As Major League Baseball teams prepare for the league’s second half, the Toronto Blue Jays sit at 43-43. In all respects that’s a mediocre mark, but considering the injuries the team went through in the first half, it’s a relatively respectable record. What’s more, with the introduction of the second wild card, the Jays sit only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot.
It may not be pretty, but for all intents and purposes Toronto is still very much alive and well in the 2012 playoff picture, with 76 games left to play.
Of course, the Jays would have to get remarkably lucky to make the postseason, especially considering the rash of injuries that has plagued the starting rotation.
The pitchers have taken a beaten this season health-wise and as a result over the past few weeks, Toronto has been linked to a number of different starting pitching names – from Matt Garza to a failed Jamie Moyer experiment, it seems there’s at least rumours out there that Alex Anthopoulos is trying to bolster the team’s rotation down the stretch.
One name that has been conspicuously absent in all this talk, in my mind, is that of perhaps the greatest pitcher to ever pitch for the Blue Jays – Harry Leroy Halladay.
Philadelphia has had an atrocious first half and currently sits 37-50, 10 games back of the wildcard chase in the National League.
When Halladay was traded to the Phils in December of 2010, it was to give him an opportunity to play for a postseason contender and to win a World Series. The first part of that he has accomplished, the World Series is still elusive.
Now, perhaps this is a stretch as Toronto would hardly be considered strong World Series contenders at this point in time, but let’s put it in perspective – for the first time in a long time, Toronto currently has a better chance of making the playoffs than the Phillies.
Halladay, at age 35, is running out of chances to win that World Series title and presumably if the Phillies remain out of contention, he wouldn’t be opposed to a trade to a team with a better chance at the postseason, despite what he said in an interview in June after being shelved with the injury:
“Ultimately, my goal is to finish my career with the Phillies and win a World Series here. Some of those things are not fully in my control, but my intent is to play here and finish my career here and be here as long as I can.”
Yes, there might be question marks about Halladay’s health at the moment, but he’s scheduled to make a rehab start tomorrow and if there are no setbacks he could be back in the Phillies’ rotation sooner rather than later.
The fact that he’s older and now has had health issues would only serve to make his acquiring price in a trade lower – it’s certainly not going to take a package with the same clout that Philly needed to pry him away from Toronto. But maybe they’ll take Drabek and his wonky arm back, anyway? OK, now I’m thinking too wishfully.
Fact of the matter is, I doubt Philadelphia is actively looking to trade Roy and I also doubt they’ve completely thrown in the towel on 2012 either. But their GM is a smart man and if a trade can be had that makes sense for both sides, why not?
Even with the decreased velocity, even with the potential injury woes, I still think the stability of a guy like Roy Halladay back in the rotation would be huge for Toronto down the stretch – a stretch that is likely to be the closest they’ve been to playoff contention in a long while.
If it doesn’t work, it’s at least a great PR move that would serve to – at least temporarily – boost attendance figures.
At the very least, getting Halladay off the Phils will help me resolve the internal conflict I have had ever since Jonathan Papelbon joined the team – desperately wanting Halladay to win a World Series while at the same time never wanting Papelbon to have any sort of success at all.
So, while it may be pie in the sky type thinking, I think we all hoped Halladay would return to lead the Jays to playoff contention in a few years after the trade once the team got its shit together and was ready to contend.It’s arguable that the Jays, in fact, have their shit together now, but it’s sure fun to look at the standings and think “2.5 games back” than it is to think “43-43.” So for now, I entertain the thought – does kicking the tires on a trade for Roy Halladay back to the Jays make sense? Is it something the Phillies would even consider? What do you think would need to be given up to acquire him?