Earlier this week, with the Blue Jays fading into fourth place in the AL East, general manager J.P. Ricciardi openly discussed the possibility that his club might be willing to trade Roy Halladay. At 10-2 with a 2.79 ERA, Halladay is a legitimate Cy Young candidate and a contender for the title of the best pitcher in baseball.
Our Support-Neutral pitching stats tell us he's been worth 3.9 wins above replacement level over a half-season of work -- that's a lot -- and it's no stretch to think he'd be worth three additional wins to nearly any team that bumps aside their fifth starter. It's a truly massive upgrade.
The Jays' ace won't come cheap in regard to blood or treasure, however. Not only will he take multiple top prospects to acquire, he's owed the balance of a $14.25 million contract this year and then $15.75 million next year, a price that will scare away some teams operating in a tight economy. That's also before considering that waiving his no-trade clause might require a Johan Santana-style extension, though Ricciardi says he won't open a negotiating window for a potential suitor.
Those obstacles suggest a trade isn't imminent, but from the standpoint of these five teams, it should be. An extra three starts between now and the July 31 deadline would be worth three-quarters of a win beyond a replacement-level fifth starter. Ask the Brewers what that was worth to them last year.
In compiling this list, we'll assume that despite the financial and/or talent riches of the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays, Ricciardi won't deal his ace within the division. Without concerning ourselves with the exact prospect package it might take to land Halladay, we'll be mindful of a team's organizational strength as well as their finances, but the focus is still on need (all stats through Tuesday, all rankings within respective leagues).
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