Good-bye, Doc Halladay, and best of luck…

22 11 2009

Even if there weren’t indications of it earlier, the writing is now definitely on the wall: ace pitcher Roy Halladay’s tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays is near an end.

The New York Post has quoted Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston as saying that Halladay “is not inclined to sign with us” because Doc wants to win a world title now, and the Blue Jays (and GM Alex Anthopolous) have acknowledged that winning a title in Toronto is not likely to happen anytime soon.

So it seems very clear that, instead of having Halladay pitch for the Jays in the final year of his contract, letting him go as a free agent at the end of 2010 and getting nothing in return, the Jays will work out a deal with another team, either before the trade deadline of next July 31, or even more likely, during this offseason.

Halladay’s value in a trade has never been higher. In the past two seasons, Doc has amassed impressive numbers: 37-21 record, 2.78 ERA, 9 complete games each year, 6 combined shutouts, 414 combined strikeouts. With these numbers, the Jays are undoubtedly looking for some solid talent coming back to Toronto in a trade. And whichever team signs him, in what is likely to be a long-term deal associated with the trade, will pay Halladay the money he deserves.

This does mean, of course, that only a select few teams will be able to afford the price the Jays and Halladay will be looking for. At last report, the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers are in the running. Roy will make an immediate impact on the fortunes of any of these teams.

At any rate, there’s no doubt that Halladay’s days in a Jays uniform are numbered. We may have already seen the last of Halladay as a Blue Jay on the mound. If that is the case, he has wrapped up his time as a Jay in stellar fashion: with back-to-back shutout victories. What a way to remember him!

Yes, I am disappointed that one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers is about to leave Toronto. That said, I understand the reasons, and hold no ill will towards Halladay at all. The one thing missing in his career is a World Series championship ring. He wants that now, and the rebuilding Jays won’t be in a position to get that anytime soon. So the best thing for all involved is a deal to move Doc to a team with a chance to win a world title, and in return, the Jays would get some talent they hope will help them build a future contender.

Roy, thank you for the 12 years you have spent as a Blue Jay, and I wish you the best of luck with whichever team wins your services. But if I may, from the point of view of a Jays fan, I do hope that the team that signs you is in the National League. I’m sure the Jays would not want to see you on the hill as an opponent from the AL East…

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