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Rumors still place the Yankees in the hunt for Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays want Jesus Montero, one of Hughes or Chamberlain, and lesser prospects for the star pitcher. Following the trade of Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson, this would leave the Yankee farm system almost completely barren of top-end, near-MLB talent.

Roy Halladay is a fantastic pitcher, maybe a Hall of Famer, but he is also 33 years old. He is not a long term solution at the position, and carries with him plenty of injury risk as he becomes a baseball senior citizen. A trade for him would fill the classic Yankees trade: trade lots of long term value for short term value. And this is a terrible idea.

The Yankees are finally running their organization the right way. Their farm system is starting to produce high-quality major league talent. Their major league roster is, for the first time since 2004, completely devoid of albatross contracts (although Alex Rodriguez’s deal has the potential to become one) that bothered them for so long. While there are issues with the 200 million dollar payroll, they are making much better use of it than the late-Torre era teams.

Part of this is because of the Yankee core of players. Soon, the Yankees are going to have to replace Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera as the team’s HOF-caliber core to lead them to year-in, year-out playoff appearances. While they have been supplemented by outside help, the outside help has fluctuated in value.

With proper roster management, the Brian Cashman’s goal should be perpetual competition. Most teams operate in cycles: they build up, win for a few years, decline, trade away their best players, get a few high draft picks, and reload with the stars that they acquired. This cycle has been a reality for even the well-managed, large-budget teams. The Yankees are about to lose the 15-year core that have allowed them to stay out of this cycle for longer than any team that I can remember. The continue this run of success, the Yankees are going to need to find some more Hall-worthy talent to prop their team up for very long periods of time.

Alex Rodriguez is a Hall-worthy talent. So may be Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia. However, They are entering the decline phase of their careers. While the core-four Yankees have aged remarkably well, we can’t really expect guys who won their first ring in 2009 to do the same. Teixeira and Rodriguez will probably be all-star caliber players for most of their Yankee career, but toward the end they are likely to suffer inevitable declines while being paid quite a bit of money. Teams constructed via long term free agent deals will always have to deal with this problem.

To top things off, the Yankees don’t have the payroll advantage they used to. While their 200 million dollar payroll still dwarfs the next-largest by two or three large contracts, the number of teams that have lifted payroll to the 100 million or more range has increased dramatically. 13 clubs have had payrolls of 99 million or more in the past 2 seasons. The high-dollar club for free agents used to be reserved for just a few teams, but big-contract free agents face a much better buyers market for their services. And the Yankees have shown no indication that they are willing to push payroll higher than 200 million in the near future.

What does this all mean? It means that roster construction needs to look beyond the next season. In order for the Yankees to put out a Series-caliber team every season, they need to balance young players with old. They’ll have a few big productive contracts (Teixeira, CC, AJ, Alex Rodriguez) at the same time as aging ones (Jeter, Posada, Mariano), and pre-free agency young players to balance out the difference. That is exactly why Jesus Montero is so useful: he’ll be cost controlled until some of the slightly younger Yankee stars age.

And here is the catch the Yankees are in: they absolutely have to look long term, because rebuilding won’t be as easy for them. If the team finds itself with a bunch of untradeable, unproductive contracts, they can’t just be Oakland and clean house, get a bunch of prospects, sign some free agents, and jump back in. They’ll have to wait for the untradeable contracts to phase out. This high-budget team Dutch Disease should be familiar to New York sports fans: the New York Rangers had it for years before the NHL salary cap, and the New York Knicks still have it. Poor management combined with a high budget are a deadly combination that can wreck a franchise for a very long time.

Jesus Montero, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain have some serious star potential. They may or may not be stars, but that caveat is true of any young prospect. It was true of Brien Taylor, and was true of Derek Jeter. Sometimes, you have to place your bets, wait, and see if the result pans out. Because when you bet on a young player and lose, you only lose the opportunity cost of not trading him. When you bet on a 100 million dollar contract for a 33 year-old former Cy Young winner, you’re stuck with the bill, and your future options are limited.

63 Responses to “Why Trading Jesus Montero and Hughes/Chamberlain for Halladay Is A Bad Idea”

  1. To me it boils down to how many players at the catching position are an offensive force? Very few and Montero seems like he could have amazing potential if he could stick behind the plate. For that chance alone keeping him is hugely important. If he can replace Posada we are golden.

    Also, I belive Hughes and Joba will be front end type starters in two years. That is if we don’t stick Joba in the bullpen prematurely. Anyways, I just don’t like the idea of this trade. I hope he goes to the Angels.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    MJ Reply:

    JeffG: I hope he goes to the Angels.

