Could a Mid-Summer Halladay Come to Philly?

The Phillies were in the best position in baseball to land the best pitcher on the market, coveted Toronto ace Roy Halladay, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Earlier this week it came out that Blue Jay’s General Manager J.P. Ricciardi was willing to listen to offers for his ace but that he wouldn't actively seek out a deal.

The news that arguably the best pitcher in baseball was on the trading block was met with great enthusiasm by Phils fans dreaming of a righty counterpunch to Cole Hamels. It makes sense to want Halladay, the guy won a Cy Young in 2003, has a 141-68 career record, 3.47 career ERA and an astonishing 43 complete games on his resume.

And the guy is a workhorse. He three times lead the American League in innings pitched including an incredible 246 innings just last season.

But the question is how much will the Phillies be willing give up to get Halladay?

Before we get ahead of ourselves lets look at what will need to happen to pry the 32-year-old righty from the Jays.

First, the Jays must come to the conclusion that they can’t afford to resign Halladay beyond next season when his contract expires -- this decision most likely was already made and it looks like Halladay is a goner.

Second, the Halladay suitor must be willing to take on what remained on the pitcher’s current contract of $14.25 million this year and $15.75 million next season. The team that trades for Halladay must be able to take on that large chunk of payroll and likely will need to negotiate a contract beyond 2010.

Third, the suitor must put together a package of young talent. This means they must be willing to part with possible future stars to get a superstar right now. Because if the Jays just let Halladay walk after next year they would get two high draft picks as compensation.

And finally, the team that wants Halladay must be good enough that the pitcher would wave his absolute no-trade clause.

Guess what, the Phillies meet every requirement for Halladay.

The Jays must be listening to the Phillies. Toronto had a scout at Citizens Bank Park last night, according to the News Journal’s Scott Lauber's Twitter feed.

What the Phils need to give for Halladay could be the biggest stumbling block. (Assuming that a ground-ball hurler like Halladay isn’t afraid of the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park.)

The Phillies could deal minor-league pitchers like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco, Joe Savery, Vance Worley, Jason Knapp and/or more. They also have Major Leaguers J.A. Happ and Antonio Bastardo that could help land Halladay.

All those pitchers have the potential to become solid Major Leaguers and possibly All-Stars.

The Phils could balk at dealing pitchers so instead they could include a package of position players including catcher Lou Marson, outfielder Dominic Brown, outfielder Michael Taylor, Major Leaguer John Mayberry and/or shortstop Jason Donald.

Donald especially could interest the Jays since they need a shortstop of the future with current shortstop Marco Scutaro headed for free agency.

Will the Phillies take the dive and possibly mortgage their future for a sure thing now?

“If the Phillies trade for Halladay, it would have to be one of those five-for-one, Von Hayes-style swaps, and the cost will be prohibitive. For Halladay, though, it may be worth it,” said Lauber.

Well put.

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