Tag:Roy Halladay
Posted on: February 20, 2010 2:27 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2010 10:19 pm
 

Mets' Santana shows zip in first mound session

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- First workout of the spring for Mets pitchers and catchers Saturday, and probably the most notable thing of all was this: Ace Johan Santana threw a slider during his bullpen session.

Threw all of his pitches, in fact, and the man whose season ended with surgery to remove five bone chips after only 25 starts last summer walked off the Port St. Lucie practice fields with a big smile.

"His bullpen was real good," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "We noticed great extension that he didn't have last year. He feels real good about himself. We got to see the slider, which we didn't see much of last year. So he's in a very good spot right now."

Now it will be incumbent upon both the Mets and Santana to keep it that way. The club already has mapped out a careful schedule for him this spring, according to which he will not make his first Grapefruit League start until the second week of games.

The Mets think that a more conservative schedule will allow Santana to stay healthy while still preparing him to reach the 90-pitch range by opening day.

Manager Jerry Manuel made several references following the workout to keeping key players healthy and maybe slowing down some of the recovering Mets.

"Johan's really feeling well about himself," Manuel said, before adding of Santana and shortstop Jose Reyes: "We're almost going to have to pull the reins back. They're really getting after it.

"We don’t want to peak in February."

Sunblock Day? Wooo-hooo! Sun's out and temperature soared into the 70s today. Baseball weather is here.

Likes: Always one of the better guys in baseball, Johan Santana spent a long while signing autographs for Mets fans when he finished his workout Saturday. Lots of grateful fans. And one pitcher who is extremely grateful to be healthy again. ... Roy Halladay's work ethic is as good as there is in the game (he's been arriving at the Phillies' complex at 5:45 a.m. to get his workouts in) and Cole Hamels' description of him ("he's quiet but he doesn't make himself disappear") is perfect. ... The baseball newsstand at Baseball Think Factory, an excellent site and a great way to keep up with good stories and smart analysis. Plus, priceless smart alecky comments from the guys who run the shop, Jim Furtado and Repoz. ... Barefoot drive across the state of Florida on Friday was pleasant, zipping across Route 70 -- where I passed a place to go hunting for wild boar. I kept on cruising (and would have done so even had I been wearing proper footwear, for driving or hunting). ... The book Game Change is absolutely riveting. Authors Mark Halperin and John Heileman's insider account of the 2008 presidential election is fast-moving and stocked with terrific behind-the-scenes anecdotes. ... Can't get me enough grouper in Florida. The blackened grouper Caribbean style with black beans and rice was a winner the other night at the Abbey Road Bar and Grill in Jupiter, Fla. ... Gaslight Anthem's The '59 Sound is fabulous, one of the best discs I've obtained in the last few years (and a shout out to my hip bro for the birthday gift). Whip-smart lyrics and full-bore rock 'n' roll with no coming up for air.

Dislikes: Love the fact that we've reached the point where baseball feels it must formally tell players not to bring guns and knives into the clubhouses. Not.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It's funny how the night moves
"Humming a song from 1962
"We were always waiting... always waiting
"We were always waiting for something to happen
"I saw tail lights last night In a dream about my first wife
Everybody leaves and I'd expect as much from you
I saw tail lights last night in a dream about my whole life
Everybody leaves, so why, why wouldn't you?"

-- Gaslight Anthem, Great Expectations

 

Posted on: February 18, 2010 3:54 pm
 

Anger management with Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player who never lived up to the hype in '09, is working hard this spring on perfecting his change-up and developing a cut fastball.

But what's really important, according to his pitching coach, is that Hamels control his demeanor in 2010.

"The biggest problem with Cole last year, in my opinion, was that he pitched with a lot of anger," Rich Dubee said Thursday after the first workout of the spring for Phillies pitchers and catchers. "With himself, mostly.

"He's such a perfectionist. You don't pitch with anger, especially with yourself."

