Winter Meetings: Day 3

Ruben Amaro Jr. met with reporters in the team’s hotel suite in Indianapolis for the final time — oh, I’ll be so sad to leave — and he touched on a few topics:

  • Baseball insiders at the Winter Meetings think the Phillies are in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. Amaro tried to quiet that talk, although it’s unclear if he is trying to get people off the Phillies’ trail. He wouldn’t discuss Halladay by name, but asked if they would pursue a big-time starting pitcher who is available via trade (i.e. Halladay) he spoke in generalities. “Is there any way possible? I guess there is,” Amaro said. “Is there a likelihood of us getting involved in something that’s that big? Probably not.” Why not? “Probably more than one or two reasons,” he said. “I’m not going to get into the reasons, but probably more than one or two.” But while he said there is not a likelihood of the Phillies getting involved, is there a likelihood of exploring the opportunity? “I’m not going to get into that,” he said.
  • Yes, the Phillies continue to look for bullpen help. “We hope we’re making some headway,” Amaro said. Does he mean with Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre or other free agents? “Likely to be outside guys,” he said. I’m not sure how much of that is posturing or not, but indications are the Phillies have made little progress this week with Park and Eyre. “Right now they are,” said Amaro, asked if Park and Eyre remain in play. “There’s a possibility we’ll move past them at some point if something doesn’t get done, yeah.”
  • Amaro didn’t rule out the possibility of acquiring a relief pitcher via trade. “We’re keeping a couple of balls in the air,” he said.
  • He said it’s unlikely they sign a relief pitcher before the Winter Meetings conclude tomorrow.
  • Amaro wouldn’t say the Phillies have signed Ross Gload, apparently because he hasn’t passed a physical, but he talked about why they would like him … if they were to sign him. “He’s got some versatility because he can play the corner outfield positions and first base,” he said. “He’s a very good first baseman. He’s a very good left-handed bat. We got to see that first hand. He whacked us around pretty good. Our guys have liked this guy for a while.”
  • Amaro reiterated that while they are interested in a talent like Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, they are not expected to pursue him. Chapman is throwing next week in Houston, and Amaro said they could send somebody there, but more for informational purposes.

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8 Comments

burt, the Jays are going to have to be willing to take a diminished package for him at this point, at least from the Phillies. I think the Sox have both the players and the money to get him. JMO.

Todd: Are you hearing any rumors as to where Pedro Feliz might wind up? I have a hunch it will be Baltimore.

I’m a Jays fan, and this is my first post here. I’d like to comment on Halladay. No doubt, if you had Doc in your rotation, you would likely have won the world series. Doc dominates the Yanks — this is why they are so fearful of the Sox getting hold of him. If you Philly fans are happy appearing in the world series, then forget about Doc, keep your prospects, and try like crazy to extend Lee. If you want to win, you need Doc and Lee. If the Yankees sign Doc, you are looking at the best rotation in baseball by far — CC/Roy/AJ. If the Sox get Roy, you are still looking at the best rotation in baseball Roy/Beckett/Lester. The Phillies cannot beat either of these rotations in a seven-game series, and neither can anyone else. However, with Doc and Lee, you can beat either team with their existing rotations. It all comes down to how bad management wants to win.

I agree with the idea of a diminished package, but that package must include Drabek and one other tier-1 prospect. Remember how dominant Lee was once he switched leagues? Halladay is the best pitcher in the American league, witnessed by his domination of the Yankees and Red Sox. Halladay will win 20+ games (assuming no injuries). With Lee and Halladay at the front of your rotation, you have the guns needed to beat the best the American league has to offer. Besides, you would have all of Canada pulling for the Phillies, too!

burt, I think you’re overestimating the potential returns for Halladay. Last year before the trade deadline, the Jays could legitimately demand Drabek + Brown OR Taylor. That would be a steep price to pay, but it would have been fair. Now that it’s down to 1 year of Halladay, that’s not realistic, and none of the other teams in the Halladay market will offer that, either. I would expect the Jays to get 1 tier-1 prospect, a MLB-ready middle-of-the-rotation type of guy, and an additional prospect or two with potential, but not grade-A stuff.

From the Phils, that will mean Brown OR Taylor + Happ + somebody like Gose.

From the Yanks, that would mean Montero + Chamberlain OR Hughes + somebody else (would have probably been a guy like Austin Jackson, but I’m not so sure now).

I’m less confident in my knowledge of the Boston system. My best guess from Boston is Bucholtz OR Bard + Kelly (though I’ve read that Boston is keeping Kelly off the table) + somebody else. The LAA offer seems much less clearly defined to me, but they’re saying that it might revolve around Aybar.

That being said, I don’t think that Boston or the Yankees are seriously in this thing. Boston already has a fantastic rotation, and they need to put their money into improving their bats. Their real focus will be on retaining Bay. The Yanks could certainly fit Halladay into their rotation, but their farm system is just about totally gutted. I can’t imagine that with such an old team, they’d be all that excited about giving away Montero, the last of their decent prospects. I know that they have a habit of mortgaging their future, but this would be extreme, even for them. My feeling is that the Yanks and Sox are in it to keep the market high until it’s clear that the other team won’t be involved.

I’m suspicious about the Phils’ involvement, too, but if rumors of them danging Blanton are to be believed, it’s entirely possible. Still, the thought of losing 2 starting pitchers–Blanton and Happ–to pick up Halladay is unnerving.

When push comes to shove, I think the Halladay situation is going to persist beyond the New Year. The Jays will be forced to either lower their demands to something that the Phils and Angels (or Boston and the Yanks, if my read on their approach is wrong) can palate, or they’ll suck it up, keep him around for a year, and take the draft picks. If they choose the latter path, they’re foolish. There’s no way that 2 draft picks will cover what they could get for Halladay on the trade market.

I know, it sucks. I remember how much it gutted me to see us trade Schilling for scraps. I’m sure the Twinkies don’t look back on trading Santana with fondness. And I don’t think that the Indians are going to love their return on Lee in 5 years. But it’s just a fact of life that ace pitchers, especially those that are in or nearing their 30s, with minimal time left on their contracts don’t bring in the big returns that their fans would like to see.

Good analysis, phillypretzel. I think that you are correct on this one. Right now, I imagine that Alex Anthopolus (Jays’ GM) has been on a fact-finding mission to see who will offer what. Now it is a matter of sizing up the Jays’ needs and selecting the best package. However, keep in mind that the Jays do have a number of top pitching prospects of there own. I think it is unlikely, but possible, that any deal could be expanded beyond Halladay. Thus, if the right pieces were included, one could see the Jays acquiring the AAA prospects from the Phillies (or someone else) that they covet.

With Wolf and Harden getting 7 million, the secondary pitching market is getting a little pricey. May as well go over budget for a guy like Halladay, but an extension would be essential to make it worthwhile for the Phillies. Supposedly, Halladay won’t waive the no-trade without an extension. If that scuttles any deal, so be it.

Pete Happy to the Astros. One year, 4.5 million. Good luck in Ed Wade-land, Pedro.

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