 5 teams in the pennant race, who had the desire for Halladay along with the prospects and money to trade for him without any other moves needed to make salary space. a) Boston b) Texas c) Philadelphia d) Los Angeles – AL e) Los Angeles – NL

    3) Assuming that they were offered $80 for the $100. Realize that $100 will be worth $90 after the season.

    4) Teams enter every season looking with hope at the upcoming season, meaning that now you have teams who can move payroll (Tampa Bay, New York – NL, Atlanta) to make a run at him, which adds to the suitors.

    5) Chances are with more suitors for Halladay’s services, teams are going to give you $90-95 to get the player they believe puts them over the top. So while they will most likely never get $100 in value, it’s reasonable to expect $90 and maybe even $95.

    6) One of the biggest problems was that many of the teams were trying to buy in the wrong currency. They were giving maybe even $90 for the $100, like the Rangers were, but the problem is that they were giving it in $90 worth of Euros. The problem is that it cost money to have somebody transfer your currency.

    7) What the Rangers were giving wasn’t exactly what the Blue Jays need, they didn’t need a ton of pitching, and they didn’t need an awesome hitting 1B. They needed middle infield help, something Texas wasn’t willing to part with (see Andrus). The Phillies had Donalds and Drabek, two of the things that the Blue Jays wanted, but they were offering $80 on the $100, which is the same thing as having to exchange currency.

    8) Toronto wanted at least $90 for their $100, knowing full well that $90 would become $150 (sticking with the said number for the sake of argument), but they didn’t want $80 for their $100 and they didn’t want $90 worth of Euros for their $100. Phillies didn’t want to give up enough and the Rangers didn’t want to give the right currency.

    My guess is that Halladay ends up a Blue Jay in the offseason. They’ll just miss the playoffs in TB and so ownership will do what is necessary to secure a playoff roster. Kazmir will be traded for a couple prospects, probably to Seattle to replace Bedard leaving through free agency. Crawford will be traded, maybe also to Seattle with a need in LF and a supposed 3-way deal for Kazmir being talked about during the deadline. Either way Crawford and Kazmir will be off the payroll with Joyce taking over one corner in the outfield and Jennings taking over the other. The extra salary room will make Halladay’s contract do-able. Tampa DOES have the prospects to get a deal done and enough of them to not worry about paying market value. Figure the trade would be Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, Reid Brignac, and Fernando Perez… They might even get them to throw in John Jason to make it 5 for 1. This gives them a middle infielder, a centerfielder, two starters, and potentially a catcher could be added to the mix, filling their needed holes longer term, which can’t be accounted for by their system. The trades of Kazmir and Crawford should bring 4-5 prospects of equal or maybe a little less than what they would give up for Halladay, but they would probably be younger prospects that will spread the talent through their system better.

    I think bringing out Halladay before the deadline was to see what teams wanted to give, then the Jays told the enquiring teams what they wanted in return to give up Halladay, and finally teams will know to put Halladay on their winter meeting shopping list, and that probably effected a lot of teams and how they did business at the deadline. I think Milwaukee for one is planning to wait until the offseason and then make a move for Halladay… Trading for Washburn or Lee would have crippled their system and made Halladay a dream, but now they can go for him in the offseason with a package revolving around J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, Manny Parra, and maybe another talented young arm like Jeremy Jeffress. They would get their stud ace to lead the rotation with Gallardo as a very talented #2. They could put Escobar at SS to start the season next year, bringing up an OF prospect like Lorenzo Cain to throw out a name or sign somebody on the cheap to man RF. Halladay would easily replace whatever value Parra gave to the rotation, and as talented as Jeffress is, he’s still too far from the majors for his golden arm being traded to even cause a tremor on the parent club.

  9. Chris Fiorentino said...

    @Kurt “Tampa DOES have the prospects to get a deal done and enough of them to not worry about paying market value. Figure the trade would be Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, Reid Brignac, and Fernando Perez… They might even get them to throw in John Jason to make it 5 for 1.”

    You are ABSOLUTELY INSANE if you think that ANY TEAM is going to give up 5 prospects for a one year rental of Roy Halladay…because that is what it will be for Tampa.

  10. Kurt said...

    My guess is that Halladay ends up a Blue Jay in the offseason.


    My guess is that Halladay ends up staying a Blue Jay until the offseason.

    Meaning that he won’t clear waivers to be traded, even as much as everyone says it could be easy to clear a player with so much owed like Halladay.

