According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Blue Jays are no longer asking for Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw in a possible trade for Roy Halladay. However, the price in trade may still be steep: as many as five or six prospects:
The Jays, in need of a shortstop, surely would have interest in Ivan DeJesus Jr., who has been out the entire season with a broken right leg, or Devaris Gordon, a younger shortstop who is the son of reliever Tom Gordon.
Among the other Dodgers prospects who could interest the Jays: Outfielder Andrew Lambo, right-hander Josh Lindblom, third baseman Josh Bell and right-hander Chris Withrow.
I am excited about the replenishing of the Dodger farm system, and in particular Chris Withrow is a favorite of mine. That said, I would package our top prospects to get Halladay.
If the Dodgers stand pat, they still have an excellent chance to win it all this year. Their chances of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus, currently sit at 98.2%. Halladay is certainly no guarantee in the playoffs, but there's no doubt he is a big help.
Also, Halladay is not a rental. He is under contract for 2010. Thanks to the invaluable Cot's Baseball Contracts, we see that Halladay is set to be paid $14.25 million this year, and $15.75 million next year. Acquiring Halladay by tomorrow would mean he is due roughly $5.14 million for the remainder of this season.
The Dodgers are in a unique situation. Their team is pretty much set next year, outside of second base, assuming Manny Ramirez opts to stay for his $20 million 2010 salary. Manny had a tough time finding suitors before his PED suspension, and I doubt he would risk testing the market again. The Dodger payroll for 2009 is around $100 million right now, and possibly $110 million or so after incentives are reached. The 2010 payroll is estimated at $88 million, so adding Halladay would push that to about $104 million.
Because Halladay signed his contract extension before the new collective bargaining agreement was signed in 2006, he would have the right to demand a trade this offseason if he was traded during his multi-year contract. However, doing so binds him to a team for three seasons (they would just offer him arbitration for 2011 and 2012), so its unlikely Halladay will forgo the chance to become a free agent at 34, when he could get a bigger, longer contract, for the risk of becoming a free agent at 36. The fine folks at Brew Crew Ball, the SB Nation Brewers blog, explored this trade demand right in detail recently.
Acquiring Halladay makes the Dodgers clear favorites in the National League for 2009 and 2010, as well as a formidable foe for any American League club should they meet in the World Series. Giving up five prospects is steep, but are any of the current crop top notch prospects? Is there a Kershaw or Billingsley in the mix? Perhaps, but there is still risk before they play a major league game. Also, don't forget the benefit of gaining two draft picks when Halladay leaves after 2010.
Even if the farm system is gutted -- an assertion I don't agree with -- the core of the team is still in place until at least 2012, so there is still time to replenish yet again. To get a guy like Halladay, you have to pay a price. Think of the Dodgers' system: players like McDonald, Elbert, DeJesus, Gordon, Withrow, Bell, Lindblom, Lambo, etc. Pick your top five prospects. I would give them up for Halladay. Would you?