Roy Halladay Rumors

Phillies Notes: Rodriguez, Ruiz, Halladay

With Cliff Lee on the 60-day DL, 23-year-old Joely Rodriguez is now in the mix for a Phillies rotation job, Jake Kaplan of the Inquirer writes. The Phillies acquired Rodriguez from the Pirates for Antonio Bastardo in the offseason. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Kevin Slowey and Paul Clemens are also possibilities. Rodriguez is getting an opportunity he wouldn’t have gotten with the Pirates, who are deliberate with prospect promotions — Rodriguez posted a 4.84 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 134 innings at Double-A last year and has no Triple-A experience. Here’s more from the Phillies.

  • Catcher Carlos Ruiz will be key to the Phillies’ likely transition from a rotation built around Lee and Cole Hamels to one built around youngsters like Aaron Nola and Jesse Biddle, Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News writes. “I believe you help make them comfortable and they’re going to show what they’ve got,” says Ruiz. “That’s one key, I always try to, and Chase [Utley], Howie [Ryan Howard], too, that way you talk to these guys in different ways and do [your] part.” Ruiz has two years plus an option remaining on the contract, but there’s obviously the possibility that the Phillies could trade him, just as they traded Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd. Ruiz said he has spoken with his agent about that possibility but generally doesn’t worry about it much.
  • Roy Halladay joined Lee and Hamels in the Phillies’ dugout while visiting with his old team on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Halladay, who retired following the 2013 season and is considering a second career as a sports psychologist, says he can relate to how Lee must feel in light of his injury. “Any time you can’t go out and do what you’ve done your whole life, it’s a challenge,” says Halladay.

NL East Notes: Wheeler, Braves, Lee, Halladay

ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (Insider link) lists five spring transactions that ought to occur. Among them are trades involving two veteran Phillies players — Chase Utley and Jonathan Papelbon. While Papelbon has been discussed quite frequently this offseason, as has fellow hurler Cole Hamels, Utley has scarcely seen his name come up in rumors (and is only just returning to action after suffering a sprained ankle). Bowden also advocates an early-career extension for Christian Yelich of the Marlins

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • Injured Mets starter Zack Wheeler dealt with rather significant elbow pain last year, as GM Sandy Alderson has indicated and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News further reports. Per Martino, the team maintains publicly and privately that Wheeler’s UCL never was a matter of concern for the team, but he details some of the developments last year that raised red flags about the young righty’s health. Of course, as Martino is right to explain, there are not only many unknown details but also plenty of medical uncertainties in the world of pitching elbows.
  • The Braves are prepared to announce a deal with Comcast involving the team’s new ballpark and mixed-use development, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. It appears that the cable company will occupy office space and provide technology services for the controversial new facility.
  • Of course, that stadium opening is still years away, and the Braves are still working to resolve numerous roster matters before the start of the upcoming season. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman updates the situation in camp, writing that Jace Peterson appears to have the inside track on a 25-man spot, if not the starting gig at second base. The team has numerous infield and outfield slots still up for grabs.
  • The Phillies have insurance on Cliff Lee‘s contract and will have a chance to recover an unknown sum for the time he is expected to miss, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. That will not match the return the team had hoped to be able to achieve if a healthy Lee had turned into an attractive mid-season trade chip, of course. As part of his rest and rehab plan, Lee will not even throw a ball for several months. While the decision not to undergo surgery was announced a mutual one between team and player, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News tweets that all doctors consulted recommended surgery and that it was Lee’s decision not to pursue that option.
  • As Lee faces the possibility of retirement, former teammate Roy Halladay says he is interested in pursuing sports psychology as a second act, as Zolecki reports.

NL East Rumors: Zimmermann, Mets, Blevins, Braves

The Mets made a big splash this afternoon when they inked veteran starter Bartolo Colon to a two-year deal.  Here’s the latest out of the NL East..

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter links) asked Nationals GM Mike Rizzo if he’d consider trading Jordan Zimmermann.  The Nats have tried to extend Zimmerman twice and, like David Price of the Rays, he has two years of club control remaining.  “We’d certainly love to get something done with him. But like any premium guy on your team, if here is something that can’t be done, then you would think about a trade. But that’s the furthest thing from our minds,” Rizzo said.
  • Colon’s age and history allowed the Mets to land him at a reasonable price, tweets Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.  In Tim’s view, it’s easy to see him returning $20MM+ of value over the next two years. 
  • Jerry Blevins found out that he was traded from the Athletics to the Nationals around noon time, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson (on Twitter). He was initially shocked because, unlike our readers, he did not pay attention to any of the trade rumors going on.
  • The Braves were interested in Roy Halladay before he chose to retire and would like to add a veteran starter on a short-term deal, tweets Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.
  • Mets officials met with Ervin Santana‘s people, but that appears unlikely in the wake of the Colon signing, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The Phillies didn’t meet with Bronson Arroyo yet and while that doesn’t necessarily preclude a deal, others are more serious about him, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Roy Halladay To Retire

Roy Halladay is retiring from baseball, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Halladay will sign a one-day contract with the Blue Jays today so that he can announce his retirement from the game as a member of the Jays, adds Heyman (Twitter links).