Dubee and various Phillies, including veteran lefty Jamie Moyer, talked with Hamels about it as '09 rolled on, but once the struggles began with a sore elbow in the spring and then spilled over into lack of results on the field, Hamels never could catch up. He finished 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA -- more than a run higher than his 3.09 ERA in '08.

"His approach wasn't very good last year," said Dubee, who added that "it's been addressed."

Hamels' anger and frustration was evident in the way he snapped at the ball on the field when it was being returned from the catcher, and in the way he stomped around on the mound at various times between pitches after serving up a key hit or missing on an important pitch.

"I think that's where the expectations come into play," said Hamels, who never came close to living up to Cy Young predictions in '09. "You have a lot more expectations, and I let that get to me. I became emotional instead of relaxing and letting it happen."

Hamels laughed when told Dubee said part of the fix might be in Hamels viewing video of his churlish behavior.

"I was there. I remember those times," he said. "I don't need to watch the video. I understand what I did wrong."

Among other things, Hamels started throwing much earlier this winter than he has in the past. Dubee said that's evident simply from watching him play long toss during workouts this week.

"You watch him long toss, and he's far beyond where he's ever been in spring training," said the pitching coach, who added that he's quite impressed with Hamels because, after struggling last year, Hamels "could have gone home and sulked."

"I'm a lot more in shape arm-wise than in recent years," Hamels said.

With new ace Roy Halladay aboard, if Hamels pitches the way the Phillies know he can, then they again think they'll be the team to beat in the NL this season.

"I think what he needed was a breath of fresh air in the off season," Dubee said.

Sunblock Day? Yes because the sun was out, but what was really needed was a wind block. "I'll tell you something: I've got three shirts on," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said following Thursday's workout. "And I needed a jacket."


Likes: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel down 56 pounds from last year, proudly exhibiting his jeans in the clubhouse the other day and calling them "my Nutrisystem jeans". ... Now we see why Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti spurned interest by other organizations when they wanted to interview him when they had GM openings. Congratulations to Mark Shapiro's hard-working assistant on being named GM-in-waiting Thursday. And given the cratering economy and attendance, Godspeed, Chris. ... Chien-Ming Wang, Washington National. ... How about the double-overtime Notre Dame-Louisville game Wednesday night, a 91-89 Cardinals win? What a great, great game. ... Early Seger Volume 1 is a terrific -- and lacking -- CD. Lacking because, Bob Seger has got to have far more in the vaults than one small disc. Somebody needs to talk with Seger's manager, Punch Andrews, and scold him to release not only more music, but a DVD of Seger's last concert tour a couple of years ago. That there isn't more available -- video and audio -- from one of the all-time masters is criminal. ... The grilled grouper with mango salsa at Bonefish Grill the other night was very tasty.

Dislikes: Get ready for some serious lobbying for a new stadium for Tampa Bay. Rays president Stuart Sternberg said on local radio the other day that the club's $70 million payroll definitely will be chopped next year and insinuated that it would be below $60 million. Commissioner Bud Selig followed that up with an appearance at the annual Florida Governor's Baseball Dinner on Wednesday, during which he said "It almost boggles my mind that there's a debate. They need a new stadium."

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It may be raining
"But there's a rainbow above you"

-- The Eagles, Desperado

Posted on: January 5, 2010 9:14 pm
 

Big Unit last of the 300-game winners? Not likely

Mark it down: Randy Johnson's retirement, January 5th, 2010.

There goes the last of the 300-win pitchers?

With closers and specialists and hyperactive managers and increasingly fragile starting pitchers who too often don't even stick around long enough to earn decisions, pundits have been predicting for years that pitchers who win 300 games soon will become as extinct as dinosaurs.

So is Johnson the last Tyrannosaurus Rex to stalk the earth?

With his retirement Wednesday (and assuming that Tom Glavine, at 305 wins, is finished), the list of the game's winningest active pitchers now reads like this:

1. Jamie Moyer, Phillies, 258.

2. Andy Pettitte, Yankees, 229.

3. Pedro Martinez, free agent, 219.

4. John Smoltz, free agent, 213.

5. Tim Wakefield, Red Sox, 189.

At 37, Pettitte and Pedro are the youngest pitchers of the lot. Of the 30-to-35 set, Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (32) probably has the best odds to reach 300, and he's at 148. Which means, if he averages 18 wins a season, for the next eight-plus summers, he'd be in position to win 300 when he turns 40.

