Major league officials described Toronto as intensifying efforts to trade its ace at the Winter Meetings, though the expectation is that a deal will not get done at this gathering. However, those same officials say that all signs point now to the Blue Jays definitely trading Halladay this offseason. And the Yankee contingent is signaling they are in by making it clear to Toronto officials that they are willing to discuss major prospects even after letting the touted Austin Jackson go in the package for Granderson.
At one point in the article Sherman calls Halladay this year’s version of Mark Teixeira, as in, he’s not their priority, but he could become the target once they’ve checked off the rest of their checklist. But the Yankees interest in Halladay is not news, the fact that they are still interested, even after dealing away their second best prospect, is.
With Jackson gone the Yankees top four players under 25 now becomes Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Jesus Montero, and Austine Romine. Notice that Montero is not the only catcher on that list. I was hoping this was not true, but it might mean the Yankees are more likely to deal Montero.
Why would the Yankees do this? Well, they also adore Montero’s future as a hitter. But there are questions if the 20-year-old is going to be able to catch in the majors. If he can’t, the Yanks already are committed to a first baseman in Mark Teixeira long-term and do not want to use such a young player as a DH. In addition, they consider themselves well-stocked in catching prospects with Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez and John Murphy.
They may be inclined to include either Joba or Hughes in the deal as well since acquring Halladay would give them four starters – CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Halladay – leaving only room for one of either Hughes or Joba.
As for Chamberlain or Hughes, Brian Cashman met more than once yesterday with Andy Pettitte’s representative, Randy Hendricks. There is belief on both sides that a deal will eventually get done. If so and the Yanks make a trade with Toronto, they would have CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Halladay and Pettitte. That front four means they could easily protect a low-cost No. 5 starter and trade either Chamberlain or Hughes.
Personally, I don’t like the Yankees willingness to part with these prospects, but after the 2008 season when they went with so many rookies and it backfired they seem almost afraid to break in more than one rookie at a time at major positions. It could be the reason why they traded Jose Tabata to Pittsburgh (fear of bringing up two rookie outfielders, the other being Jackson) and why they eventually traded Jackson himself (fear of bringing up Jackson and Montero at the same time).
I don’t like it, but Cashman and the Yankees clearly see this as a win now team and are using their prospects to make themselves even better after years of protecting their top guys. That strategy might not have given them an all home grown lineup, but could pay as adding Halladay would put them in a great position to win back-to-back titles.