    I definitely don’t hope he goes to the Angels. It’s in our best interest that Halladay goes to the NL or to some AL team that stinks badly enough that we wouldn’t face him/them in the playoffs.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    True. However, if I had to pick an AL contender for him to go to, I’d pick the Angels. He would fill the hole made by Lackey, but they would not get much better, and their offense is likely to get worse.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    MJ Reply:

    OK, I’ll buy that.

    As it is, without Figgins (and possibly Vlad), the Angels have a few issues to address in their lineup.

    I’ve been saying for years that for a team in a major media market with a supposedly wealthy owner, the Angels are surprisingly conservative in how they run their club.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Forget about Halladay going to the Angels.
    Location is very important to RH at this stage of his career. He wants a team that trains in Florida, and a home team that has easy flight connections to his home in Fla. The angels train in Arizona.
    A friend of Roy’s said he would veto a trade to LA and Chicago.

    Now, I can see him being talked into going to LA for a year, but not signing long term. The Angels issued a statement on this 2 days ago, saying they weren’t going to give up much for RH, if they couldn’t sign him.

    The competition is between the Yankees and the Phillies, like I said yesterday (unless somebody gets bent out of shape during the negotiations, and an unexpected white knight is brought in late.)

    The Red Sox will only be there only if Henry forces Theo to give up some young guys that he doesn’t want to.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    I really don’t see how you think the it’s down to the Yankees and Phillies?

    I really don’t think he is going to get traded anywhere! In fact I think he is going to remain a Blue Jay all year… The Red Sox and The Yankees don’t care enough to trade any big player for him and The Blue Jays aren’t going to trade him for a bunch of B or C players when they could just lower their asking price and get 1 great prospect instead of a boat load of decent to bad prospects.

    I also have never heard anyone say he would veto a trade to LA…. Last I heard in fact he would only OK a trade to the Sox, The Yankees and the Dodgers and Angels.

    In the end they aren’t going to trade him for nothing and there isn’t enough demand to get a bidding war going for a 33 year old pitcher (he will be in March) who will be a free agent next year anyway.

    I think he is going to stay a Blue Jay until ST comes around and then he will revisit this at the AS break and in the end he will just end up leaving Toronto a FA and leave them with draft picks. If you are the Jays new GM you would much rather take the picks and say he left on his own rather than trade him for 4 or 5 nobodies.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    I would be OK having RH stay with the Jays all next season. I would guess that it would also be a very good outcome for the Yankees, too (at least the Phillies or Sox wouldn’t get him next year).

    Sorry, Chris, but if you haven’t seen reports of him not wanting to go out West, then you haven’t been following the situation as closely as I have, because there were such reports yesterday. I do admit that I have been searching for and eating up any information on this issue.

    As for the Jays not trading him for nothing, have you looked at what the Twins got for Santana? OK, maybe a diminished JJ Hardy (traded for Gomez)is not quite exactly nothing. Also, the package that the Indians got for Lee is nothing to write home about.
    How would you rank Halladay, Lee and Santana, right now?

    I hope that you are right and he stays with the Jays all next year, I just don’t see it.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    I stopped carrying about this Halladay stuff a week or so ago because 1.) I don’t want him on the Yankees 2.) I don’t think the Yankees are going to trade for him and 3.) I don’t think the Blue Jays are going to trade him.

    Santana and Lee were traded for nothing out of fear… They were afraid of letting them leave and just getting draft picks for them I don’t expect the Blue Jays to panic like that… If they trade him they finish last and if they don’t they finish last they might as well keep him and use him to bring in fans to watch games next year and take the picks over trading him for nothing but B and C prospects.

    This new GM doesn’t want to have his first trade as The GM be trading Halladay for peanuts… They way he was talking on the MLB Network made me believe he wouldn’t trade Halladay unless he got at least 1 player he really wants.

    The Lee traded was retarded anyway! They could have gotten a better deal from the Yankees but they wanted him out of the AL and traded him for whatever they could get.

    Halladay is above Santana and Lee right now! Halladay had a 2.79 ERA in the AL East… Santana had a 3.13 in the NL East and is coming off surgery and Lee had a 3.22 splitting time between the AL and NL… Halladay is a better pitcher than both right now!  (Quote)

    OldFan Reply:

    Also, if the last that you heard is that RH is still a candidate for going to the DODGERS, your info is 10 to 14 days out of date. The Dodgers are hamstrung on doing almost anything because of the divorce of their owner, and their finances being up in the air.
    There were many reports of the Dodgers doing nothing but sit there during the Indy meetings.

    It appears that RH wouldn’t want to go even if the Dodgers were interested.

    The Yanks and Phillies are the two in the forefront for him, right now, with all others being long shots, or as I indicated in my earlier post.

    This issue will be very interesting to watch–don’t you agree, my friend?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    I know he can’t go there because of the divorce but he did say he would OK a trade to the Dodgers.