Of course, now that Halladay is in the NL, he easily could average 30 wins a season and win his 300th six seasons from now (attention, that was a joke).

While it's surely going to be several years before we see another 300-game winner, I find it hard to believe that we'll never see one again. Two younger pitchers who are well-positioned to make a run: The Yanks' CC Sabathia is just 28 and has 136 wins, and the White Sox's Mark Buehrle is just 30 and is at 135.

While reporting a long feature on the Big Unit early last season during his quest for 300, I talked to one coach and one young pitcher who had completely different views on the subject:

"That's something that's never going to be done again," Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa told me. "Now you've got your set-up men, your closers, starting pitchers are out of the game after 110 pitches even if they have their good stuff.

"I think if a starting pitcher wins 200 games, that will be the next milestone."

Mets left-hander Johan Santana, with 122 victories at the age of 30, isn't so sure.

"I guarantee you that if you go back and ask Randy when he had [116] wins if he thought he'd get to 300, he'd say, 'No, no way,'" Santana told me. "You don't know what your future is. There's a lot involved in winning a game. There's a lot involved that has to go right. You have to pitch well, the team has to score runs, the bullpen has to do its job. Now, imagine that 300 times."

When Johnson was Santana's age -- 30 -- he had only 78 wins.

So if you're going to insist that we'll never again see another 300-game winner, proceed with caution.

Posted on: December 16, 2009 6:51 pm
 

Blockbuster breakdown

Nine players, four teams, two Cy Young winners, one three-minute breakdown of what undoubtedly will be THE blockbuster trade of the offseason:

Seattle

Gets: Lefty ace Cliff Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young winner and ace pitcher in this fall's World Series.

A clear winner in the deal, in conversations with scouts and executives. Especially in the context of what general manager Jack Zduriencik already has done with the Mariners last year (improved their pitching and defense) and this winter (signed sparkplug Chone Figgins). How would you like to have Lee and Felix Hernandez as Nos. 1 and 2 in your rotation?

At 85-77 after losing 101 games in 2008, the Mariners were baseball's most improved team last year. With Lee and Figgins, that trend continues and should make Seattle instant contenders in the AL West.

The Mariners gave up three prospects in the deal, none of whom is projected to land anywhere near Cooperstown. Lee is a free agent following the 2010 season which, as colleague Danny Knobler notes, could make Seattle winners in one of two ways: Either he can pitch them into the playoffs, or, if the Mariners pull a surprise and flop early, they can trade him in July and probably receive better prospects than they traded.

Philadelphia

Gets: Roy Halladay from Toronto, prospects Phillippe Aumont (right-handed pitcher), outfielder Tyson Gillies (outfielder) and Juan Ramirez (right-handed pitcher), and $6 million from Toronto.

The overriding question being asked by baseball people everywhere in the aftermath of this exchange of Cy Young winners is this: For Philadelphia, back-to-back NL champs with an eye toward a third consecutive World Series appearance in 2010, are the Phillies better off with Halladay than Lee?

Well, are they? It's a very close call, but the answer has to be yes. Lee has bad back-to-back sensational seasons, but Halladay not only has done it longer, but he's the big, powerful horse that most often comes up as the answer to this question: If you could pick one pitcher to win the most important game of your season, whom would it be?

It may seem absurd to go against Lee, who was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts for the Phillies this year (including 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in the World Series). But while Lee beat the Yankees in October, Halladay has made a career of doing it: Lifetime, Halladay is 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA against the Bronx Bombers.

Not that he'll be facing New York regularly in the NL East, but that's the point: In this game, right now, you measure yourself against the Yankees, and go from there. Halladay can handle them -- as Lee did -- in October. Meantime, Halladay should chew up the NL the way a Toro mows through tall grass.

