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Roy Halladay: The Next Angel Ace

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There's been a lot written and said about the possible trade of Roy Halladay by the Toronto Blue Jays.  One of the more persistent rumors has Halladay coming to Anaheim in a deal involving the Angels top prospect Brandon Wood.  Put me firmly in the camp of "Trade For Halladay", even if Wood has to be the centerpiece of the Halos' offer.  Here's why:

Pros:

  • Durability - Halladay has hit the disabled list 5 times in his career, most recently this season when he suffered a right groin strain causing him to miss the minimum 15 days.  The other four times:

    05/11/07 - 15 day to have his appendix removed (missed 20 days) - non pitching injury.
    07/09/05 - 60 day with a fractured fibula (missed 85 days) - broke bone in his leg after being hit by line drive.
    07/17/04 - 60 day with a right shoulder strain (missed 66 days)
    05/28/04 - 15 day with right shoulder soreness (missed 15 days)
  • Performance - Since 2002, Halladay has finished in the top 5 in CY Young votes 4 times (winning it in 2003), while posting a WAR (wins above replacement) of 46.8 and dollar value of $165.7 million.  This is how he compares to some other, top-of-the-line starters over the same period:
      WAR Value ($M)
    Halladay 46.8 165.7
    Jo. Santana 41.6 146.5
    Sabathia 38.3 142.0
    Lackey 28.9 103.5
    Zambrano 26.7 94.0
    Peavy 25.6 95.3
    Haren 24.8 100.3

    Over the past 5 seasons, he's posted a 74-30 record (.712 winning %) while compiling an ERA+ of 145 and a WHIP of 1.100.   

  • The Angels need him -

    Getting to the play-offs
    After having 3/5th of their starting rotation open the season on the disabled list, the Angels have been in a see-saw battle throughout the season with the Texas Rangers for the A.L. West division lead.  Through the first half of the 2009 season, the Angels have used 12 different starting pitchers (compared to 7 last season) and have not seen Ervin Santana return to his 2008 form as he continues to battle elbow problems.  Once steady Joe Saunders has been awful his last 8 starts, going 2-2 with an ERA of 6.65 while surrendering an astronomical 12 home runs.  During those 8 starts, Saunders' ERA has risen from 3.26 to 4.65

    Adding Halladay to the Angels staff will remove the need for rookies (O'Sullivan, Rodriquez, and Ortega) or journeymen (Palmer and Loux) to complete the rotation, increasing the club's chances of winning every 5th day and improving their chances of making the post season.  During the last 3 seasons, Halladay has posted these second half numbers:  19-12, 3.14 ERA, 65 BB, 216 SO and 1.187 WHIP in 306.2 innings.

    The Play-offs
    If the season were to end today, the Angels would be hosting the New York Yankees (wild card), while the Red Sox would play the Tigers.  In a 5 game division series, the Angels would feature a starting rotation of Halladay/Lackey/Weaver matching up to the Bomber's Sabathia/Burnett/Pettitte.  Over the last 3 seasons (2007-2009), Halladay has gone 7-1 against the Yankees, with an ERA of 2.58 in 83.2 innings.  Additionally, if the series were to go further than 3 games, Halladay's second start would be in New York where he's compiled a 2.27 ERA with a 2-1 record.

    Once the Angels beat the Yanks, most likely they'd be facing the Red Sox again, but this time in the ALCS.  Halladay has been somewhat inconsistent against Boston, going 4-5 with a 4.13 ERA since 2007.  However, last season Halladay posted a very good 2.56 ERA, winning 3 of 5 decisions.

  • He's cheap - Halladay is owed the remainder of this season's salary of $14.25M and $15.75M for 2010.  Compared to the following pitchers:
      2009 ($M) 2010 ($M)
    Halladay 14.25 15.75
    Jo. Santana 20.0 21.0
    Sabathia 14.0 23.0
    Lackey 9.0  
    Zambrano 17.75 17.875
    Peavy 15.0 15.0
    Haren 7.5 8.25
  • Cons:

    • Halladay turned 32 this past May.
       
    • Brandon Wood may have to be included in any deal for Halladay - Brandon Wood has the potential to be a very good player...the type of player the Angels organization has needed for the past couple seasons; a power-hitting, middle-of-the-order run producer.  However, the key word is potential.  He has not proven to be that hitter Halo fans have craved during his brief major league call-ups, although he's displayed enormous talent in the minors.  What will happen if Wood becomes a full-time player?  Will he become Troy Glaus or Dallas McPherson?
       
    • If Halladay is traded to the Angels, the Angels may not be able to afford to re-sign any other free agents which could include John Lackey and Chone Figgins.
       
    • Acquiring Halladay doesn't address the glaring need the Angels have in their bullpen.  By dealing Wood, the Angels will limit their depth from which they can trade for a much-needed reliever.

    Summary:

    If the Angels can swing a deal for a #1 starter such as Halladay, even at the expense of including Wood in the deal, I think the Angels have to make the trade if they are serious about their 2009 World Series chances.