Halladay-Roy

Halladay, 36, has been hampered by shoulder injuries in each of the past two seasons and underwent surgery to attempt to repair the issue in May 2013. He returned to the mound for the Phillies in late August and made six more starts but still wound up posting an uncharacteristic 6.82 ERA in his final, injury-riddled campaign.

Halladay, affectionately referred to as "Doc," spent the better portion of a decade as one of the greatest pitchers of his time. From 2001-2011, Halladay pitched an even 2300 innings and posted a stellar 2.98 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and a brilliant 1.6 K/9. Despite pitching in two of baseball's most hitter-friendly environments — Toronto's Rogers Centre and Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park — Halladay yielded just 0.7 homers per nine innings in that time as well.

That peak run for Halladay saw him pile up accolade after accolade; Doc was named to eight All-Star teams, won a pair of Cy Young Awards and added in five other Top 5 finishes in the Cy Young voting — most recently finishing runner-up in 2011. Halladay finished in the Top 10 in NL MVP voting in both 2010 an 2011 as well.

Perhaps most famously, Halladay will be remembered for firing a no-hitter in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series against the Reds, with a fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce being the lone plate appearance preventing him from a perfect game. Just five months prior, Halladay had hurled a perfect game against the Marlins during the regular season.

Halladay's sudden retirement brings to close a career that will finish with a 203-105 record, a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 2,749 1/3 innings pitched. Halladay's 67 complete games and 20 shutouts are a rarity in today's game of specialized bullpens, and they serve as a testament to the durability and mental acumen that allowed him to lead the league in innings pitched on four separate occasions. Baseball-Reference.com values his career at 65.6 wins above replacement, and Fangraphs is even more generous, rating him at 67.6 WAR. Halladay earned just shy of $149MM in his career, per Baseball-Reference.

Congratulations on a great career to one of the best of our generation, and best of luck in life after baseball, Roy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


NL Notes: Ibanez, O’Flaherty, Cardinals, Halladay

Earlier today, MLBTR posted a batch of notes from the National League West. Now, let's take a look at the other teams playing in the Senior Circuit:

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


Phillies Notes: Free Agency, Morse, Ruiz, Buck

Here's the latest from the City of Brotherly Love…


Crasnick On Cano, Tanaka, Price, Ellsbury

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick checked in with 21 general managers, assistant GMs, player personnel people, and scouts to get their take on some of the biggest storylines of the winter.  Here's a look at some of the highlights..

  • Almost everyone sees Robinson Cano staying put with 19 votes for the Yankees, one vote for the Dodgers, and one for the Cubs.  Nearly everyone sees Cano getting a seven- or eight-year deal worth $160MM-$230MM and no one expects him to approach the $300MM figure he was asking for from the Bombers earlier this year.  It should be noted that the GM that picked the Cubs said that he has no inside info to support that pick.
  • Nine execs see Masahiro Tanaka landing with the Dodgers while six chose the Yankees.  All but a handful of those surveyed think his payout will exceed the $60MM Yu Darvish got from the Rangers.  Tanaka is ranked as the top available pitcher by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
  • Seventeen of the 21 participants in the survey say David Price will get traded this winter.  Where will he land?  The Rangers got nine votes and the Dodgers got four nods with one vote each for the Nationals, Cardinals, Angels, and Astros.
  • Opinions were somewhat split on whether Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo fChoo will provide better value over the course of their next deals.  Twelve execs said Ellsbury, eight voted for Choo, and one GM declined to vote, saying that neither one will match what they get.
  • When asked to pick the best pitcher between Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and Ubaldo Jimenez, ten execs chose Garza.  Most seemed to agree that the lack of quality starting pitching available will lead to all three being overpaid.  One American League scout seemed to like Jimenez on some level but was skeptical of him long-term.  "Ubaldo has the best chance to give you impact in the short term, but I am not buying him over the course of 3-4 years," the scout said.
  • When asked which former Yankees prospect has a better chance of succeeding elsewhere with a change of scenery, Phil Hughes was the overwhelming choice over Joba Chamberlain.
  • Crasnick asked the execs which aging pitcher had the most left in the tank between Roy Halladay, Hiroki Kuroda, and Tim Hudson.  Kuroda had the backing of 12 people surveyed, Hudson got eight votes, and Halladay had just one exec in his corner.  "Maybe the chances of [Halladay] coming back aren't real good if you look at it objectively," a scout said. "But if the guy wants to [keep pitching] and be successful, I wouldn't put it past him."