    Last I heard with the Yankees and Roy Halladay was 2 days ago and the quote was that the Yankees will say involved but they don’t actually have serious interest, they mostly are staying around to drive up the price.

    It could be interesting to watch but since I don’t think there is any chance he ends up a Yankee and I think there is only about a 30% chance he gets traded it could end up being a lot of talking and nothing happening as I assume will happen.  (Quote)

    OldFan Reply:

    I know and agree with you about the Yankees being able to give a better deal to the Indians for Lee. This still irks me.
    How can such things happen? I can only assume that the Indians did not want to send him to the AL.  (Quote)

    JeffG Reply:

    Exactly what I was thinking plus if you want to write down the best teams on paper I would say the Angels would still be a lesser team considering they don’t add both Lacky and Halladay whereas if the Phillies add Halladay for their prospects then the have a pretty solid rotation and we know what their lineup looks like.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    I wonder how much interest the Phillies actually have though?

    Cliff Lee
    Cole Hamels
    J.A. Happ
    Joe Blanton

    I mean they have a decent rotation as it is how much are they willing to give up for Halladay knowing they can probably only re-sign 1 of the two (Cliff Lee and Halladay) next off season.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Oh, you add Hallady to this Phillies team, and you have a better hitting, more powerful 2001 Arizona team, with greater starting depth, too.

    The Phillies would still have to address the bullpen, though.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    I just don’t know what they would be willing to give up for that knowing that they traded for a pitcher they have to let go…

    Cliff Lee is younger and would be more cost effective so most likely they would re-sign Lee and let Halladay go at the end of the year, are they willing to trade a Drabek just to beat the Yankees this year only?

    In the end I don’t think anyone will be willing to give them a big enough package for Halladay with a big enough prospect in it for the Jays to accept and because of that I think he will stay a a Jay.  (Quote)

    OldFan Reply:

    Also, the Phillies were including the choice of Hamels or Happ, to the Jays, in the offer that I read.  (Quote)

  2. Right on. Btw, the 1 year of 33 year old, NTCHalladay the Blue Jays have to sell, is not worth Montero, Hughes and/or Joba. It’s gonna cost 16 once you get him, and probably 100M to drop the NTC. Granderson was worth a lot more in trade, and this new Toronto GM is about to get schooled.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    16 million a year may even be a little low because I heard even though he doesn’t care about breaking the bank he wants at least 18 million per year.

    Lets’ not forget that his buddy AJ Burnett made 16.5 million from the Yankees so I doubt that Halladay would take less of an extension than AJ got in free agency because he is better and younger by a few months.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  3. While I agree 100% not to trade away our best young talent in general, one can make a case that:(1) Joba and Hughes will both never be #1 OR #2 Starters,(2) Montero will never be a catcher, so he’s probably no different than a Miguel Cabrera type who can be had through trade or Free agency every year and (3) Halladay would insure that this aging nucelous has a 2-3 year additional WS run and by then, the ‘A’ league types will be ready and we’ll have had 2-3-4 more amazing seasons while still opening up big time dollars when Posada & Mariano are gone and Jeter is probably making less.That could be 40 million right there.
    Montero is a “Can’t miss hitter” not a can’t miss catcher and we have Romine, Higiashioka, JR Murphy, Gary Sanchez, the under rated Damian Taveras and a host of others.Catcher is a position of an embarrasment of riches in the YAnkees farm system.
    If Yankees are not 100% sure Montero is a catcher, a future handler of pitchers, nimble enough bejind the plate, I would consider trading him, though like Cashamn I think givng both players and huge bucks to extend is a bad deal.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    JeffG Reply:

    Even if Montero was a very good hitter how much would he be worth 15-20 mil? Add that to the contract of Halladay and you are looking at a very expensive cost on production. Add Hughes or Joba to that and there is no way this trade gets done.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Kareem Reply:

    We dont need Joba or Phil to be #1 right now, if CC stays for his entire contract there is your #1, Montero is not as bad a catcher as everone is making him out to be, people are making sound like he completely incompetent behind the plate, wasnt the reason they didnt trade for Santana was prospects + money, I say keep all three and if they need an Ace in few years, there will be some out there  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Very good points on how the Yankees are stocked so deep on catching talent.

    The Jays are asking for Montero because they need a near term young catcher.

    I was always hoping that Cashman would be able to include some other young catcher (not Montero) in a package for Hallady.

