Posted by Steve
I don’t feel like saying much about yesterday’s game, except that if Seth McClung is still on the roster in a month I’ll be convinced that the Brewers aren’t interested in contending this year. Instead, let’s go for something more exciting.
The trade deadline is suddenly just a couple weeks away, and talks of where Mega-Ace Roy Halladay might end up is the hot issue in baseball. The Brewers are one of a handful of teams who have confirmed interest in Halladay.
This is interesting, because it conflicts with the reports a couple weeks ago that Doug Melvin considers Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel untouchable. If that’s the case, the Brewers don’t have a shot at Halladay–any trade talks for Halladay will start with at least one of them.
This must mean that the Brewers are at least entertaining the idea of moving one or even both of their top two prospects. Melvin changed his tune just a bit the other day, instead saying that they are “as close to untouchable as you can get.” That implies that there could be exceptions to that rule. That’s a good thing, because Halladay definitely qualifies as an exception.
When it was first revealed a few weeks ago that the Blue Jays would entertain offers for Halladay, I didn’t expect the Brewers to be involved. The asking price is unquestionably sky high, and I assumed the Brewers wouldn’t be willing to meet it.
Naturally, the topic of Halladay came up a lot at work, and the more I talked about it, the more I started to come around to the idea of meeting that price.
There are definitely good reasons to keep their top guys. Gamel should be the full time third baseman by next season, and despite his unimpressive numbers so far, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from him both offensively and defensively. Escobar would likely be the shortstop by 2011 at the latest, and possibly by next season if the team decides to move J.J. Hardy before then. That’s two players who profile as above average starters who’d be under team control for six years each. Obviously, that’s a very valuable asset.
There are also very good reasons for giving up a lot for Halladay, though. We saw firsthand how much acquiring an ace can tip the scales in a playoff race. Halladay is actually a better pitcher than CC Sabathia (not that anyone should be expected to match what CC did in Milwaukee last year, but Halladay is the better pitcher overall). The key here, though, is that Halladay is not a rental pitcher. He’s under contract for next season as well. Acquiring Halladay would be as much about 2010 as it would be about this year. That extra year of service adds a ton of value, and it’s why the Jays can (and should) expect a lot more than what the Brewers gave up for Sabathia last season.
The key is Alcides Escobar. I see no way of acquiring Halladay without trading Escobar. The Blue Jays are looking for a long-term solution at short, and from what I’ve read, they love Escobar. I personally am not crazy about giving up both Gamel and Escobar for Halladay, but I’m not convinced the Brewers would need to. With my usual disclaimer that I generally don’t make a lot of trade proposals, here’s what I’ve come up with for Halladay.
Brewers receive Roy Halladay
Blue Jays receive SS Alcides Escobar, 2B Brett Lawrie, SP Wily Peralta
That’s pretty much as high as I’d be willing to go. That’s the number 1 (Escobar), 3 (Lawrie) and probably 10 or so (Peralta) prospects in the Brewers’ system. Escobar’s praises are well known, and Lawrie was the team’s first round pick just last year, so obviously that’s a big package in itself. Peralta is a 20 year old pitcher who’s throwing very well this year, though he’s only in A ball.
That may not be completely ideal for Toronto, as they reportedly want more pitching, but I don’t believe many teams could top that offer. One may be the Phillies, who I see as the favorite to get Halladay if he is even traded this year. Although Escobar is a higher rated prospect than anyone in their system, they have higher level pitching than the Brewers. An offer of SPs Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek along with OF Dominic Brown would probably top my offer, as both Carrasco and Drabek are pretty close to the majors. I also think the Phillies are more willing to part with their top prospects than the Brewers since they’re more of a playoff team at this point.
I’ll also throw out another off the wall idea as long as we’re shooting for the moon. If the Blue Jays didn’t take that offer, I’d take that same offer to Arizona for Dan Haren. I see no reason for Arizona to be shopping Haren, as he’s under control long-term and I don’t think the Diamondbacks think they’ll be bad team for the next few years. Yet, Ken Rosenthal reported a few weeks ago that Arizona might be willing to trade Haren if they received an “overwhelming” offer. Is this offer overwhelming? I guess I’m not sure. It’s certainly more than what they sent to the A’s to acquire him a couple years ago, but with as good as he’s been, it might not be.
Giving up Escobar+ for an ace like Halladay or Haren would be mortgaging the future quite a bit, but it greatly increases the odds of a championship this season and next. The Brewers would instantly become the favorites in the NL Central this year, and they’d once again be able to go for broke next season with the base of Braun, Fielder, Hardy, and Gallardo still intact.