The clincher, of course, is that the Phillies signed Halladay to a three-year extension with an option for year No. 4, while Lee is headed for free agency. Halladay, for the Phillies, is a better answer both short-term and, especially, long-term.

Toronto

Gets: Three former No. 1 draft picks, right-hander Kyle Drabek (from the Phillies), catcher Travis d'Arnaud (from the Phillies) and  third baseman Brett Wallace (from Oakland).

Take good notes, because this is the last you'll be hearing from the Blue Jays for awhile. They should be nowhere hear contention in 2010. This trade is about stockpiling prospects and, from there, attempting to come up with a core group of controllable, young players who will mature roughly the same time.

It's a fine plan under Toronto's young (32) new architect, new GM Alex Anthopoulos. And whether it works or not, let's just say this up front: This Halladay deal likely will be Anthopoulos' signature moment as Jays' GM. If these prospects produce, he has a chance to look brilliant. If not, the Jays will become even less relevant.

Drabek is a power arm whom the Jays were looking at last summer in the Halladay talks with Philadelphia. Anthopoulos views him as an eventual front-of-the rotation type starter. The GM's hope for d'Arnaud is that he will develop into an All-Star catcher. And the Jays view Wallace as an eventual impact, middle-of-the-order hitter.

Anthopoulos is on record as calling Halladay the greatest player in Blue Jays' history, and to get only one pitcher back in a package for him seems awfully light. Odds are that he will not develop into half the pitcher Halladay is (and that's no knock against Drabek -- there aren't many youngsters who will develop into the next Halladay, or half a Doc).

The Jays do need a catcher and a third baseman. For them, the final evaluation of this deal likely is at least a couple of years away.

Oakland

Gets: Outfield prospect Michael Taylor from Toronto (via the Phillies).

The Athletics pretty much being the afterthought in this deal, good, sneaky work by GM Billy Beane to move in and snag an outfielder he took a liking to awhile ago.

Why it took so long: For one thing, the Phillies required a negotiating window to enter into a multi-year contract agreement with Halladay, who was on track for free agency following the 2010 season.

Also, and this is why you hear of so many trades anymore that take several days to be announced, contracts are so big now that medical reports never have been so important. Teams anymore are incredibly diligent about making sure the players they receive are healthy, risking humiliation if they don't. It's why the deal between Boston and Texas sending third baseman Mike Lowell to the Rangers essentially was agreed upon eight days ago and still hasn't been completed -- the Rangers are triple-checking Lowell's medical reports.

In this deal, there was concern from Toronto on third baseman Brett Wallace's shoulder due to a previous injury.

Lastly, rules state that the Commissioner's Office needs to approve any trade in which $1 million or more changes hands. That's pretty much become a formality anymore, but it still slows down the process.

What got the deal done: Several facets, but the overriding one was the fact that Halladay clearly wanted to pitch for the Phillies. No small part of that is because Halladay's home is in Odessa, Fla., not far from Toronto's spring training base in Dunedin, Fla. Which is only about 10 minutes from Philadelphia's spring base in Clearwater. Halladay essentially gave the Phillies the old "hometown discount" in signing on the dotted line for $20 million a year and waiving his free agency rights next winter. Remember, CC Sabathia set the bar last winter by signing with the Yankees for seven years and an annual average value of $23 million a season. Next to that, Halladay looks downright generous in the deal he gave the Phillies.

Winners: Seattle, no question. Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik, who, in barely more than a year on the job, has established himself as one of the most creative minds in the game. Philadelphia, which stands an excellent chance to play in its third World Series in three years in 2010.

Losers: Toronto's fans, at least in the short term.  It's just too bad that the Blue Jays never could win when they had Halladay, because he gave his blood, sweat and tears to that franchise and to that city and he desperately wanted to win there. For his sake and for that of the franchise and its fans, its sad that it never came to pass.