    Maybe our #2 or #3 young minor league catcher is good enough for the Jays,in a package.Only the Yankees know for sure.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    I would think only the Jays know for sure…

    I really don’t see how you can see Romine on Montero’s level yet… Montero has proven his bat in double A well enough for him to start in Triple A next year… At this point Romine has never been above A ball and probably couldn’t anchor a trade like Montero can.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    BklynJT Reply:

    EJ’s post

    __________

    your head

    This is not the George years where we sacrifice very valuable pieces for 1 year of an aging player. We need to be smart and plan ahead. The Yankees have already shown a hesitance to increase the payroll above 200mil, let alone the implications of a new CBA in a couple years. The yankees have virtually no money coming off the payroll next year (Jeter and Mo will probably be resigned), and along with arbitration raises in order to stay around 200 mil, we will need to have young productive players on our roster. Cashman will not sacrifice our future for a player because some people believe it will “guarantee” us a championship next year.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  4. Kareem: We dont need Joba or Phil to be #1 right now, if CC stays for his entire contract there is your #1, Montero is not as bad a catcher as everone is making him out to be, people are making sound like he completely incompetent behind the plate, wasnt the reason they didnt trade for Santana was prospects + money, I say keep all three and if they need an Ace in few years, there will be some out there  (Quote)

    Yankees are SAYING he isn’t that bad a catcher.They were saying AJax would develop big time power and stop striking out also but eventually traded him.I doubt they would ahve traded AJAX if they truly believed he was a 22 year old version of Granderson.
    How many 6’4 240 lb+ catchers (Montero is projected to end up that big) are there?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Juan Reply:

    Mauer is 6’5 225lb  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    At 225 pounds I doubt Montero would let himself get to 240+ pounds unless he started to DH or went to LF, I imagine he would eat right to keep his weight closer to 230 which is how much Jose Molina weights at 6’3 so it does happen.

    Also Jackson’s power was going to develop and he was going to stop striking out quite so much but he was never going to be as powerful as Granderson and he was never going to be left handed and he wasn’t going to be able to be at that kind of playing level for 3-4 years that is why they traded Jackson, not because they don’t belive in him but that Granderson is young and helps more for the next 4 years.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    Speaking as someone of Montero’s height and build, 240 + lbs isn’t all that much, and 215 with muscle is really lean. He could easily balloon if he’s not careful.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Who Mauer? I agree he could get bigger behind the plate for sure, especially if he decides he wants to be even more of a power hitter.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  5. Let’s put some numbers to this.

    Let’s assume that you have
    2 superstar position players at $25 million per year each
    2 ace starters at $20 million per year each.
    then you have 11 players who are worth $15 million (according to WAR). They make $1.4 million in their first 3 years and then $5.25, $9 and $12 million in years 4-6 followed by $15 million a year for years 7-12. This totals out to $117.6 million over 12 years, or $9.8 million per year. $108 million for 11 guys like this (7 regulars, 3 starters and a closer)
    The rest of the pen is $6 million for 6 guys (some will make less, some more)
    4 bench guys for $3 million total
    and $3 million for assorted guys in the minors on major league deals (Igawa would eat up all of this and then some at $4 million).

    That totals out to $210 million. Plus or minus, this is the Yankees budget.

    What does all of this boring math teach us:
    1) If you have no guys in year 1-6 (when they are cheap) your budget grows to $267 million, which is way too high, even for the Yankees.
    2) you NEED those cheaper players to lower your average player cost.
    3) If each $15 million value player lasts 12 years (in their prime) and you need 11 of these guys, you need to rotate one in to the major leagues, on average, every year. This is very hard. This is basically a Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon, Robbie Cano quality player. Not a superstar but say the 3-6 best at their position. it is do-able by either drafting the player OR by trading for the player with a group of lesser prospects (e.g. Granderson, although the Yanks lost his cheapest years).
    4) My analysis of the Yankee budget through 2013 shows that WITH Montero, the Yanks have limited budget room through 2013. The team should be very good but the Yanks are committed to a bunch of large contracts and players who are getting more expensive.
    5) Basically, EJ is right.
    6) Trading Montero would be idiotic. The Yanks just lost Jackson, who arguably could have filled one of the 11 slots. There are no other position players at AAA who can be this calibre of player. The Yanks need to have Montero as a locked in cheap player.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    Very well said. Much more concise than my version :)   (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    BklynJT Reply:

    Thank you for breaking it down… some people can be so short sighted.

    OMG if you dont profile Montero as a catcher, then you HAVE TO TRADE HIM. You can’t let him get in the way of a deal for RH. blah blah blah. Sounds like a bunch of talking heads, aka Mike Francesca  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  6. LeftyLarry: he’s probably no different than a Miguel Cabrera type who can be had through trade or Free agency every year

    Yeah – except he will cost $425,000 in 2011 and Cabrera makes $20 million. For the innumerate readers, that is a lot of money.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    If Jesus becomes a DH version of Cabrera I would have no problem with that at all!  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  7. I agree that trading Montero and Joba/ Hughes is TOO much for Halliday, at this stage.

    (I would like see if Montero can hit 40 hr’s like they are saying.)