Blue Jays Notes: Mottola, Santos, Catchers, Gose

The Blue Jays' decision to fire hitting coach Chad Mottola yesterday made him a curious scapegoat for the team's 2013 failures, opines Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Davidi points out that Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie (who hit .283/.346/.417 in the second half) all made positive strides under Mottola, who was in his first season as a Major League coach. Here's more on the Blue Jays…

  • Sergio Santos' contract no longer looks as team-friendly as it once did, but the Blue Jays aren't missing Nestor Molina, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Molina has struggled with the White Sox since being sent to Chicago in exchange for Santos, and Santos' final two months were healthy and dominant. Santos tells Nicholson-Smith that his goal for 2014 is to stay healthy, which will be a key if he's to have any chance at seeing his $6MM option exercised.
  • Starting pitching is still the team's top priority this offseason, but an upgrade at catcher has leapfrogged left field for the team's No. 2 priority, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm in his latest Blue Jays Inbox. Chisolm notes that the free agent market will be expensive and competitive and adds that the Jays are interested in Wilson Ramos of the Nationals, though he would be an expensive trade target himself (in terms of prospects). Still, Chisolm writes that GM Alex Anthopoulos "seems determined" to make an upgrade behind the dish.
  • Anthony Gose could slot into the fourth outfielder role that will open up with Rajai Davis' departure, but Chisolm notes that he's also one of the team's top trade chips. Gose could also move into a starting role should a starting outfielder be traded.
  • The Blue Jays felt that Emilio Bonifacio couldn't handle playing the infield on the turf at the Rogers' Centre due to his poor footwork and limited range, writes Chisholm, which is why they essentially gave him to the Royals. He'd have been non-tendered this winter, Chisholm adds.
  • Chisolm also addresses the free agent market, noting that the Jays aren't likely to break their policy of limiting free agent deals to five years this offseason and aren't likely to pursue a Roy Halladay reunion as they need more certainty in a starting pitching acquisition.

Phillies Not Ruling Out Halladay For 2014

It's been a forgettable pair of seasons and a sharp fall from his status as arguably the game's best pitcher for Roy Halladay. Halladay will carry a 6.82 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in just 62 innings into free agency this offseason, but Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters, including Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News, that he hopes Halladay has a future with the Phillies:

"I try not to think in absolutes with him. If we think he’s going to be a viable possibility for us, we’d like to try to bring him back. I’d like to think it’s not the last we’ll see of Doc."

Halladay's struggles began in 2012, as he was limited to just 159 1/3 innings of 4.49 ERA ball by a strained lat muscle that cost him nearly two months of action. This season, after trying to pitch through shoulder pain and barely cracking 90 mph with his fastball, Halladay gave in and underwent surgery in May. The operation removed bone spurs in addition to repairing both his rotator cuff and labrum.

Lawrence notes that Amaro conceded any deal for Halladay would have to be one in which both parties share the risk, or in other words, an incentive-laden deal. The Phillies already face uncertainty in their rotation beyond aces Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels; Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez projects to occupy one spot but hasn't thrown a Major League pitch before, and Kyle Kendrick saw his own season come to an end due to a shoulder injury.


Free Agent Faceoff: Josh Johnson vs. Roy Halladay

Heading into the offseason, we can be sure of seeing the usual collection of low-risk deals for formerly marquee free-agent starting pitchers. Last winter, the Pirates struck gold with a one-year, incentive-laden deal for Francisco Liriano, as he's generated 3.0 fWAR this season while making just $1MM. Though they'll require larger commitments, two starters hitting the free agent market this offseason, Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay, offer similar ace potential and are also likely to be had relatively cheaply. They're up next in our Free Agent Faceoff series.

When I asked last week in a poll, just 29 percent of you said the Blue Jays should extend Johnson a qualifying offer this offseason after an injury-marred 2013. This season was certainly a disappointing one for the right-hander, as his 6.20 ERA was the worst of his career if you ignore 2007, when he threw just 15 2/3 innings. However, I made the case that Johnson was among the most unlucky starters in baseball this season, as 18.5 percent of his fly balls went for home runs. That's likely to fall, as it's double his career mark of 8.2 percent.  When Johnson's healthy, he can be as dominant as any starter in baseball, as his lifetime 3.40 ERA attests to. He's just rarely healthy for a full season. Any acquiring team will hope that the 29-year-old can recapture some of his 2010 magic, when he managed an acceptable 183 2/3 innings and led the NL in ERA.

Halladay's 2013 mark of 6.71 ERA in 61 2/3 innings was one of several troubling statistics for the right-hander in 2013, a year that also saw his average two-seam fastball velocity fall to just 88.7 mph. That's a concerning figure for a 36-year-old who missed significant time with a shoulder injury. Halladay's 5.0 BB/9 rate and 1.8 HR/9 rate were also his highest since 2000, when he was in his early 20s. At this point in Halladay's career, we may just be seeing the decline of a pitcher whose right arm logged more than 1,400 innings over a six-year period from 2006-2011. However, there's also no ignoring the fact that he has two Cy Young Awards to his name. If Halladay can prove that he's healthy, that sterling resume is sure to loom large in the evaluation process for many clubs.

In Johnson and Halladay, we have two starters who succumbed to injuries in 2013 but are likely to draw significant interest as former top-of-the-rotation starters. Johnson has dominated in the past when healthy, and though he hasn't had the career Halladay has, he has youth on his side at age 29. Halladay is a much older 36, but he was also among the best pitchers in baseball over that 2006-2011 span. Who would you rather have?