Monday, July 20, 2009

Roy Halladay not coming to the Mets (updated)

Is there a Doc in the house?

According to Jon Heyman, the Mets rejected an offer from the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay, where the Mets would have given up Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, and Ruben Tejada.

Hm. How should we judge this one? Let's go through the facts:
  • Roy Halladay is one of, if not the best, pitchers in baseball.
  • He wants out of Toronto and to pitch for a team that can get to the postseason, where he's never been.
  • The Mets are in dire straits, with a gigantic payroll, no offense, no bench, one (excellent) starting pitcher, no other reliable starters, and a good-but-shaky bullpen
  • The extent of the Mets' injuries and the possibility of any stars returning soon are up in the air, but it certainly can't be described as "hopeful" or "likely" or "suck my dick, Omar." Okay, the last one, maybe.
  • Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, and Bobby Parnell have all shown promise, but certainly don't qualify as no-doubt keepers; and Ruben Tejada is some minor-league shortstop named Ruben Tejada (who may very well be good, but still).
Of course, there's the whole Don't Mortgage Your Future for an Aging Pitcher camp, which is fair and relevant. Halladay is 32 years old, getting on in years. So there's that, but also this: A) getting out of the A.L. East and B) switching to the National League would both certainly help him. The Mets would be guaranteed his services for the rest of this year and 2010. And next year, ideally, Reyes and Beltran will be back, Delgado gone for sure, and Maine, Pelfrey and (sigh) Perez will have an additional year on their resumes. A starting rotation (on paper) of Johan, Halladay, Maine, Pelf, and Ollie is top-heavy in a good way, with the back end hopefully not bad enough to destroy the team's hopes, and maybe good enough to dominate.

So how valuable are Fernando Martinez et al? Well, we just don't know, do we? But we do know, thanks to the brilliant Dave Cameron at Fangraphs, how valuable a season-and-a-half of Roy Halladay is:

"The market value for wins took a tumble on the low end last year, but at the high end, teams were still willing to pay around $5 million per win for premium free agents. Based on that, we’d say that Halladay’s fair market value is something like $30 to $35 million per season. However, those $5 million per win contracts were all long term deals, which carry extra risk to the organization and therefore pull down the annual average value that teams are willing to pay. With only a 15 month commitment, the long term risk with Halladay is substantially lower, and teams should (and will) pay a premium for that risk avoidance.

So, for a Cy Young contender only under contract through 2010, $5.5 million per win is probably a more accurate number to use. That puts Halladay’s market value between $33 and $38 million per year.

If we settle on $35 million as a middle ground, which puts him around a +6.5 win pitcher, we then [see] Halladay’s value through the end of his current contract is about $52 million - a full year of 2010 plus a half year of 2009. But, you can’t forget about the fact that he’s very likely to be a Type A free agent at the end of 2010, and the acquiring team would be able to recoup two quality draft choices if they didn’t re-sign him as a free agent [which] is around $8 million or so.

$52 million for Halladay’s performance + $8 million for the draft picks = $60 million in total value. He will be paid $22 million over that time frame, so 60-22 = $38 million.

To acquire the Jays ace, teams should be expected to surrender something like $40 million in value.

What does $40 million in value look like? Something like three terrific prospects who are not that far from the majors. No one’s giving up players from the Matt Wieters/David Price mold, but it’s going to take several players from that second prospect tier, the top 25-50 type guys.

Phillies fans - that’s Dominic Brown, Kyle Drabek, and Carlos Carrasco.

Mets fans? Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores, and Jenrry Mejia.

You get the idea. If the Blue Jays trade Roy Halladay, they’re going to ask for the moon. And they should. He’s worth it."

So yeah, it looks like the Mets would have to give up one of those three top prospects, replacing the other two with Niese (so?) and Tejada (meh) plus Parnell (whom I like, but am not attached to) in order to acquire this amazing pitcher.

My feeling is that they should do this trade, but the X factor, I guess, is the Wilpons and exactly how much money Bernie Madoff stole from them. Taking on Halladay's contract and losing those cheap players is a huge financial trade-off, no doubt, and we can't discount that element. But one more bit to toss in would be this -- if the Mets get him, then that means the Phillies don't get him.

The way I see it: Halladay's worth it, at least in terms of that thing that baseball teams should want more than anything to do: win.

UPDATE: Well, maybe Minaya didn't reject it after all.


Side Bar said...

yeah, I said this morning that this was a no-brainer. Sabathia and Burnett made the Yanks instant contenders for the WS this year (and, after shirking some rough injuries, they are now in first place). Mets would effectively have the same model for 2010.

And by the way, with Halladay and second-half Santana, I won't even write-off the 2009 team completely.

Still, I do not think the Jays would or should do this.

Open Bar said...

That's the thing -- getting Halladay wouldn't just be about next year, it would be maybe the one thing that could make the Mets a legitimate playoff contender this year. With Halladay and Santana -- two #1 starters on any team -- the Mets don't even need an average offense to battle for the wild card. Plus, it would give us a leg up in terms of negotiating an extension.

As long as Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Santana and Krod are signed through the next few years, adding a guy like Halladay makes us deadly.

But somehow this whole thing sounds like a tease. And as if we Met fans needed to be told this: Don't get your hopes up.