    You know, the rumours have it that the Jays, right now, want that (the above) and MORE.

    So, Halladay’s price is clearly too high now.

    But, before the winter is over, it is going to fall, because the Yankees, and the Phillies, and others, can afford to wait (at least a while).It may even fall to something like the basket of junk that the Mets gave up for Santana. Even look at what the Phillies gave up for Lee.

    IF and when the price does fall, I want the Yankees in on that deal.

    I would be very disappointed if Halladay went to someone else for a basket of Grade B and C guys.

    Cito Gaston was going on yesterday, that “Jays have to do right to Roy, blah, blah, etc.” “We have to trade him to a team that Roy wants, etc.”
    The pressure is starting to build on lame duck, Roy. The Jays don’t want this distraction during the season. The price is going to fall.

    Don’t get caught up in this PR flooey that we have to give up 3 or 4 of our best young guys to get him.

    The final price will be a lot lower (but may still include someone that we don’t really want to see go).

    The morning after, it will look great to Yankee fans.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Last I heard is they asked for all 3 from the Yankees…  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Well, as an example, before the Cliff Lee trade last summer, all the buzz, all of the published reports, all the talk was this….

    The Indians are INSISTING that Kyle Drabeck, Dominic Brown, and (another top prospect that I can’t remember) MUST be included in any trade for Lee.

    Well, days, and weeks later the trade goes down—-and it DOESN’T include any of the 3 guys that all reports were indicating must be included for the deal to happen.
    They were all lower level guys, than the 3 names previously mentioned!!

    This kind of posturing, misinformation, and PR offensives happen all the time.

    I would not be surprised, at all, if the Yankees acquired Halladay, and neither Montero, Joba, or Hughes were included.

    Don’t buy into all the pre-trade Hype!  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    If Halladay was traded to the Yankees and Montero, Hughes and Joba were all on the Yankees then Alex Anthopoulos would be fired the very next day!

    The Indians also took less to trade Lee to the NL!!! There is no way you take less to trade him to a rival in the division!

    Hell the Indians could have had more from the Yankees and they refused so with the Jays!

    BOOKMARK THIS OLDFAN…I will make you a guarantee Halladay doesn’t go to the Yankees without 1 if not 2 of the 3 being involved! If he does I will stop posting on here forever!

    If the Jays wanted to trade him to the Yankees for nothing they could just take 1 big prospects from another team!!  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Geez, Chris, I want you to keep posting, so I won’t take the bet. lol

    Well, let’s see how it all works out. There’s so much going on in these trade situations, behind the scenes that you and I don’t know about
    (until we read the book, years from now).

    Who knows, maybe RH is calling the Toronto GM every day, and asking, “Did you trade me to the Yankees, yet, like you said you would?” Or maybe he wants the Phillies. lol

    You would be happy though, if that trade happened, even if you don’t generally want the old, broken down, costly, declining years, past his prime, Roy Hallady on the Yankees? Right?
    lol, lol  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Well I do too but I just really see no way that ends up happening… It would just be a really bad stain on a new GM’s career to basically hand the Yankees a WS on a silver platter and get nothing good in return one that I don’t think he could recover from.

    If Roy was calling me everyday and pressuring me to trade him I would keep him and refuse to trade him just on the basis that I won’t let my team be run by players… The moment you start letting players tell you what to do is the day you lose all leverage and control as a GM.

    If Halladay tried to force his way out it would look worse for him the it would the Jays if they kept him and he pouted about it. As the GM you can just say we will keep him and if he decides to leave that was his decision and we got the draft picks for him leaving.

    I would actually be pretty pissed if The Yankees traded Montero for Halladay, if it was just a package revolving around Hughes then I would be willing to accept it had it happened already but if we let Montero go and especially if we let Montero and Joba go for Halladay it would take me a while to get over the disappointment in the team truthfully.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    I agree 100% on keeping Montero. I would really like to see this kid come up and slug in a Yankee uniform.

    I (like everybody else) have a few years of emotional investment in Joba and Hughes, and wouldn’t like to see them go. Joba is the bigger character, and he’s likeable because he wears his emotions on his sleeve.

    So, Hughes, Romine, Melky or Gardner, maybe 1 or 2 other guys (we have a lot of good prospects, right now). You’ve got something working.

    I was half-kidding about RH calling the GM. But, Hallady is a special case in Toronto. Sure, a GM can’t let run-of-the-mill players dictate things, and they don’t. But, Halladay is a revered figure. Potential HOF, a guy who has shown loyalty to the organization, and the city, in the past, by taking a contract extention without any acrimony. He gives it his all, every time he takes the mound, and he has done everything he personally could possibly do to make Toronto a winner.