Posted on: December 10, 2009 6:06 pm
 

Slow meetings, price of pitching and more

INDIANAPOLIS -- As baseball executives made like Indy 500 cars and sped toward the airport around midday Thursday -- braving freezing temperatures, a biting wind and ice-covered trees along the way -- the one clear thing that emerged from a mostly slow-paced winter meetings was predictable:

The best hedge against an economy that is squeezing many is if you making your living pitching a baseball.

When Brad Penny, 31 and released by the Red Sox last summer before he hooked on with San Francisco, signed a one-year deal for a $7.5 million base salary plus another $1.5 million in incentives with St. Louis, it raised more than a few eyebrows.

When Randy Wolf, 33 and having missed time with both shoulder and elbow injuries during the past four years, signed a whopping three-year, $29.75 million deal with Milwaukee, it practically raised the roof of the Indianapolis Marriott.

And when Rich Harden, who seems to be stricken with some type of injury every 100 pitches, signed a one-year deal for $6.5 million with Texas ... well, let's just say that ought to scotch any collusion accusations from owners.

"In all honesty, we came into this thing without expecting to be a player for starting pitching," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "We were prepared to pay significant money for Randy Wolf a year ago, but because of the economy we had to back out.

"Guys at the top of the market are going to get their money."

Indeed. In the case of Wolf, three years is what it took to get him. The Mets were one of the teams offering two years.

"With Penny, [new Houston manager and former Boston bench coach] Brad Mills said that just before he was released by Boston, he started to get his arm strength back," Wade said. "He showed he was healthy in San Francisco.

"On a one-year deal, it makes sense. If there's a bounce back, it can be a big bounce back."

-- Still, more teams than not left Indianapolis with long to-do lists, without having accomplished much of what they need to before spring training  draws too much closer. A large part of the reason is because the deadline for a club to tender contracts to its arbitration-eligible players -- Saturday -- comes after the winter meetings. Probably somewhere close to 100 or more free agents will flood the market after that. "From the GM's point of view, we all wish more trades were made," Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. "It was slower than we all anticipated. There are so many free agents, and there will be more after Saturday. If you can come to a deal with a player without giving up prospects, then that's the way to go."

-- You've heard of "location, location, location" in the real estate business, but it was a key to getting the three-way trade between Detroit, the Yankees and Arizona done this week, too. Diamondbacks' GM Josh Byrnes was able to drive over and see Ian Kennedy pitch in the Arizona Fall League this fall, and his first-hand scouting of Kennedy helped move along the discussions.

-- One other thought on the three-way deal: Several baseball people wondered in the aftermath of the deal whether Arizona knows something about the two young pitchers it sent to Detroit, Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlerer, like whether they're injured.  One scout who saw each toward the end of the year said he doesn't think that's an issue, but did say he thinks each is a long-term health risk given the way they pitch with maximum effort and given each's body type. OK, fine. But remember, people have been saying that for the past few years about a guy in San Francisco, fella named Tim Lincecum.

-- Atlanta left with an excess of starting pitching and still hoping it can acquire a middle of the lineup bat. The Braves will continue to field inquiries about starters Javier Vazquez and Derek Lowe, and they probably will have to absorb some of either's contract to get a deal done. Vazquez, the more likely of the two to be traded, is owed $11.5 million in 2010, Lowe is due $45 million over the next three years.

-- Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik on the Mariners' talks with free agent slugger Jason Bay. "We've left our options open to acquire more talent. There are several ways we could go about that."

-- Zduriencik on Seattle's winter so far: "We're very satisfied, certainly, with signing Chone Figgins. We restructured Jack Wilson's contract, locked him up for the next two years. We brought Ken Griffey Jr. back. As we sit here today, we have three pieces that are very important to next year's club. We still have flexibility with Figgins [who can play third base, second or left field}. We needed a guy like Chone. We targeted him from the get-go."

-- Most likely trade partner with Toronto for Roy Halladay remains the Los Angeles Angels. Philadelphia was said to be talking with Toronto, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said Thursday "there's nothing likely" regarding a trade with the Blue Jays. If the Angels would include shortstop Erick Aybar -- doubtful -- that would be key to getting a deal done.

