Amaro Downplays Halladay Possibility Again

Thumbnail image for halladay 0719.jpgIt would make no sense for Ruben Amaro Jr. to talk publicly about his interest in Roy Halladay.

In fact, it would make more sense to say he has little chance in acquring him.

That is what he said this morning before he left the Winter Meetings. The chances for a big-time move, Ruben?

“I don’t think there’s any likeliness,” he said.

So nothing has changed in the likeliness scale?

“There’s nothing likely. How about that?” he said.

I wrote last night that there is talk at the Winter Meetings that the Phillies are one of the favorites for Halladay, if not the favorite. FOXSports.com reported this morning that the Phillies and Angels are front-runners with the Phillies offering J.A. Happ and Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor. The Phillies also would have to shed some payroll to make room for Halladay’s $15.75 million salary. Joe Blanton could be a casualty there. He made $5.75 million last season, and will receive a raise. But FOXSports.com said the Phillies would have to shed more payroll than that.

That could explain why the Phillies haven’t made much progress on Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre. It sounds like that’s why the Phillies are playing hardball in negotiations. They might need to get them on the cheap to afford Halladay. But why would Park and Eyre agree to that?

If the Phillies would have to give up Happ and Blanton to get Halladay, who would they have to fill in the rotation? Would they go into the season with Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick? Or could they pick up another starter for Blanton? A free agent like John Smoltz maybe?

Fun, fun, fun …

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27 Comments

Honestly if you can pick up Halladay for as cheaply as some of these rumors flying around suggest, and Amaro isn’t worried about payroll, I say you do it without immediate concern for who your 4th or 5th guy would be. A 1-2-3 of Halladay/Lee/Hamels is the class of the league, and you can always plug in 4 or 5 with a lot of freely available guys (Smoltz wouldn’t be a bad choice). I still don’t think the whole Halladay thing will happen, but it shouldn’t be concern for losing Blanton and Happ that holds it up.

Considering how they are playing hardball with Eyre and Park, it probably all comes down to payroll considerations. Halladay wants an extension and that is a long term consideration that they have to figure as well.

World f-ing champs

Why in the world would the cost-conscious Phils trade Happ? He’s shown his ability to PITCH, is cheap, and is still years away from being eligible for arbitration (and free agancy). On the other hand, what is the status of Ben Sheets? Instead of getting an expensive Halladay for one year (he’s a Boras client, right?) by trading Blanton and gutting some top prospects from the farm system, why not sign Sheets to a low-base, incentive-laden contract to fill out the #5 spot in the rotation for 2010. By the time he gets hurt in the 2nd half of the season (again), Drabek should be ready to be called up to fill his spot in the rotation.

One reason you’d trade Happ is because his value could be at an all-time high after an excellent, but lucky rookie season. His BABIP was .270, one of the lowest in the majors among qualified pitchers. That number will undoubtedly regress to the mean next year and beyond.

rabbi, I’m still upset that we didn’t get Rich Harden.

@rabbi

Because Sheets is apparently looking for a big-money deal, around $12M a year.

Happ, at best, will peak at around a #3 starter. Halladay is a solid #1. This is why you consider trading Happ and one of our high-end OF prospects–Brown or Taylor–for Halladay. FYI, Halladay is not a Boras client.

Rabbi, I read that Halliday wants to do a multi-year deal if traded and I don’t think anyone would agree to giving up the prospects Toronto wants for a one year rental, I dont think it would make any sense but I can’t speak for the baseball execs out there. As far as signing Sheets for less, well, Sheets is not Halliday. Sheets pitches in the NL west and in a pitchers park in games that draw minimal attention nationally. The Phils could do a number of things that wouldn’t cost as much as Halliday but I think most would agree that the chances of not only returning to but winning the next Workd Series are greater with Halliday in the rotation.

There goes zach with the “lucky” junk. We’ve been over this. There’s skill and there’s no skill. You either have one or the other. Was Halladay lucky? Cliff Lee? Guys can either pitch or they can’t, and Happ can pitch.

