Call them the Blew Jays. Because they blew the
Sure, the Jays still have Halladay, the best pitcher in baseball. But by all appearances it's a disappointed Halladay, who expected to be gone from Toronto by now.
And he's far from the only one who's displeased here. Toronto's fans didn't enjoy the shopping of Halladay. Plus, word is that some upper-level Jays people weren't too thrilled with how the shopping of Halladay was conducted. Nor should they be.
Halladay, who has veto power over trades with his full no-trade clause, is believed to have given Toronto an excellent opportunity to make it happen by providing a decent-sized list of teams he'd approve. That list has yet to be revealed, but sources who have spoken to the Blue Jays say they believe Halladay included a nice batch of teams that was heavy on the East and Midwest and included multiple teams that could afford him and also had the prospects to make it happen.
Halladay certainly tried hard here.
One person who heard about the list said he believes Halladay likely would have approved the Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Yankees and Cardinals, plus perhaps the Cubs and Brewers. Two people with connections to Halladay believe that while Halladay much preferred to stay in the East and train in Florida he still might have OK'ed both Los Angeles teams, as well. But that's just a guess.
Those people both also believed that the prospect-rich Phillies, a first-place team in the NL that trains right near Halladay's winter home in Dunedin, Fla., were Halladay's first choice. And that's the deal that should have been made.
Toronto also talked extensively to Texas, another team with the prospects to make it happen. It was worth a try, but that one was a long shot from the start. While those teams agreed that $5 million would go to financially strapped Texas to pay part of Halladay's contract and also agreed on part of the package going to Toronto (it is believed top hitting prospect
The spinning continued later when Ricciardi was quoted on Sunday in the
In any case, the real game changer for the Blue Jays in the Halladay trade talks actually came well before the Texas talks, though, when the Phillies decided to make their deal with the Indians for Cliff Lee, a terrific backup plan that killed Toronto's best hope. On the day of the Lee trade, Ricciardi said that the Lee going to Philly didn't change a thing for them. But it did. It changed the whole game because it took away their best option.
The Phillies gave up prospects
Here's a closer look at how the Jays blew it ...
Some baseball people were surprised to begin with that the Jays were giving Ricciardi the go-ahead to make the deal. One competing exec said, "GMs don't usually get the chance to rebuild twice, not without making the playoffs once." But he was indeed given the OK to make a deal. This was no sham. He tried to make a trade. He just shot too high (and may have shot off his mouth once too often).
Ricciardi is having an interesting tenure in Toronto. A longtime scout, he fired much of the scouting staff at the start. He will tell you he believes in a combination of scouts and stats, like all the good ones. In any case, he's run though a few plans. He's hired and fired
Ricciardi has maybe baseball's most difficult job. But at this point, one has to wonder how much longer he'll stay in that job.
• Padres GM
• According to the
• That list apparently didn't include Westmoreland, and some believe the multi-talented outfielder from neighboring Rhode Island was given a promise to stay along with a $2 million bonus (not bad for a fifth rounder) to forego a scholarship to Vanderbilt.
• Some teams talked about trying for both Gonzalez and
• The Angels, Rangers, Dodgers, Marlins and Yankees were among many, many others to inquire about the cost-efficient Bell ($1.255 million salary in 2009).
• Towers revealed in the WFAN interview that the Padres had a deal basically ready to go with the Braves involving
• Coincidentally, Atlanta is the one team that has a policy of no no-trade clauses. Towers said he may propose to his new owner
• The White Sox are saying they expect Peavy back pitching at the end of the month. But privately, they are hoping it's even a little sooner than that.
• Hard to believe
• This is a nice sendoff for