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    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    GUEST BLOG: Why The Red Sox SHOULDN'T Trade for Halladay

    I get it. "Doc" Halladay is the sexiest "name" out there as we approach the 2009 trade deadline. He is seemingly the only pitcher in baseball who throws complete games on a regular basis. And if he was added to the Boston rotation, the Sox would have undoubtedly the best rotation in baseball, particularly with a 3-man playoff rotation of Beckett, Lester, and Halladay (Wakefield being the 4th).

    I mean, look at the lifelong Blue Jay's career numbers, courtesy of baseball reference.com. 142-69 record in 300 games. FORTY FOUR complete games. TWELVE SHUTOUTS. 1410 strikeouts, compared to only 440 walks. That's a better than 3-1 ratio. Six time All Star, one Cy Young award, and 4 top 5 Cy Young finishes. You could easily make a case for him being the best pitcher in baseball.

    But here are the most important numbers. 32 years old and parts of 12 Major League Seasons. Despite being at his athletic peak (he notched a career-high 206 strikeouts in 2008), he's not going to be there for long. As hard as he throws, and as deep into games as he goes, he has a very limited shelf life.

    The Red Sox would have to mortgage their future to get Doc. They would have to give up arguably their best pitching prospect in Clay Buchholz, and likely their next best prospects in Michael Bowden, and Daniel Bard, possibly more. And that's assuming Toronto's GM JP Ricciardi would even deal his ace within the division. And you know Ricciardi is a smart baseball guy - he still has his Boston accent.

    As Randy Booth of overthemonster.com puts it, Sox GM Theo Epstein was faced with a similar dilemma last year, when it would have cost Jon Lester and then some to get another stud, Johan Santana. And Theo (forgive the pun) balked, because the price tag was too steep.

    This is clear evidence of a new "stay the course" mentality in Boston that's taken shape with the new regime, particularly over the last 5 years. If today was July 29th, 2004, I'd be all for trading for Halladay. Before the "Curse" was broken, we had to win now at all costs. Our aging fathers and grandfathers were concerned that they would never see a championship in their lifetimes. 86 years of torment had been passed down through the generations. We had to win, to satisfy the older folks, and if anything, to stop those damned chants of "1918" emanating from the Bronx.

    But life is different now, after not one, but two World Series Championships. The Sox want to win now AND later. And they are not going to mortgage the next 5-10 years just to say they've won THREE titles since the Yankees last put up a banner. If the Sox added Halladay, they'd be the odds on favorite to win the 2009 World Series. They'd have to be. But then, what happens when Doc becomes a free agent? What if the Yankees outbid us? Where does that leave us for 2010, and beyond?

    Now that the animalistic appetite for a championship has been quenched - again, twice - the Sox don't need to mortgage the farm to win this year. And besides, with a rotation of Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, Buchholz, and Penney (sorry Smoltz), I think we've got just as good a chance as anyone.

    - Jag

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