-- If the Angels can't reach an agreement for an extension with Halladay -- who has one year and $16 million remaining on his contract -- then they would accordingly reduce the level of the package of players they ship to Toronto.

-- The Phillies were in trade talks with Atlanta for Rafael Soriano "pretty deep", according to Amaro, before Tampa Bay acquired the reliever.

-- The Mets made offers to two free agents, outfielder Jason Bay and catcher Bengie Molina, just before departing the meetings Thursday, sources close to the team said.

-- One NL executive's prediction as he wheeled his suitcase through the Marriott lobby Thursday: Jason Bay winds up signing with Seattle and Matt Holliday with Boston.

-- The Cubs, in the market for a center fielder, very well could wind up signing one of two free agents, either Mike Cameron or Marlon Byrd. Cameron played for manager Lou Piniella in Seattle. "As a player and a person, I have the utmost respect for him, there's no question," Piniella said. "I had him in Seattle and got along with him very well. He's a guy that, he can play. He likes to play."

 

Posted on: December 7, 2009 6:48 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 7:20 pm
 

Angels talk Halladay, Lackey, Bay -- not Holliday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Owner Arte Moreno said nearly a month ago that free agent outfielder Matt Holliday will not be an option for the Angels, and GM Tony Reagins said here Monday that the club's position on Holliday remains "unchanged."

So congratulations to Holliday, who ranks as one of the precious few players in whom the Angels are not interested. Apparently, Moreno did not enjoy doing business last winter with Holliday's agent, Scott Boras, when the Angels made a losing bid for slugger Mark Teixeira (who wound up signing with the Yankees, of course). 

Otherwise, count slugging outfielder Jason Bay as one of their targets -- as Moreno also said last month -- free agent pitcher John Lackey and, especially, Toronto ace Roy Halladay. The Angels remain highly engaged in attempting to find a way to land him.

While Reagins would not confirm individual names after arriving here late Monday afternoon, neither did he dismiss anybody out of hand -- other than Holliday. Several sources confirmed the Angels' varying degrees of interest in the other players to CBSSports.com Monday.

Reagins, one of the last GMs to check into the hotel here at 5:20 p.m. Monday, was greeted by a phalanx of television cameras from Japanese stations in anticipation of the Angels' possible interest in free agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

"That was kind of surprising. ... He's a person we've talked about, along with several others," Reagins said. "We have a player, Vladimir Guerrero, who fits the same role. There are a lot of scenarios out there for us."

Guerrero, however, also is a free agent and the Angels' degree of interest in bringing him back seems limited.

"He's in our thought process," Reagins said. "That will be developing as well. He's going to see what options are out there for him."

Compared to the others, Guerrero appears in the Angels' afterthought process. Their top target clearly is one of these three players, probably in this order:

-- Halladay. Reagins declined to address the ace pitcher specifically because, of course, clubs can be fined for tampering while discussing players on opposing teams -- even if the club is attempting to trade the player, as the Blue Jays are Halladay.

"Starting pitching is difficult to come by," Reagins said. "Right now we have four real good starting pitchers [Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir]. We have three or four others who could land in the fifth spot. We feel good about the rotatoin as it stands right now, and if we need to make adjustments, we will."

-- Lackey. The Angels are scheduled to meet with Steve Hilliard, Lackey's agent, later tonight.

"We have several options and Lackey is one of them," Reagins said. "There are opportunities we've been working on leading up to these meetings."

-- Bay. Several clubs are after one of the premier bats on the market this winter, including the Red Sox, Mariners, Angels and others.

"He's a guy we find appealing," Reagins said. "We'll see where it takes us."

As for losing leadoff man Chone Figgins, who is on the verge of signing a four-year, $36 million deal with Seattle this week, Reagins said "we felt our offer was strong. We thought it was fair and reasonable." He declined to say what it was.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 11:42 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 2:37 am
 

Rangers talking Halladay with Jays

The Texas Rangers, financially strapped but loaded with prospects, were pursuing Toronto ace Roy Halladay on Thursday night as one of their brightest young pitchers, Derek Holland, showed the world what the next generation of Rangers could produce in throwing a gem against the Seattle Mariners.

