I've got to feel a bit bad for Roy Halladay.
The guy likes playing in Toronto. This is the team that raised him from a pup, and he's done nothing but perform here. He lives out of the spotlight that a place like Boston, New York, or even Philadelphia would shine on him, and he's stated a few times that he likes that. He's got a solid contract, a no-trade clause, and a fan base that loves him. Hell, if it wasn't for Halladay, there'd probably be 10,000 less fans in the stadium.
The only gripe he can have? The team hasn't won anything in the 11 seasons he's been here. But not for lack of trying.
Yah. 11. Okay, so 1998 only had one game, the last of the season, where he pitched a no-hitter until the last out of the 9th inning.
And J.P. Ricciardi pulls yet another... interesting... move when talking to the media. He states the obvious in a way that misleads. He says that of course he'd listen to any trade proposals for Doc. No shit. He's a GM. He did, at least, stipulate it would have to blow him out of the water.
And this is what everyone's missing. A couple minor league prospects for the proven best damned pitcher in baseball for the last 7 seasons, who still has years ahead of him? A couple nobodies who could never see the majors for the team's only real cash cow? This is the team leader. This is the guy who drags the pitching staff up by showing them how to be a pro and a machine. This is a guy who comes out every 5 days and does his job. Consistently. Amazingly.
And you think your top pitching PROSPECT is going to do it? HA!
Ricciardi is stringing the whole league along. He knows that barring a 15-20 game winning streak, the Jays aren't making the playoffs this year. He knows that Halladay is THE guy in the league that can take any top-tier team and almost guarantee them a Series appearance. And he knows the deadline is 10 days away.
Halladay isn't going anywhere unless the trade results in the "winning" team having a bunch of fans bitching about the trade. 4-5 TOP prospects at least, probably at least 1 or 2 already in the majors. Ricciardi isn't looking to rebuild the team, he's looking to make sure that if we have to go through TWELVE starting pitchers halfway through the season again, that there's some depth on the team to cover their asses.
You think we need pitching? We have a glut of young talent, and they're all getting a taste of the big leagues this year.
No... what JP is doing is testing the waters. Maybe he gets the blockbuster offer that he can't say no to. Maybe Halladay waives his no movement clause to help the team. But I doubt it. I expect that the day after the season ends, Roy gets a call from the GM and President, and contract negotiations start. They'll know what he's worth to the rest of the league from the offers made. They'll hand him the keys to the team - "What do you want us to do Roy? Who do you want us to get? How much do you want?"
It also doesn't hurt the fan base. Suddenly they start showing up again for Roy's games to make sure he knows they appreciate him. They want him to stay, but are saying goodbye... every start. And the team is finally getting behind him, because they want Roy to stay. They want to win for him. Maybe this was JP's plan all along to kick them in the ass after a dismal June.
But all this posturing has dumped a load of pressure on Roy's shoulders. Every game has announcers saying "this could be Halladay's last game as a Blue Jay." and following up with the post-game interview with suggestions of never seeing him again. What's the guy do? He comes out and pitches complete games and does his job.
I still maintain he's not going anywhere. This is showmanship from the GM. This is a precursor to the off-season and next year if Roy doesn't want to sign with the Jays again. This is for the phone calls in May that start with, "Hey, it's JP. So you offered us these 3 guys last July..."
Why? Because JP and the rest of the front office still think they have a contender. And they do. Just not this season. There's plenty of hope that Marcum, McGowan, and Litsch all come back and show the same stuff they had before. That Romero keeps up the pace. That Janssen stays healthy for more than a month and lives up to his potential. That Tallett keeps pitching 6 strong. That they'll have the best starting rotation in the league again, and that Halladay will lead the charge. But they know that if he isn't willing, that if he thinks he'll win elsewhere, that they can live without him when the rest have come back and proven themselves hale and hearty.
And if I'm Roy Halladay? I sit there with my wife and kids and think about a few things. I think that nobody in the Toronto media has ever dug into my personal life like they will in the bigger baseball markets. I think that on a team that can't scrape together 30,000 fans regularly, I'm known by the whole city of 3 million. I think that none of these teams that are so doggedly trying to get me, who send their scouts and GMs to my games, who talk to their newspapers and magazines about how great I am... I think that none of them could spell my name right for the last 11 years, and NOW they notice me. I think - screw 'em. This is being done on my terms, not theirs.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I've got to feel a bit bad for Roy Halladay.