    He is a special case. He is one, if he had a preferrence, I’m sure the brass in Toronto would listen reverently and do what they could to accomodate him.
    This is actually happening. Cito Gaston recently was talking about Roy, and while I can’t remember the verbatim quotes, it was something like—We owe it to Roy to trade him to a team that he wants. He has done everything we asked of him, etc. It sort of sounded like his wants were trying to be met.

    Now, all of Toronto has resigned themselves to the fact that he is leaving, because he wants to play in the post season in the last third of his career. Also, 2 weeks ago, in all the papers, was a statement that he would waive his no trade clause to go to the Yankees. This is the only public statement like this, that I am aware of. I’m
    sure that he said it privately for other teams.

    Net result–I’m getting good vibes that the Yankees are right in there, and are thinking what they can give up.

    As far as the Toronto GM lookin bad. This could be managed. He would need to keep working close with the owner, and his boss, and they can manage how they present it to the press and public. I think the leaks have already started.
    The only thing is that the Phillies are still right there, too.
    I think
    if they want a chance to beat us next year in the Series, they better get him.  (Quote)

  8. Wow, EJ, that post is all sorts of epic. I’ve been reading you for some years now, but that is the best article from you I can remember. Especially the Knicks/Rangers aspect is interesting cause I haven’t thought about that before. If the Yankees aren’t careful, they could quickly get into the same problems as these to teams. You could argue, they were headed this way before Cashman was given greater power.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Kareem Reply:

    I agree and as a Knick fan, they are just now digging themselves out of it after almost 10 years, too many high dollar long-term contracts can just choke the life out of a franchise  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    Haha thanks. That made my day.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  9. OldFan: I know and agree with you about the Yankees being able to give a better deal to the Indians for Lee. This still irks me.
    How can such things happen? I can only assume that the Indians did not want to send him to the AL.  

    The AL and maybe even more specifically they didn’t want him going to the Yankees since we already have Sabathia on our team…

    The Brewers weren’t willing to pay part of Igawa’s contract last year to do the Melky for Cameron deal because we sign Sabathia maybe the Indians were mad about that as well and made sure both didn’t go to the same team.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    I agree–emotions, insults, personalities, perceived slights, past interactions, etc.—these all play into the Baseball GM/Owner wheeling and dealing.

    I wonder how all you sabermatricians out there account for this? (ie human stuff) lol  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    HAHA

    It would have looked really bad for the Inidans to trade Lee to the Yankees and then have the Yankees go into the playoffs with a rotation of Sabathia, Lee, Burnett and Pettitte.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Cleveland fans, who I used to work around, would have gone nuts.

    HA HA  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    Generally, the buzzword for the response is “parsimonious”. Sure, we recognize that those things play a role. However, the real question is to what degree do they play a role. Attempts to find some sort of quantitative evidence to the “human” parts of the game that we’ve been able to find (mostly stuff at The Hardball Times circa 05-06ish) have found it very difficult to distinguish baseball players from robots.

    For example, someone tried to measure whether or not basestealing threats affect pitcher performance. They took all the at bats in the last X number of years with a player on first base across all MLB hitters, and then compared them during the same time frame with hitters who batted with a player who stole a lot of bases. The study concluded that having a base stealing threat at 1st base was worth 1-2 runs over the course of a season, which is pretty negligible.

    There may be a lot of affects like this. But generally, the assumption goes, good psychological affects cancel out the bad ones and major league players are pretty much the back of their baseball cards. The stuff you can’t measure definitely has an impact, but its probably small enough to ignore for the sake of a parsimonious theory. That’s pretty much what any other scientist does.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The other Chris H Reply:

    Comparing the effects of a base stealer on 1st and a GM being upset at another team and not trading a player to that team because of it are two totally different thing!

    Also that study doesn’t take into account that different people do things differently and have different worries and thoughts….

    Javier Vasquez is clearly effected by base runners on and by guys who pose a real threat to steal a bad more so than a lot of other pitchers are… for example CC Sabathia.

    The GM of the Brewers WAS not inclined to pay part of Igawa’s contract because we signed Sabathia and he thought the balls to ask for them to pay the contract was to much disrespect…. You can’t say another GM will do the same but you can’t dismiss it as so small it doesn’t matter.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    Was he clearly affected? That’s pretty easy to check – ten minutes in retrosheet could do it. He’s seemed just fine over the last couple of years. Maybe he was affected, maybe he wasn’t. He’s be pretty consistent over a career if there was indeed an affect, or maybe it was just luck.