Happ can pitch, but he ain’t Roy Halladay. I wouldn’t let that get in the way of a deal.
We’ll see. Everybody here has known how I feel about Halladay since the summer. It would be awesome, especially if he wasn’t just a one year rental.

I don’t know what sites everyone here reads for Phillies news but if you didn’t read this on CNNSI you should find it interesting.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/tom_verducci/12/10/winter.meetings.phillies/index.html?eref=sihp

Still think signing Halliday is not likely?

Yeah, we’ve been over this and agreed that if you don’t believe there’s luck in baseball you’re a moron. If you hit a smoking line drive right at some one, that’s bad luck. If you barely get a piece of a pitch but hit a dribbler where no one can field it, good luck. There are stats that indicate how lucky a pitcher or batter is and BABIP is one of them. Happ was relatively lucky in ’09 while Rollins was unlucky.

Even if Halladay doesn’t end up in red pinstripes, its nice to see the Phils joining the “Big Boys”…Yankees, Red Sox in the bid for Halladay.

Happ must be thinking….here we go again!?

I agree that luck is invloved in individual plays and games (so I pass the moron check) but a whole season? Weren’t people talking about a probable sophmore jinx for Happ at the beginning of the 2009 season? He just came in 2nd for Rookie of the Year. Wonder what this guy has to do to earn respect from Phillies fans?

Its amazing how fast the Phillies image has changed from perennial door mats in the NL East to what they are now.

zach, BABIP stats are useless, IMO, because of preparation, scouting, defensive abilty and the different ballparks. Defensive alignments will be different depending on scouting and ballparks, and sometimes a smoking line drive right at someone is by design. How much do you consider, say, the difference between Rollins and Jeter when figuring BABIP for the relative pitchers? And the Phillies scout the opposition better than most, which can be to Happ’s advantage in the long term, not just luck.
JMO.

Joe, I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for the link to the SI article. I still think that the Phils have one chance to get Halladay. That’s if he has secretly told Anthropolous (sp?) that he only wants to go to the Phils and that’s why he’s not wearing a Yankee, Redsox, or Angel uniform now. Maybe fellow Mormon Andy Reid (with his new contract extention) could give Roy a call and tell him how great it is to be part of a sports team in Philly.

BABIP is not a new thing, nor is it made-up. Pitchers have and do regress from year to year because of it. Cole Hamels last year is one chapter in the story of BABIP. Some front offices are aware of it and consider it and as a consequence make less bad choices about pitcher contracts. Some do not and get burned (look at the Tigers and Washburn). I’m not going to discuss it because it’s a simple fact. Happ is a good guy to have but he’s a #4. Which is great, and I’d love to keep him, but when you have the opportunity to get Roy Halladay you don’t think twice.

phan: I don’t understand your argument. Are you saying that Happ’s BABIP against is low because of Rollins? Or because of defensive positioning or scouting? Then you would expect all of the Phillies pitchers to have low BABIPs. Instead Hamels’s was near the top of the league at .321 (quite unlucky), Blanton’s was .297 (about average) and Moyer’s was .290 (a little lucky but pretty close to average).

joebridge: yes, over a whole season. The difference between Happ’s BABIP and the league average is only around 14 hits. So Happ was only about 14 hits luckier than the average ML pitcher this year, not a huge difference. But those hits could have had a huge impact on his ERA, innings pitched etc. if they fell or squeaked through instead of being hit right at someone. And don’t get me wrong, I respect the hell out of Happ. He gave us a great year, an outstanding year for a young pitcher. I think he could be a solid #3 pitcher. I’m just arguing that he’s not as good as his numbers from this year and his trade value may be higher right now then it will be next offseason.

There’s tons of luck in sports, but people hate to admit it because it’s human nature to try to see causes for everything. In baseball, most of the luck comes from the fact that hitting a baseball coming at you at 90+ miles an hour is ridiculously hard. Hitting the ball AND aiming for a specific place is even harder. Intentionally hitting the ball where fielders aren’t is damn near impossible. That’s why BABIP is a valuable stat, it measures how often hit balls find places where the fielders aren’t.

