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Red Sox should forgo Halladay for Holliday

Nov 25, 2009, 4:28 PM EDT

halladay throwing.jpgAfter all, it’s only money.
The addition of Roy Halladay to Boston’s already fine rotation would certainly provide a boost. Halladay is clearly one of the top five pitchers in baseball, and he’s about as much of a Yankee killer as anyone in the league, having gone 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA and seven complete games in 35 starts and two relief appearances against the Bombers.
But the price tag is simply too big. The Jays will demand at least two top youngsters as part of a deal. In Boston’s case, that will mean Clay Buchholz and perhaps Casey Kelly, their No. 1 prospect. It might be worth it if Halladay were underpaid, but the 32-year-old is just one year away from free agency, and he’s set to earn $15.7 million next season. He’ll almost surely demand a higher salary in 2011 and beyond as part of a contract extension.
Buchholz, on the other hand, will make less than $500,000 next season and is under control for five more years. He went 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 16 starts last season and impressed in his lone playoff start against the Angels. He has his quirks, for sure, but he also possesses a 92-95 mph fastball and an excellent changeup as part of a four-pitch arsenal. He’s poised to win 15 games for the Red Sox in 2010. Halladay might well win 20, but he’d eat up a significant chunk of the payroll in the process and cost Boston one or two more top youngsters.
That’s why it makes tons of sense to go after Matt Holliday instead. The only cost will be money. In fact, Boston would even pick up a draft pick in the process, since they’d lose a first-rounder for signing Holliday but gain two picks as a result of Jason Bay’s departure. Holiday is due about $20 million per year, which is probably close to what Halladay will want as part of an extension.
The Red Sox can afford that price tag and stay the course with a rotation that will include Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Buchholz and Tim Wakefield. The time for reevaluation will be in a year, when Halladay, Beckett, Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb are all set to become free agents.

  1. JBerardi - Nov 25, 2009 at 6:40 PM

    I’m not sure where this notion that the Red Sox definitely have to give up Buchholz AND Kelly to get Halladay is coming from. It only took one blue-chip prospect to get Santana. Ditto Sabathia. Kelly + one of Reddick/Kalish and maybe a few other minor pieces is a more logical starting point, IMHO.

  2. lude - Nov 25, 2009 at 11:40 PM

    no way that works.
    1. if the jays do nothing, they get two 1st round picks. the package has to be clearly better than that, or there’s no reason to trade him.
    2. there are going to be multiple suitors, so if you want him, you have to outbid the others.
    3. the jays have said they would allow a window to negotiate an extension with Halladay, so you are trading for the right to own him for three to five years depending on the extension.
    4. the risk in doing nothing is that the Yankees could step in, and you don’t want him in NY for the next several years. the yankees don’t really have the pieces to match a reasonable offer from the Red Sox (or perhaps others), but if their offer is best, they’ll be able to tie him up for years. if no team makes an offer the jays like, he becomes a free agent, and he again probably ends up in NY, because no one’s going to outspend them.
    5. if Boston wants to compete with the Yankees over the next three or four years, they need to seriously consider making the best offer.

  3. James Maynard - Nov 26, 2009 at 10:03 AM

    I respectfully disagree. Pitching wins championships, and as of right now, I’m not happy with the rotation as set after Beckett and Lester. We don’t know if Dice-K is feeling better and is back up to snuff (although his return looked good, the sample size was small). Plus, Wakefield has not finished the season for the last two years, and at his age is probably better suited to middle relief (plus, can you imagine batters having to go from Lester heat to Wake’s knuckler in the same game?). Buchholz’s .421 is OK for a #5 in the AL east, but would I trade him for Halladay? Darn right I would. Then, I’d resign Bay (who is proven in the AL East) for $5M less than Holliday would get and you have a nice chunck of change saved for the Doc acquisition.
    All of this is my humble opinion, of course. :O)
    JM

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