  11. Kurt said...

    For one thing missing the playoffs in a mid market city with a small market attendance will make you overpay for talent to keep what fans you have coming through the door. Additionally, I said MAYBE FIVE, not definitely 5 and they would be keeping Davis, Jennings, Price, Beckham, etc. It’s not like they would be giving away their top prospects. Trading prospect for prospect never happens, but if it did, I guarantee you that Neftali Perez, Justin Smoak, Derek Holland, and Julio Borbon (the supposed package) would crap all over the 5 guys I just listed from the Rays, but it’s one of the few teams besides the Brewers that could give up a talented young SS in the deal. Stop focusing on the number five and start focusing on the talent level. The Rangers were going to trade away TWO “A” level prospects, ONE “B+” level prospect, and ONE “B” level prospect. The guys I listed are TWO “B-”, THREE “C+”… Gain some perspective before you start talking to me about your ability to count to 5.

  12. Chris Fiorentino said...

    @Kurt “The Rangers were going to trade away TWO “A” level prospects, ONE
    “B+” level prospect, and ONE “B” level prospect. The guys I listed are
    TWO “B-”, THREE “C+”.”

    This makes my point exactly…JP blew it when he did not make the trade at the deadline.  If you think the four guys they were “offered” from the Rangers at the deadline would “crap all over” the five you think they will be able to get during the offseason, then what you are essentially saying is that JP screwed up and should have taken the deal at the deadline.

  13. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Halladay was reported to have nixed any trade to the Rangers and would not have dropped is no trade clause for such a deal.

  14. Chris Fiorentino said...

    @Craig “Halladay was reported to have nixed any trade to the Rangers and would not have dropped is no trade clause for such a deal. “

    If this report is true, doesn’t it make JP look like an even bigger ass for talking to a team before he gets an OK from Halladay?  The guy is a buffoon and should immediately be fired at season’s end.

  15. Mike H said...

    Halladay’s trade value should have been at its highest at the deadline, yes. His value should be less in the offseason, yes, because a team trading for him will have him for less time. This makes perfect sense. Of course, we’re presuming that the value offered in return matched (or was close enough to) what his value should have been. The Lee trade says this might not have been the case. The only piece of frontline talent they received was a pitcher in low-A, out with shoulder fatigue, with an impressive fastball and much less impressive secondary stuff.

    The the offer of $75 for the $100 bill is a great illustration of this, Tim.

  16. JT said...

    Jeff Passan over at Yahoo! is a good writer, but his article arguing that Riccardi should be canned for not trading Roy Halladay (the best pitcher in baseball since 2001) was simply wrong.  The beauty of owning the rights to a perennial Cy Young candidate is that you, and only you, own those rights.  JP only should have traded Roy Halladay is the right offer was presented; that offer never came, so JP rightly held onto Halladay.  As you say, he probably should have kept his mouth shut, but arguing he should be canned for not making a bad trade is wrong-headed.  Passan (and other writers arguin g that Riccardi should be canned for not making a bad deal) might want to think about sticking his foot in his mouth on this one.

  17. JV said...

    I don’t think it was a bad move by not trading Halladay this year. The fans in Toronto love Roy, but they are put off by all of the losing, and the play of Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. The ridiculous amount of pitching injuries didn’t help. The really bad move was not trading AJ Burnett at last year’s trade deadline, only to lose him to the New York Billionaires, err, Yankees. In the offseason teams will have certain salaries coming off the books, and Toronto will have better opportunities to find more starting pitching alternatives should they decide to actually trade Roy Halladay. Wishful thinking on certain media for him to be traded this year. Heyman is a joke, i would prefer Olney anytime.

  18. JT said...

    @Chris –
    Disagree; GM’s always get deals in place first before they ask permission to make a deal.  Same thing happened with Peavy earlier this season; Padres had a deal in place to send Peavy to Atlanta, then Peavy said he didn’t want to pitch in Atlanta.  Then they had a deal in place to send Peavy to Chicago, and Peavy nixed that one too.  You don’t go to the player first; GM’s almost always line the deal up and then seek permission from the player.

  19. Chris Fiorentino said...

    The right offer was presented by the Phillies.  Happ, Carrasco, Marson, Donald, and Knapp would have gotten it done.  That is 5 of the Phillies top 10 prospects at the beginning of 2009 according to Baseball America.  Happ is ready now, Carrasco has #2 stuff.  Some scouts say Knapp is better than Drabek.  Marson would be a good replacement for Barajas.  JP chickened out on the deal, and when he gets his pink slip at the end of this year, he will regret not making the deal.

  20. Chris Fiorentino said...


    Peavy had Atlanta on his list of 5 teams, and then nixed the trade, so he screwed the Pads on that one.  Then they figured they would do a deal without asking, since when they asked, it didn’t matter anyway.