Thanks ericht1 for the kind words. I think he secretly really does want to play for the Phillies, its just too good of a fit for him, the Blue Jays and the Phils. Phils have a better chance of getting to the WS next year than the Angels. The Angels just lost Figgins and might lose Lackey now too. The best chance of them returning will be if they can keep Lackey and sign Halliday too for a nice 1-2 punch. But the Phils have a better 1-2-3 punch with Halliday, Lee and Hamels.

phan52 makes a good point of the differences to be taken into consideration with the BABIP but its an interesting way to guage a pitchers performance. Id like to see Lee’s, Hamels’ Happ’s and Halliday’s BABIP along with Lincecums and Sabathia’s to get an idea of how accurate it is.

I also really like Happ but if I had a chance to throw him in to get Halliday, I would’t think twice about it.

If you watched the games, it was quite evident that Hamels’ BABIP was not bad luck. He was hit pretty hard all year. The hits against him weren’t lucky bleeders, but bombs and line drives to the gaps. His slugging percentage in the middle innings was atrocious when hitters got theire second looks at him. He just pitched very poorly and predictably and hitters were guessing right on him all year.
Happ disguises his pitches and hides the ball very well, which is a good gauge of long term success. Look at Lee and Lincecum. Now, they have electric stuff, which Happ doesn’t have, but the hitters don’t get a good look at the ball until it completely leaves their hands, which Happ does very well. But I’m not arguing against him being in a package for Halladay. I just think he’s better than a #4.

If I’m Ruben Amaro, I’m NOT trading for Haliday UNLESS I can do so WITHOUT giving up Drabeck, Brown or Taylor. The phils got to the World Series and won it in 2008 without Roy Halliday, so why would anyone think they cannot do it again?
Yes, the Phillies need some depth at starting pitching BUT Drabeck is on the way THIS year ( and don’t rule him OUT of making this team in Spring training, despite what Ruben says). I think they need to go after relief help depth and over spend for that. Players like Taylor and Brown will be needed, perhaps as soon as later THIS year. Remember that Werth will be a free agent after 2010. Taylor is his replacement. Victorino’s contract will be up shortly after that too. You got to think beyond 2010 unless you want the Phils to go back to the days of 85 to 88 game winning seasons. Personally, I’m not going there just to SLIGHTLY increase the chances of a 3rd WS appearance. You can likely get Haliday as a free agent after 2010 anyway.

I think Happ + Taylor OR Brown as the foundation of a trade for Halladay is a steal IF they sign Halladay to an extension.

dorfman93, what relief pitching is out there to overspend and and not overspend on? They’re talking to Eyre and Park and Smoltz already. Sounds like a good plan to me considering whats on the market. Also, Halliday wants a long term deal with wherever he’s traded so it looks like he won’t hit the free agent market next year. It looks like its get him now, this off season or don’t get him.

It wouldn’t make any sense to break the bank on Halladay only to leave the pen sooooo depleted that the Phils lose all benefits of having 2-3 aces in their starting rotation.

Wow, the real time is about half an hour behind the post time. Anyone else having this problem?

I’m not sure how I feel about BABIP because I don’t know how SABERmetricians distinguish between pitches that are intended to be hard hit groundballs (for doubleplays) and bad pitches that were luckilt hit at someone for a double play. Are all foulballs hit far enough to be HRs lucky for the pithcer and unlucky for the hitter? Some pitchers know that the ball will be pulled foul when they hit their spot inside. If a fastball hitter hits a fastball for a hit, that’s skill? But if he hits an offspeed pitch for a hit, it’s lucky? Ichiro purposely slaps the ball to open holes all over the field. Is that considered luck because the hit was a blooper? If so, that’s ridiculous!

eric: I don’t have time to make another long post, but suffice to say, that you’re right in part b/c some hitters (particularly fast ones, like Ichiro) are able to maintain a high BABIP over their careers. The stat is much more useful for pitchers, because, over many years, they almost all regress to the mean.

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