The Blue Jays came out of the trading deadline with the best pitcher in baseball, not only for the rest of this season but also next, and yet the consensus among media pundits was to assign them to the "losers" column in their unofficial scorekeeping. Why? Because the media pundits were made to expect a trade of
So what did people expect? That the Blue Jays should lower their asking price on the best pitcher in baseball when they didn't have to move him in the first place? Would compromising when they didn't have to do so put them in the "winners" category? Ownership really didn't want to dump such a popular franchise player, anyway.
"We said all along the only way we would trade Roy Halladay would be if another club made it worthwhile," Toronto GM
"People say we're losers? Then they don't understand the purpose of what we're doing. This was not a salary dump. We didn't have to move him. Taking flat-out minor leaguers in a package for Roy Halladay is something that would have been a lot harder to tell your fans instead of keeping the best pitcher in baseball."
Ricciardi again said he now expects to keep Halladay for 2010 -- no offseason shopping -- though if the Blue Jays are playing under .500 next July, Halladay will be the
Truth is, the Phillies weren't about to trade a Double-A pitcher (
The Blue Jays did succeed with one deal: by accommodating
Toronto is not Cleveland, with its budget problems, Pittsburgh, with an organizational model that has been a complete failure, Kansas City, which is awful but still wastes money on second-tier journeymen who don't know how to win, or San Diego, which will check out of the contending business for the next couple of years until its farm system improves. Toronto's problem is that it is a good team in the wrong division. "Good isn't enough," Ricciardi said. "You have to be great."
The Blue Jays have won between 83 and 88 games seven times in the previous 11 years, have a winning record in that span with more wins than the Cubs, Diamondbacks and a dozen other teams -- and still didn't sniff the postseason. Eight National League teams made the playoffs in that time with 88 or fewer wins.
Toronto, even with Halladay, is a longshot to get to 94 wins next year, barring breakouts by Encarnacion and
• The Red Sox have been great about getting out from under players before they age -- until now. Boston absolutely had to make the deal for
So it goes in today's game, as the actuarial tables get rewritten. Only six players 36 or older have played enough to qualify for the batting title, and only four of them actually play in the field:
• The Pirates embraced the proper philosophy when they fully committed to younger players without worrying about their fans getting all weepy about losing complementary-type veterans who are not core-quality players of a championship team. But the jury will be out for a while on the execution of that strategy. Pittsburgh seems to be loading up on former "name" prospects who haven't been as good as advertised:
• Get ready for another cold winter. Anybody else notice the complete lack of contract extensions signed this year? The union has, which is why most people expect a collusion charge is coming. The Pirates gave the extension idea a go with
By the way, Rodriguez now has more at-bats as a Yankee than he did as a Mariner.