Well, here it is, the Blue Jays asking price for Roy Halladay: Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi has spoken to the Phillies within the past 24 hours and negotiations are underway in earnest, baseball sources tell the Inquirer. They want Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ and Dominic Brown.
That's what they've asked for. It remains to be seen how the Phils will respond to that. Keep in mind that in a negotiating process, offers evolve; this would not necessarily be the deal, if one is done. The Phils could counter with something entirely different.
When Charlie Manuel said yesterday “I prefer the horse,” the horse had a name: Halladay. As the Phillies and Blue Jays negotiate, figuring out who to include or not in a potential trade, there is a buzz around the clubhouse. Phillies players have pulled me aside, asking, “Hey, off the record, are we going to get Doc? What will we have to give up?
Manuel was asked today if he’d revised the thoughts he expressed about two weeks ago re: giving up Drabek. Here’s what he said a few hours ago: "I like Drabek and the basic reason I say that is, when I look at him, the style of pitcher that he is, I look at his upside. I look at his tools. I look at the kind of pitcher he is - I call him a drop and drive pitcher - and I think he's on the order of Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver or Colon, guys like that with a real strong core, strong legs, get a big push off the rubber to produce power. It's a style that usually makes for a long career. That's what I see."
Two weeks ago, he said clearly: “For me, it would be tough to trade Drabek.” Today, compliments about the kid, no concrete plea to keep him around.
So which is it, Charlie--do you want the horse or the pony? You probably can’t have both. And if you can, you sure can’t have J.A. Happ anymore.
A conversation I had with Cole Hamels a few hours ago made me think about another way that Halladay could help this team. Hamels has struggled all season with the concept of being an ace, sometimes wanting to play that role so badly that it affected his performance.
Today he talked about how having Brett Myers pitching well helped him down the stretch last year: “The past couple years, Brett was here, and we had that awesome camaraderie, competition to make each other better,” he said. “He's gone. Happ and Blanton have stepped up, and that's good. That makes it a little easier on me.”
In other words, now that Blanton and Happ are pitching well, Hamels has been able to let go of his need to be a stopper, which has enabled him to just pitch. The impact of this was clear last night when Hamels allowed three runs in the fourth inning. When the Phils were on a losing streak in Toronto and Atlanta recently, Hamels wanted so badly to be an ace that, when things went badly, he got all upset and pitched even worse. Last night, he was able to regroup, stay calm and post another three scoreless innings, partially because he knew that the team did not absolutely NEED to win the game he started.
Can you imagine what it would do for him to have Halladay here? The new guy would not only grab all the attention, and take it off Hamels. And, the man they call Doc is a fully realized pitcher, and could teach young Colbert new things about throwing a white sphere past large men carrying wooden bats.
I leave you with two pieces of advice: 1) Enjoy Happ tonight, on the chance it’s his final start here. You can’t let him hold up a Halladay deal, and I don’t believe the Phillies would, but he is a fun pitcher to watch. He’s confident without being arrogant, aggressive and intelligent. He’s helped to set a tone for the rotation lately that has helped them get on a roll. The past few weeks have been tough on him, enduring all the speculation and questions, and it will all be over one way or another very soon. I'm not saying he's a goner, but I knew the Jays are interested in him.
2) Turn off the computer, turn off the radio, de-tweetify your handheld device. There is a higher demand for information than there is actual information during deadline time, and the whole thing gets very silly. GMs offer strategic half-truths to the media, who rush them online just to feed the beast. Let’s just enjoy the games. Check in occasionally and I’ll let you know when news happens.