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Time to trade the Doc?


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LAS VEGAS-It's a tough, tough decision to make, but the time has come for the Jays to trade Roy Halladay to a contending club and get a combination package of ready-for-prime-time and future players. The current market shows that there are clubs with needs that would be willing to pony up a nice package.

I never thought it would come to me saying this, but with the loonie tanking, sponsors leaving the Jays in droves and layoffs in abundance, it would be unseemly for a major league organization like the Jays to spend the next two years begging their only superstar to give them a hometown discount because he's so important.

It's all about the club saving face. It's not fair to put Halladay in the position of going from pseudo-saviour to Benedict Arnold and it's not fair to string loyal fans along that they might have a chance to compete but only if Halladay cares about them and stays. That's total crapola.

The Leafs watched Mats Sundin walk away and now fans are on board with a young, aggressive team that is overachieving in the short term. Jays' fans are ready for the same transformation in mindset. It's not that Halladay is not valuable, but he pitches every fifth day in an everyday sport.

It would be the best thing for the Jays' and their ability to compete in the next two seasons. It would be the best thing for fans who are being asked to believe that manager Cito Gaston is a miracle worker. But, most importantly, it would be the best thing for Roy Halladay, who is one of the classiest athletes Toronto has ever seen.

Three years ago, when Halladay agreed to extend his contract through 2010, he specifically gave the Jays a dollar break in '08 because he and GM J.P. Ricciardi agreed that was a target year for the Jays to contend and if Doc, and the late Ted Rogers, gave Ricciardi more money to work with – both of which happened – then Halladay would finally play in October.

Instead, the Jays finished fourth last year, with a better chance of finishing last in the AL East next year than of placing third. The special bond between the GM and his best player has been broken and like infidelity in any marriage, it can be forgiven but never forgotten. Now J.P. doesn't even feel the need to talk to his loyal soldier to explain where this team is headed in the next two years.

"We'll see him in spring training and any questions he's got we'll answer," Ricciardi shrugged. "I don't think we're going backwards. We've still got a good club. We've got a good club going forward."

When Ricciardi joined the Jays in 2001, he spoke of his special relationship with the players, how when he was in Oakland he tried to be in the clubhouse every day and how he spoke with Jason Giambi all the time and how it would carry over to his Jays. One would think that picking up the phone and talking to your best player in a time of economic crisis and uncertainty would be a natural thing to do.

The Jays may be better than expected in '09, if they make some wise pitching moves, like inviting some aging arms to compete for the 3-4 spots in the rotation. But "better than expected" is not what Halladay bent over backwards to ensure himself when he re-upped with the Jays at a discount.

Halladay is being abused. He will never publicly criticize the organization. He will never show the emotions of betrayal and neglect he may feel at being left out of the loop, even though he trusted the Jays with his prime playing years. Look at A.J. Burnett, who'll make at least $80 million (U.S.) over the next five years because he used and abused the Jays with an opt-out clause even though they took him off the scrap heap and overpaid.

Halladay as a free agent this year, would have been ahead of CC Sabathia on the gravy train. Since the Jays didn't fulfill their end of the bargain for the final three years of this decade, it's time to let Halladay go where the money is and be happy for him.

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he's got what, 2 years at 15mil a piece left on his contract? if they dont get a front-line starter to replace burnett and another hitter that can flat out mash, they're not going to compete in the next 2 years and will have no chance to sign him to an extension next year... which'll probably put them into another 5 year plan.

if ricciardi cant get those pieces in place, i say blow it up and make some big deals with halladay and rios, and see if you can get anyone to take on wells' contract... i actually dont think they'd be in too bad a position with the return those players could net, an emerging young pitching staff, and they already have some outfield depth.

i dunno, you're gonna need a team of all-stars to compete in that division anyhow. they owe halladay a serious run, or a good trade.

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