  21. JT said...

    @ Tim—
    I think you hit the nail on the head; everyone in the media thinks Riccardi should be canned because they hyped up the Roy Halladay trade story for a month and then Riccardi didn’t trade him.  Now they look like buffoons, and they want to make Riccardi feel their pain.  Stupid media; trades are for GMs.

  22. Pat said...

    Hey guys,

    First of all, I respect each and every one of your opinions. I’m not saying any person is right or wrong, but I’m going to throw a few things down on the table that I think answers the question “Should J.P. be fired?”.

    First of all, you don’t set the market for your own players—the market sets itself.  You can say all you want about Player A being worth $100 but if teams are only willing to bid $75-$80 for him, then he is not worth $100. It just means your asking price is ridiculous (as it was in this case, IMHO).  And yes, that value dropped SIGNIFICANTLY on August 1st, 2009. Halladay wouldn’t net half of what Texas or Philly offered in the off-season no matter how many teams are bidding on him.

    Secondly, you HAVE to make a deal. The currency of baseball has changed from dollars to prospects because the interest rate on prospects is much, much higher.  If you get offered five or six highly rated players with huge upside, you take the deal.  Doesn’t matter how close they are to the big leagues or if they don’t fit in with your immediate needs.  Those things have a way of working themselves out—either a need in those areas will arise or you can trade those prospects for other players/prospects that do fill a need.  Look at Texas’s return from Atlanta in the Mark Teixeira heist of 2007: Saltalamacchia (starting catcher), Andrus (starting short-stop), Harrison (starting pitcher), Feliz (bullpen pitcher), and Jones (still in minor leagues).  Only one of those guys was MLB ready—Salty—and even that was debateable. But it didn’t matter because Texas was going to have to take that gamble to re-invent themselves as a contender, something Ricciardi didn’t realize was necessary for the Blue Jays (face it, there is extremely little chance Toronto makes the playoffs this season or next).  Just two years later, Texas has found itself in the heart of a pennant race, reaching 15 games over .500 and getting contributions from four of those five players.  And look at what Teixeira netted Atlanta in 2008: Casey Kotchman and Steven Marek. That now looks like Adam LaRoche and Steven Marek.

    I hate to break it to you Jays fans, but J.P. just forced Toronto into taking LaRoche and Marek instead of Andrus, Feliz, Salty, Harrison, and Jones. So yes, he needs to be fired and not trading Halladay is the straw.

  23. Ryan said...

    Halladay currently makes 14.25 M per season and he probably will get around 22 M per season when he signs elsewhere. Personally, if I were the Jays, I would try to resign him for 22 M or more.
    I know it sounds crazy but he is a top five starting pitcher and will be worth the money. BJ Ryan and Scott Rolen combined equals 23 M alone, however, I would focus on trading Lyle Overbay and his 8 M per season to find even more money to use.

    Trade the overpaid guys not the underpaid ones and who cares what you get for Overbay because you gave up nothing to get him in the first place.

  24. Mike H said...

    Hey Pat, I see where you’re coming from on your first point – the market will dictate the trade value. It’s right, of course in that if I have a shiny bauble and you offer me 5 magic beans and someone else offers me 7, the market has been set at 7. If a legitimate market doesn’t materialize for a player at a given time, however, and there is no impetus to deal, why sell low? Sabathia netted a near-ready top prospect plus a couple good secondary ones for a 2 month rental last year. Holliday did the same. This is the floor at the trade deadline next year, and the value only goes up before that. There was no reason JP should settle for less than 2 top prospects that are near-ready, plus talent on the back end of the deal. That’s probably still the starting point this winter. A Kyle Drabek should not be a roadblock to acquiring a perennial Cy Young contender for a year and a half. Not if you’re serious about it. That Cleveland seemed to want low-upside filler-spects (and Knapp) isn’t JPs fault, nor is it something he should necessarily emulate.

    As for your second point, if you don’t get a legitimate offer, there is absolutely no reason to make a trade. It absolutely does matter how close prospects are to the big leagues, especially pitchers – this helps with certainty. The Tex trade in particular had Salty ready and Harrison near-ready. Looking at the reported Happ, Drabek, Brown request, Happ has had 1/2 year in the majors, Drabek has 1/2 year at AA, and Brown was at high A at the time. Salty was in the majors, Harrison was at AA for the whole season, and Andrus was at high-A. Given where they were at and what their regard was, these were quite comparable. And as far as we know, Toronto wasn’t also asking for someone who threw 100mph.