The Rangers are serious about their pursuit of Halladay, according to a source with knowledge of the team's thinking. But, the source added, the club does not intend to dip too deeply into its carefully rebuilt farm system and will move on if Toronto insists on what the Rangers deem as too much.

A successful last-minute Rangers strike for Halladay seems highly unlikely based on the organization's shaky financial standing and on the fact that the Rangers have had a firm philosophy in place for the past couple of seasons to build from within -- and that philosophy now appears tantalizingly close to paying off big.

The publication Baseball America rated the Rangers No. 1 in the game in its 2009 organizational talent rankings. Holland, a left-hander in just his second full professional season, was sensational in allowing only two hits over 8 2/3 innings in Texas' 7-1 win over Seattle on Thursday night.

Holland was ranked as the organization's second-best prospect for 2009 by Baseball America. Another pitcher, right-hander Neftali Perez, was first. Lefty Martin Perez was No. 5 and right-hander Michael Main was No. 10.

Under club president and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, the Rangers are determined to develop power pitchers who throw strikes.

But under owner Tom Hicks, the Rangers are in such bad shape financially that they had to seek a loan from major-league baseball to meet payroll last month. While they maybe could re-arrange some things for 2010 to fit Halladay's $15.75 million salary into their budget -- for one thing, they could forego re-signing free agents Hank Blalock, Vicente Padilla and Marlon Byrd.

But as for the approximately $4.75 million due to Halladay this year, that could be a problem. And unless the Blue Jays change their mind, general manager J.P. Ricciardi told colleague Danny Knobler on July 12 that the Jays would not kick in any money to pay part of Halladay's salary.

"We don't want to hear that somebody's not available, and we don't want to hear that they can't handle the money," Ricciardi said.

The Jays surely could find plenty to their liking in Texas' rich system in a deal for Halladay. So, too could other organizations in other trade discussions: The Rangers have been a very popular stop along the trade-talk circuit because of their wealth of young talent.

 

Posted on: July 30, 2009 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2009 7:13 pm
 

Dodgers: Now full steam toward Halladay?

Even after putting a deal in place to acquire Baltimore closer George Sherrill, a source familiar with the Dodgers' plans says it remains "very possible" that Los Angeles could still trade for Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

However, "very possible" isn't the same as likely, to hear Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti tell it. Colletti said Thursday afternoon that he believes the club stands a better chance of acquiring more relief help by Friday's non-waivers trade deadline than a starter.

"As of right here, right now, very slim," Colletti said when asked to characterize the Dodgers' chances of acquiring a starter. "Very slim between now and [Friday]. After that, there will be some other starters come available [via the waiver wire in August]. But right now, the teams I've had conversations with, it doesn't appear as if we'll find a match."

The Dodgers have engaged the Blue Jays in talks for Halladay for several days, and in these final hours before the deadline, we're about to find out how serious they are.

One of the pieces believed to be discussed between the Dodgers and Blue Jays, third baseman Josh Bell, will be on his way to Baltimore once the Sherrill deal is finalized, according to sources.

But beyond Bell, the Dodgers have several prospects they could dangle without offering Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw from their rotation. Young right-hander James McDonald, who pitched in relief the National League Championship Series last October against the Phillies, is one.

Others include right-hander Josh Lindblom and infielder Blake DeWitt. In discussions between the clubs, the Jays have told the Dodgers that Halladay could be theirs for a package of five or six prospects without costing them anyone on the major-league roster.

With Philadelphia having acquired Cliff Lee on Wednesday, the field for Halladay has diminished dramatically. The Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox appear to be the three clubs with the most realistic chance of making a deal for the ace.

But sources with knowledge of the talks say the Angels have made their best offer, and it does not include shortstop Erick Aybar or Jered Weaver and that they do not plan to sweeten it.

The Red Sox remain the club that is dangerously silent -- publicly, at least. They are known to be in on talks regarding Halladay, Cleveland slugger Victor Martinez and San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com