The Toronto Sun is reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays have entered into the sweepstakes for Ace Roy Halladay.
Upon hearing originally that Halladay was available, the Rays and the Phillies seemed to have the best chances (as far as packages were concerned) of landing Halladay. Reports originally surfaced that they were looking for one active starter who had frontline potential, and a couple top 50 specs. Does Scott Kazmir, Wade Davis, and Reid Brignac make sense? To me it makes perfect sense.
After James Shields and Matt Garza I have zero confidence in the starting rotation. David Price is on and off, Andy Sonnastine has been miserable at times, and Scott Kazmir has never been a favorite of mine. Acquiring Halladay would make us the late season favorite to push for the Wild Card Spot in the AL.
For the Jays, acquiring Scott Kazmir for 10 mil in 2010 and 12 mil in 2011 with a club option for 2012 would seem to be the perfect chance to acquire a guy who has a chance to be a 1 or 2 starter at a very reasonable salary. Wade Davis has been dominant all year at AAA and would probably immediately join their rotation, he is MLB.Com’s 31st ranked Minor League Spec. He is 8 and 6 with a 3.22 ERA and 103 K’s in 114 innings pitched in Durham. Brignac is MLB.com’s 32nd ranked prospect. He seemingly has no chance to play anytime soon with Jason Bartlett looking like the best player on the Rays Major League Roster. Even a chance to play 2nd base for Reid seems like a long shot with Willie Aybar and Ben Zobrist hitting the ball so well.
Brignac would immediately be the starting SS for the Rays, teaming him with Aaron Hill for a nice young MI combination. Scott Kazmir and Wade Davis would immediately headline the Jays rotation. Besides trading inside the division, that is a better package than even Philadelphia can offer, considering their main target, Kyle Drabek has some definite injury concerns.
As far as the impact Halladay could have on the Rays, I think it kind of goes without saying. A combo of Halladay, Shields and Garza is as good as any there is in the league. People might immediately say the Rays can’t afford Halladay and his 15.75 million dollar 2010 deal or afford to resign him, but I think that would be misguided at best. Taking out Kazmir’s 8 million dollar 2010 salary, Troy Percival’s 4 million dollar contract that ends this season and Chad Bradford’s 3.5 million dollar contract this season, the Rays would actually have a bit lower payroll next year (excluding arbitration increases) while losing some dead weight in the pitching staff and adding one of the top 5 pitchers in the game.
When I first heard that Halladay was available, I immediately called a good friend and said, if the Rays don’t at least make an exploratory call to the Jays, I will be very upset. It is so hard to maintain success in baseball, especially in the AL East, and we have some obvious holes on this team right now, one of which Halladay fills. I’m glad at least that exploratory part has been fulfilled.