    Basically, if you’re not getting a couple top prospects and more for a year and a half superstar level pitcher, you’re not getting enough, and you don’t make the trade. Near history has shown that’s what the market will bare… since it wasn’t, JP took his shiny bauble and went home for today. Don’t worry, though, he’ll be back out tomorrow.

    Maybe I’m being dumb, but how is 2 top prospects and a #4-5 pitcher an unreasonable starting point? Continuing to use the Philly offer as an example, I’m sure if they didn’t want to give up a pitcher who they might move to the bullpen in favor of Pedro, they could have found an alternative configuration.

    I gotta get this posted before I keep rambling.

  25. Mike said...

    “If I had a $100 bill and I’m given a best possible offer of $75 for it, I think I’d keep it too.”

    Not if that $100 bill was walking away next year. Idiot.

  26. George said...

    Of course he botched it. As much as folks say the Phillies didn’t give up alot for Lee, that was only because they didn’t give up what people think was a future superstar. However Marson, Donald, Carassco all will be major league players, Marson should be a good starting catcher in the league in the mold of Jason Kendall. The x factor is a hard throwing kid like Knapp. If he developes this turns out to be a good deal for Cleveland. Now from Toronto’s standpoint, they are not a good team. They could have got from the Phillies Marson who would replace Barajas immediately at the MLB level, Happ who is pitching like a number 2 in the majors right now, he probably projects to a 3, Donald who could play in a the majors right now, again not a star but a solid player. Long and short of it is I would take 5 solid players on a team like Toronto over 1 star pitcher who pitches every 5th day

  27. Josh said...

    To go along with your $100 bill analogy. I think its more like this.

    So you have a $100 coupon for something but the object is mor than the $100. You hope and hope that the slim chance that something falls under 100 dollars to be able to use the coupon. Well someone tells you, hey i’ll give you $75 cash for your coupon. Do you take the offer because hey, its $75 cash that you can do anything with, or do you hope that a miracle happens and you can buy the object. The only thing is that you have to take the offer right then, if you wait any longer its gonna decrease.

    Personally, i think you make the trade, partly because i think it was more like 85/90 for the 100 dollars. And lets face it, the Jays arent making the playoffs next year either, and you either get 4 or 5 prospects who atleast have some upside, where as you get 2 draft picks who maybe you will get lucky with and one will be a superstar in return. Hey its a gamble either way, but you have to take the more sure bet i think.

  28. Bill B. said...

    As Halladay gets closer and closer to free agency, his value will progressively drop. He was never more valuable as a trading chip to the Jays than he was in July this season.

    Sure, you can keep a player and be perfectly happy with him; that’s no problem if that’s the mindset you take. However, as a GM, when you realize that the 2009 season is a wash and 2010 likely is as well, and you have a pitcher with a season and a half and over $20 million left on his contract. It’s a good idea to trade that pitcher, unless he is a significant box office draw (and a cursory look at the Jays’ attendance figures doesn’t indicate this is the case).

    The Jays will not get as much for Halladay in the off-season or around the July 2010 trading deadline as they could have gotten a week ago. Sure, as time goes on, Halladay gets less expensive which means more teams can afford to pay him (and more competition = more profit) but that is not the only way to measure value. Halladay will also be cheaper to the Jays and they will be more inclined to keep him and the two prospects from his Type A status than trade him for an offer they’re not particularly warm to.

    Sorry for rambling, but it was a crucial misstep for the Jays to not trade Halladay. Unless, of course, they legitimately believe they can win the AL East or Wild Card in ‘09 or ‘10.

  29. Torgen said...

    I think the better analogy is having a $1000 car that someone will give you $800 for now, $600 for in 6 months, $400 for in 1 year, and $100 for in a year and a half, but if you sell the car you have to quit your job because you need the car to get there.

  30. Justin said...

    I live just outside Toronto so I’m close to all the local media stuff. J.P has got to go,almost eight years for him and not even a sniff of playoffs. Love Halladay to death but he’s walking after next season there is no building around him. If the Yanks or Bosox offer is good,take it and run. All of Roys success has been in the A.L and he has admitted he does not like hitting. Not to mention he’s a work horse so the N.L would be his secondary choice. There is a good chance Roy signs with one of the above mentioned teams anyway as the only two teams in the past 13 yrs. to make the playoffs has been the Rays. Halladay wants to win and has taken a hometown discount before on his last contract.He deserves a legit. shot at a title as much as anyone.Lastly Do we really want J.P in charge of making this deal anyway? not me. either way best time to deal in my opinion is the winter meetings or spring training don’t let it go into the season to long or you’ll be at the other teams mercy cause they know he’ll be leaving at season end.

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