Editor’s Note: We’re welcoming another new author today. Bernie has his own blog, but will hopefully be becoming a regular here at The Sports Geeks. If you like his work, be sure to follow him on Twitter.
This week Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi announced that he will listen to deals for the 2003 Cy Young Award winner. Which, if you are a player on the Blue Jays right now, is a bit of a slap in the face. After leading the AL East in the month of April, the Blue Jays have gone 27-35 since, and are now in 4th place.
The team is only 1 game under .500 and has been hit by a rash of injuries to their pitching staff. Ricky Romero, a young, promising lefty went on the DL in April and missed just over month. Jesse Litsch is out until 2010, Shaun Marcum is hoping to be back in August, Dustin McGowan is likely done for the year, and Scott Richmond has just been placed on the DL and cannot throw until July 11th at the earliest. Closer B.J. Ryan went on the DL and subsequently has been released, and replacement closer Scott Downs just returned from the DL with a broken toe and to go along with all the injuries to their rotation and bullpen, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios have underperformed at the plate.
However, there are some bright spots to their season. Marco Scutaro has turned himself into a solid leadoff man. Aaron Hill is having a Comeback Player of the Year type of season at second base, and Adam Lind has developed into the type of player that they thought he would. Scott Rolen, currently playing with a 25 game hit streak, has returned to the hitter he was before. Not as much power anymore, but he is as consistent as ever; driving in runs and getting on base. Scott Downs stepped in as closer in and pitched well enough to keep the job when B.J. Ryan came off the DL.
Amidst all the injuries, has been the consistent Roy Halladay who also went on the DL with a strained right groin, but before and since then has been the best pitcher in the AL. He most likely will win his second Cy Young Award this year, unless he is traded to the NL. I personally don’t think Tim Wakefield has the staying power, and Zach Greinke hasn’t been pitching all that well of late. Josh Beckett is most likely the only person who can contend with Halladay at this point of the season.
Halladay has never pitched in the playoffs and the teams he has been on have finished no higher than 3rd in the AL East; once. He does have a lot of miles on his pitching arm, with his 43 career complete games and a couple seasons close to or over 250 innings pitched. But what team would not want this guy? He would be a stud in the playoffs and any team that gets him will automatically slot him in to pitch the first game of the ALDS or NLDS. Even as a rabid Yankee fan, I would start him over CC Sabathia.
He also has been a class act in the organization, having been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award by his team for his work with underpriviledged children. He has pitched for the Blue Jays for so long and has not received enough credit from them or the league for all that he has done. It is time the Jays pay him back by getting him to a playoff contending team, so he can finally have a taste of the playoffs.
The only problem is, is the Jays will be asking for a lot in return for “Doc” Halladay, as they should be. He is arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball. He would go to any team and instantly become their ace. Are there any teams out there with enough prospects and players already in the majors to make deal with the Blue Jays? Probably, but what team is going to fleece their team in the middle of the season for 1 guy? I cannot see anyone do it. I can see a Johan Santana situation happening where Halladay is traded in the offseason and then gets a long term extension. Potentially making him the highest paid pitcher in major league history.
Halladay deserves a shot at the playoffs. The only way that will happen is if the Jays do the right thing and trade him, either this season or in the offseason.