Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jays Shopping Ace: Phillies Should Consider Halladay Sweepstakes


Good citizens in Canada might utter OH NO Canada of the latest mind-blowing news. Earlier in the season Toronto Blue Jays were filled with elation, controlling its own destiny. Of course, injuries suddenly hampered prevalence of mounting above the Yankees and Boston.

And now the latest news that arguably the game’s best pitcher, Roy Halladay is getting shopped around.

He’s a high-profiled pitcher who is mostly targeted by high-market teams, such as Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston, and New York Yankees as the fans in Toronto nervously wait, understanding there might just be a painful sweepstakes giveaway.

The front-runners in desperate need of pitching, if they are seeking to defend their title, are the Philadelphia Phillies. When reports surfaced that Halladay was on the trading block, the baseball world literally jumped into shock, elation and determination of potentially adding depth to their starting rotation.

The Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. must take a stance, by selling a few players and maybe a few prospects in the form system to acquire a second ace in their fragile rotation.

It’s one concept to uplift confidence in a rotation that has suffered with frustration and mortifications, and are not measuring up to championship caliber and look dissimilar from the team they were a year ago.

Remember, the Phillies emerging ace, Cole Hamels, whose heroics delivered unhittable threws in the World Series and helped the Phillies overcome a drought of failures. Remember when he hoisted the Most Valuable Player award, and transcended into a legend before our very eyes.

Similar heroics haven’t being the Phillies typical mentality, and rather than maintaining poise and optimism, Hamels had an unordinary outing a few weeks ago, frustrated after getting dismantled by Toronto’s surging offense.

Manager Charlie Manuel removed him from the game, after a poor outing turned into the favor of the Blue Jays, who controlled a 4-0 lead. As Hamels walked off disfigured and irritated of his pitching flaws, he exchanged a few words with home-plate umpire Mark Carlson that provoked an ejection.

That pretty much summarizes the type of season it has being for the Phillies, the same team that awed us in the World Series, the same lefthander who fans became inspired by and attached to, referring to him as Mr. October and the next legend to vault in the big-leagues.

What difference a year makes, in a juncture when the Phillies should be endorsed and pleading for another ace to uproot pitching woes.

As it stands, the Phillies have the worst ERA among starting staff in the National League. Meaning the Washington Nationals can use remodeling in the starting rotation. Even their bullpen at the nation’s capital, a locale President Barrack Obama wouldn’t relish tossing the traditional first pitch.

Maybe he’ll toss a few at Wrigley Field in Chicago, where he formally resided and once already tossed a pitch at the White Sox game.

Oh none of it matters, the Phillies are what matters, and acquiring Halladay in a blockbuster deal before the non-waiver trade deadline, which looms closer, will be an automatic retool to subsidize another remarkable World Series run.

In addition, it relieves much pressure and burdens off Hamels, having to throw off the mound brilliantly in each start, just to mollify his team of drilling deeper problems late in the season.

By reaching a deal in acquiring Holladay’s mechanics, will make the Phillies arguably the National League’s most dangerous pitching staff and a team not to be reckon with down the stretch.

Half of the players on the team have been there a year ago, experiencing elation and glory as the first sporting team in Philly to win a major championship in 25 years, since the Sixers captured a title in 1983 in a town that has painfully suffered and became the first town to reach 10,000-plus loses.

The championship-starved city will be generous, welcoming a top-notched pitcher to cure blemishes and banish struggles that have Philly fans speechless. At Citizens Bank Park, a pitcher-friendly ballpark, the volume is not nearly as loud as it was.

A year ago, average fans and even the players could have employed earplugs to minimize the volume of the rabid fans that loud echoes were heard in the entire town.

Now days, buzzing noise is echoing about Halladay in the crazy sports town, where Brotherly Love converts into Sports Love, especially adding the best pitcher in baseball. He was the face of Toronto, luring in a large crowd and now will attract a town of devoted and lovable fans.

Sometimes, Philly fans are a real pain and obnoxious, booing their teams whenever any underachieve.

Remember, it’s the City That Booed Santa Claus.

Isn’t that naughty?

Amaro acknowledged that the Phillies were contemplative in pursuing Halladay. A year ago, they rode a 7-0 postseason surge and if seeking to repeat a successive run, it starts with consistent pitching on a regular.

Thus far, conducive pitching has being anything, but consistent Adam Eaton was opted to pitch in the minors and was considered as an expensive blunder, spending time in the bullpen, finally releasing him in spring. Brett Myers is the one starter who struggles mightily in the first-half of the season and then picks up productivity in the second-half.

Setting a record was the 46-year old veteran Jamie Moyer with a skyrocketing 8.15 ERA earlier this season for the worst in his career.

These are good examples to snatch Halladay away from the neighbors north of the border. As Jays’ general manager J.P. Ricciardi says he’s willing to listen to offers and will deal a large portion of his team that’s willing to part ways in giving up good value for the 2003 AL Cy Young winner might be a steep expense.

Halladay is owed about $7 million and $14.25 million salary this season, including $15.75 million next season. Taking on his contract shouldn’t be much of a problem or hinder his arrival.

The Phillies have a payroll of $133 million, and obviously they can spent $7 million on a high-profile pitcher who might emerge into the next 300-game winner at the rate he continues to throw strikes and walk off the mound victorious.

And when the season concludes, the Phillies are expected to clear up $29 million in salary cap space with Myers, Eaton and Geoff Jenkins.

In the final year of Halladay’s three-year, $40 million contract, the Phillies could be getting him as a rental player, if he decides to leave when his contract runs out in 2010. Certainly, Halladay, who has a no-trade clause, would accept playing with a postseason contender and a team like the Phillies.

There have being speculations that Halladay will finish out the reminder of his contract with the Jays, and then become a free-agent, if the Jays remain in playoff contention.

Basically, the Jays are dumping their stellar ace to keep payroll intact for next season, according to Fox Sports and have suggested that signing Halladay to a long-term deal could be a hassle.

But the Phillies could be getting an ace to mend struggles. This season, Halladay is 10-2 with a 2.79 earned-run average and only one of six major-league pitchers to reach the double-digit mark in wins.

Not at all are the Phillies done shopping, Amaro also have his eyes on Pedro Martinez and will explore his options. Amaro watched Martinez throw a stimulated game in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday afternoon.

Personally, I prefer Halladay shopping, over gambling. By acquiring Martinez, it could be a huge risk. He’s injury-prone and vulnerable for spending an ample of time on the disabled list, bad idea for the Phillies.

By bringing in Halladay, they have a legitimate shot at repeating. And he’s worth the addition.

They must go Halladay shopping.