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The Yankees may give Halladay a miss

Dec 1, 2009, 9:00 AM EDT

The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner thinks that the Yankees may pass up the chance to trade for Roy Halladay:

Don’t expect the Yankees to make their Halladay strategy public – why
not keep other teams guessing? – but the early prediction here is that
they will not get him. History is a guide, and though Joba Chamberlain
and Phil Hughes were not always consistent last season, they showed
progress toward becoming the aces the Yankees envision. And for a team
that wants to get younger, it would seem foolish to trade a future ace
and the few dynamic position players the Yankees have in their farm
system.

I see where Kepner is coming from: given the way they passed on Johan Santana and waited for CC Sabathia to become a free agent as opposed to trading for him, it would appear that the Yankees are no longer in sign-everything-that-moves mode. They make considered judgments and all of that. In Kepner’s words, the Yankees are not desperate and won’t act is if they are.

But Halladay is a different beast than Sabathia and Santana, right? The Yankees passed on Santana for the simple reason that they knew Sabathia would come available the next year. At the same time, they were able to wait on Sabathia because they knew they were well-positioned to sign him when he hit the market.

Contrast that with the Halladay situation: there isn’t another arm like Halladay’s that will come available next season. Unlike Sabathia, Halladay and the Blue Jays are entertaining a window in which to sign an extension prior to any trade being completed.  Upshot: If they Yankees don’t act to get Halladay now, they will not get him.

I like the idea of giving Chamberlain and Hughes a chance, and Kepner mentions that the Yankees probably need to think about getting younger. But their youth cuts both ways: younger is better, but doesn’t it also make sense to try and squeeze a couple more championships out of the Jeter-Rodriguez-Posada-Teixeira-Sabathia core?  With Halladay in the fold, they’d be favorites for that for the next 4-5 years. With Chamberlain and Hughes, there are no guarantees.

  1. John_Michael - Dec 1, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    As a Yankees fan, I’d rather watch Joba and Hughes develop. I think building is more fun to watch than buying…ironic, I know.
    However, the other side of strategy is prevention. If the Yanks pass on Halladay, the Bosox are probably the team that ends up getting him. That’s bad. If Boston does end up trading for Halladay, I want the Yankees in the negotiations as long as possible to drive up the price.

  2. Jamie - Dec 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    So you didn’t have any fun last season?

  3. Bret - Dec 1, 2009 at 9:34 AM

    The issue isn’t going to be Joba or Hughes, it is going to be a willingness to part with Montero. If the Yankees are willing to give him up, I think the deal gets done. However, I think signing a 33 year old to a 5 year 100 million dollar extension (and giving up their best hitting prospect and Joba or Hughes) is foolish.

  4. YankeesfanLen - Dec 1, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    Seems like Cashman has been hiding behind this “payroll budget from management” thing for weeks. It’s funny because I don’t think it exists. The difficulty, as always, is with he trades and at least some need to get younger.
    Send Joba and nothing else of consequence for Halladay or do nothing. Offense is still all-important, the pitching staff is enough to get by as-is.

  5. Stultus Magnus - Dec 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    Prospects have proven nothing. Montero was in AA, everybody is saying he’ll be great but the bottom line is you never know what will happen with him. His value is insanely high right now and for all we know he could fizzle out in AAA.
    And in my opinion, Joba took a big step backwards last season, not only was his stuff not as good as we’ve seen it, but he was stubborn on the mound and unable to work smoothly with whomever was behind the plate.
    Personally, I do not think the Yanks need Halladay, there are a lot of cheaper options out there that could work out for the Yanks like Sheets, Ducsherer, or Harden. Any one of those guys could be an impact player if they don’t get injured. The Yanks could re-sign Wang and get him back on track (which I think they should do). If Hughes and Joba start out in the rotation and Pettitte signs, then they are set for a 5-man rotation. If problems arise, they have pitching depth or they have legitimate prospects to make a deal around the deadline.
    Don’t need Halladay. If the Sox get him, then I say let the games begin.

  6. hop - Dec 1, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    Did you even bother to count how many “home grown” players that were on the Yankees roster this season? Obviously you didnt Jamie, better stick to needle point instead of baseball.

  7. Stultus Magnus - Dec 1, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Maybe I should summarize, I wouldn’t be upset if Montero and Joba were traded, but I don’t think the Yanks need Halladay to be good next season.
    Hopefully, they’ll find cheaper options if they need another pitcher.

  8. John_Michael - Dec 1, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    I moreso enjoy watching a long term plan become successful than an ad hoc set of actions that result in the same endpoint. Passing on Santana to get CC without giving up Hughes et al a year later is good. Giving up on 3-4 years of cost controlled strategic development with Joba/Hughes just before they reach potential for this off-season’s brightest flame is not.

  9. Scott - Dec 1, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    “there isn’t another arm like Halladay’s that will come available next season.”
    You mean besides Halladay himself?

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 1, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    His people and the Jays are going to grant would-be trading partners a signing window. If someone trades for him, there’s a good chance that a contract extension will go along with it.

  11. Eric Cioe - Dec 1, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    Josh Beckett goes on the market next year. Not quite at Halladay’s level, but CC wasn’t at Santana’s level when that trade happened, either.

  12. Scott - Dec 1, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    True, but my point is that the Yankees may deem that to be a deal-breaker for other teams.. If the Yankees think no one else will pay what is required to get him from Toronto (especially in the preseason with no deadline pressure), they can still take an “I bet no one will trade for him, we’ll sign him next year if Hughes or Joba fails” strategy.
    So my point is, the Yankees can employ the same strategy they used with Johan/CC if they believe no one else will pay.

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