    Maybe is the operative word. These things are incredibly difficult to predict. In the absence of certainty, we look for the parsimonious – the theory or framework which explains the most, even if it ignores certain things.  (Quote)

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    The other Chris H Reply:

    Then you didn’t watch him play for the Yankees…

    Vasquez would become terrified as soon as runners got on base… I really don’t care to look up the numbers or even have them read to me because I know what I saw and every time that guy got runners on base he got terrified, he would throw over more than needed and he would completely take his focus away from the batter and focus on the runner it was the 1 reason I wanted Javier gone!  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    How reliable are your eyes? Everyone’s eyes (well trained, well paid eyes) said Dustin Pedroia wouldn’t hit in the majors. Eyes can be wrong. David Wells looked fat, but the reality was he was a tremendous athlete. And those are much more frequent observations than Javy Vazquez being afraid of a base stealer.

    Baseball is a game that dramaticizes the individual moment. That’s why I love it. In a close game, you hang on every pitch, and because of that you have time to think about all these different phenomena going on in front of you. The drama often makes us believe that these phenomena are all important. I’m not saying that Javy Vazquez wasn’t a little bit afraid of men being on base. I’m saying its not important.  (Quote)

    OldFan Reply:

    Nice explanation, thanks, Ed.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Ed, two questions….

    (1)-How reliable, in your opinion, are the models, in SM, that analyze how a team would have done, if it hadn’t traded someone. Like–What would the 1960′s SF Giants have done if they hadn’t traded, say, Orlando Cepeda, or Felipe Alou.

    (2)-Am I to infer from your above comments, that in the whole history and breath of SB, that the variable of human factors are always neglible? Are there any areas, that have been looked at and found to be affected by human factors?

    Thanks  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    Interesting questions:

    1) Obviously, I believe in the fallacy of the predetermined outcome. Something may have made Cepeda or Alou good on the Giants that wouldn’t have happened on the Dodgers. Bur for the most part, I think we can plug in their statistics (and statistics are really just a set of objective observations of human behavior), and assume they would have done that on their teams, adjusting for parks and stuff.

    2) So, I’d like to clarify. I’m not saying that players are complete robots and aren’t affected by human factors. I’m saying that human factors are incredibly unpredictable, and are a really tough way to accurately analyze a frame. They are unpredictable for a lot of reasons – information asymmetries, the strangeness of the way humans work, complexity – and therefore making any kind of generalization off of them is really hard. Statistics are objective observations of human behavior, defined rigidly and checked many times over. With some mathematical adjustments, we can adjust the numbers for context and get a pretty good explanation for action. We can’t do that with human factors – a broad and often difficult to define category – without some serious psychological science, which we can’t do.

    Baseball is unique among sports because of the level of information recording. Each pitch is a single event, and we know a lot about what happened during the event (and with today’s technology, we know exactly what happened to the baseball from the moment it leaves the pitcher’s hand to the moment its out of play), and this gives us a ridiculously awesome set of data. I don’t know of any statistical analysis that can approach the level of accuracy that we get in baseball. Economics, psychology, political science, etc rely on a lot of assumptions about the validity of the numbers they process. Baseball can account for literally everything.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    Ed, What is the best book on SM–one that explains the philosophies and concepts employed, etc, and latest advances in methologies? I’ve been reading hardball times, and a couple of other sites occassionally, for a number of yrs now,and so, am somewhat familiar with everything, but I have many questions and want something for an overall veiw. Thanks, Tom  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    EJ Fagan Reply:

    I’d definitely start with Moneyball. Besides being a great and influential book about baseball, its really well written and appeals to even non-baseball fans.

    The Fielding Bible by John Dewan for defense is the gold standard. I’d also recommend “Baseball Between The Numbers” and “Mind Game” by Baseball Prospectus.

    But really, sabermetrics is a big label assigned to a lot of people doing a lot of different things. But those are good places to start.  (Quote)

    classicsteve Reply:

    All excellent choices. If I may interject, I might also take a look at “The Book:Playing the Percentages” by Tango, Lichtman and Dolphin for a view of where SM is today. Also, it might be beneficial to track down one or more of Bill James’ “Baseball Abstracts”from the late 1970s and 1980s. Though a lot of James’ early work has been surpassed by the more advanced metrics put forth by guys with a stronger mathematical background, he was the pioneer in using statistical analysis to challenge prevailing baseball wisdom and wrote in a manner which is somewhat easier to follow.  (Quote)

