The Yankees recently called the Blue Jays to express interest in superstar pitcher
If that's a positive development for the World Series champs, the twist is that they might be battling the rival Red Sox for the star pitcher who's well-known as a Yankee killer, as his 18-6 record against the Bronx Bombers attests.
Here is the most obvious reason the Yankees (or Red Sox) may now finally have a legit shot to trade for arguably baseball's best pitcher: New Toronto GM
Speaking generally about the concept of intra-division trades, Anthopoulos said by phone Tuesday, "This isn't the NBA where you're talking about one of five guys on the floor at all times ... If you have two trades that are identical, and one is in the division and one is outside, then it's easy to go outside the division. However, if the trade is better inside the division, I think you have to take a look at it. We have to do what's best for our organization."
Other GMs said they believe Anthopoulos also understands the Jays aren't ready to overtake the Yankees or Red Sox yet and has the full faith of upper management, who appeared ready to fire Ricciardi even before he botched the Halladay trade talks by not finding a suitable trade partner when his value was highest. Of course, the possibility also remains that the Jays could still hold Halladay until the summer, when his value would still be close to what it is now.
Last summer the Yankees never felt the urgency to make an offer for Halladay because they never felt Ricciardi would trade him to Boston. Back in July, Toronto was also asking for both
And here's yet another potential reason the Yankees (or Red Sox) might have an edge this time around: While Halladay's latest desires are not yet known (and agent
Halladay gave the Jays a lot of latitude last summer, as sources indicate he provided a nice-sized list of preferred teams with no stings attached. The preferred list was believed to include both the Yankees and Red Sox, as Halladay is thought to prefer staying in the East, training in Florida (he lives in Dunedin, Fla.) and -- most of all -- playing for a winner, which is another reason the Yankees and Red Sox could have the inside track here. The Phillies, who looked hard last summer at Halladay before turning to
Anthopoulos indicated via phone that the Jays generally prefer trades that are "clean" and "seamless," meaning they'd prefer to do a deal without giving prospective acquiring teams a window to negotiate an extension with traded players. But he didn't say whether he'd rule out a negotiating window, as Ricciardi did before him, and Anthopoulos sure isn't using Ricciardi as any sort of guideline. If anything, he's doing the opposite.
If windows are allowed this time, that would seem to favor the big-market teams' chances to land Halladay. As one GM said, "(Halladay) could use his no-trade clause as a way to get a Santana or (
With or without an extension, Halladay's trade value has been seriously diminished since last summer as his current deal would provide an acquiring team with only one year at a reasonable rate ($16 mil per), rather than one-plus (and two postseasons), before any possible expensive extension. With all the new variables, here are the possibilities for Halladay ...
1. Yankees: Even with
1A. Red Sox: One agent said the Red Sox seem even more motivated than ever. And they probably made the best offer for Halladay last summer (
2. Blue Jays: Team president
3. Phillies: They are a win-now team, and while GM
4. Angels: There's no evidence they're in the mix and are probably slightly more likely to take back
5. Mets: They've said they'll look into. But eventually, the likelihood is that they won't want to dedicate $46 million to two pitchers when they have other holes to fill (left field, catcher, bullpen, possibly second base).
6. Reds players: Some GMs haven't seen an urgency so far in the Reds to trade their high-priced players (
McGwire's rep is such that he gets less than 25 percent of Hall of Fame vote, and he was obviously a lot better player than that. With his flagging rep in mind, McGwire is expected to speak publicly about his past in coming weeks. The belief is that he will do it sometime before the holidays, but it's probably hard to pin down a virtual hermit on an exact date for coming clean.
• Around a dozen teams have inquired about versatile
• No shocker
• Congrats to