  10. OldFan: I agree 100% on keeping Montero. I would really like to see this kid come up and slug in a Yankee uniform.I (like everybody else) have a few years of emotional investment in Joba and Hughes, and wouldn’t like to see them go. Joba is the bigger character, and he’s likeable because he wears his emotions on his sleeve.
    So, Hughes, Romine, Melky or Gardner, maybe 1 or 2 other guys (we have a lot of good prospects, right now). You’ve got something working.I was half-kidding about RH calling the GM. But, Hallady is a special case in Toronto. Sure, a GM can’t let run-of-the-mill players dictate things, and they don’t. But, Halladay is a revered figure. Potential HOF, a guy who has shown loyalty to the organization, and the city, in the past, by taking a contract extention without any acrimony. He gives it his all, every time he takes the mound, and he has done everything he personally could possibly do to make Toronto a winner.He is a special case. He is one, if he had a preferrence, I’m sure the brass in Toronto would listen reverently and do what they could to accomodate him.
    This is actually happening. Cito Gaston recently was talking about Roy, and while I can’t remember the verbatim quotes, it was something like—We owe it to Roy to trade him to a team that he wants. He has done everything we asked of him, etc. It sort of sounded like his wants were trying to be met.Now, all of Toronto has resigned themselves to the fact that he is leaving, because he wants to play in the post season in the last third of his career. Also, 2 weeks ago, in all the papers, was a statement that he would waive his no trade clause to go to the Yankees. This is the only public statement like this, that I am aware of. I’msure that he said it privately for other teams.Net result–I’m getting good vibes that the Yankees are right in there, and are thinking what they can give up.As far as the Toronto GM lookin bad. This could be managed. He would need to keep working close with the owner, and his boss, and they can manage how they present it to the press and public. I think the leaks have already started.
    The only thing is that the Phillies are still right there, too.I think
    if they want a chance to beat us next year in the Series, they better get him.  

    They don’t owe it to Halladay to trade him… They owe it to themselves to not get screwed on a deal! Halladay isn’t willing to stay there after next year and if they can’t get what they want they would be better off keeping him them trading him for a reliever (Joba) a mediocre starter (Hughes) a pinch runner (Gardner) or a defensive 4th outfielder (Melky) if the only real prospect they were getting back is an A ball catcher (Romine).

    I’m sorry I just don’t see us having enough to pull off this deal without Montero involved… I know if it were reversed and I was a Blue Jays fan (thank god I’m not) then I would rather keep Halladay rather than trading him to the Yankees for anyone other than Montero… Especially now that the Yankees don’t have Austin Jackson because Gardner and Melky don’t carry a candle to his trade value.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    OldFan Reply:

    C’mon, Chris, you know that these 4 young Yankees are better than you just described, so you could make a point. You’ve described them better yourself in recent days.

    Every team in baseball would to love to have them.

    Just for the fun of it, I’ll describe them another way….

    Hughes–Young fireballer (mid-90′s)with 3 good pitches,Previous starting experience, with flashes of high excellence, including long relief in the post season. Projected as a potential #1 or #2.
    In past year, after going to the pen mid season because of team need, merely became the BEST 8th inning set up guy in all Baseball.

    Gardner–very good fielding CF (skill position), with outstanding speed. Desired by numerous teams for try at starting in CF. Will be among league leaders in SB’s if played full time.

    Melky–Merely the starting CF for a WS champion. Good fielder, strong arm. Shows propensity for clutch hits. May be on verge of breakout yr.

    Romine–Higher rated in pure catching skills than Montero. Has been .300+ hitter in minors. Top prospect.

    MLB is valuing young talent higher, right now, as it probably ever did.

    Now you don’t need to come back with their negatives. I know that you know them. And I think that you know that I know. lol

    Have a good night–good discussions.

    We’ll see what happens on Halladay.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  11. EJ Fagan: How reliable are your eyes? Everyone’s eyes (well trained, well paid eyes) said Dustin Pedroia wouldn’t hit in the majors. Eyes can be wrong. David Wells looked fat, but the reality was he was a tremendous athlete. And those are much more frequent observations than Javy Vazquez being afraid of a base stealer.Baseball is a game that dramaticizes the individual moment. That’s why I love it. In a close game, you hang on every pitch, and because of that you have time to think about all these different phenomena going on in front of you. The drama often makes us believe that these phenomena are all important. I’m not saying that Javy Vazquez wasn’t a little bit afraid of men being on base. I’m saying its not important.  

    EJ seriously go away! I don’t want hear about how my eyes are wrong or how my opinion some how means les because I’m rude to people… I don’t care!

    I don’t like Vasquez… He isn’t a good AL pitcher…. and he does get terrified when runners get on base!

    The Pedroia example doesn’t even make sense… Eyes said he couldn’t make it in the bigs while he was in the minors… I saw Vasquez get terrified while pitching for the Yankees! Not in Triple A somewhere.

    You won’t convince we I’m wrong about Vasquez so move on to the next person or subject.

    ROFL! Your mood or demeanor doesn’t matter in sports is what you just said! You just voided your opinion to me!

    You know fall into the “mind doesn’t matter” in sports fan category… The people that think only talent matters and don’t take into consideration anything has to do with someones personality in the sport itself and that ridiculous.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  12. In the end, I doubt Jays get a huge package for Doc anyway.Of course they will take less to get him out of the AL, no matter what they say in public.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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