SI.com’s Jon Heyman has been on just about every local broadcast media outlet and the MLB Network the past two weeks discussing this offseason’s Free Agent class and potential trade market, all the while saying, “Don’t discount the Yankees in any talks about Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday, or anyone else.”
This, of course, is stating the obvious. Remember the story in The Onion in February of 2003, shortly before Spring Training started, with the headline “Yankees Ensure 2003 Pennant by Signing Every Player in Baseball“? With new developments in the Halladay sweepstakes, and the Yankees’ additional need for a left fielder — contingent upon what Brian Cashman decides to do about Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon — the Haters could be on the march with a similar headline for 2010. As we’ve seen, however, the Yankees don’t care much about public or media perception when payroll is the topic.
Much of why that Onion-type headline could return is a result of last winter, when the Yankees signed three of the top free agents in baseball to $423.5 million worth of contracts. All of them — CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira — contributed to the World Series title, only feeding the thought that the Yankees bought their championship and leveled the small-market teams’ chances of success. That thought would be, and is, incorrect. Cashman didn’t buy a title, he bought the necessary pieces — buying on need as opposed to greed — to put his team in the best position to win. Cashman has said through the years that’s all a general manager can do, and he’s right. Once the ink dries, it’s the players’ jobs to perform and live up to those contracts.
What to do now? Cliff Corcoran has done his usual yeoman’s work analyzing the team’s needs. It just so happens that the two biggest names being rumored to move would fill two of those voids. Let’s take a look at both Halladay and Matt Holliday, since there’s nothing else better to do leading up to the Winter Meetings in Indiana City, Indiana.
Per a Daily News report, Halladay told the Blue Jays Saturday that he would waive his no-trade clause to come to the Yankees, if the pieces of a deal came to fruition. (Read: “I would waive the no-trade clause to go to the Yankees because I know they’re on the short list of teams that don’t need to win the lottery to pay me, and I won’t have to deal with the exchange rate.”) This is super-interesting because a week ago, it looked like the Red Sox were all-in and Yankee fans, some of us still in a championship daze, cried a collective variant of “Uh oh.” ESPN made it worse, posting a projected 2K10 Red Sox rotation of Halladay, Beckett, Lester, Dice-K and Buchholz (not taking into account that Buchholz may be the linchpin in getting or not getting the ’03 Cy Young Award winner).
What it means: Nothing yet. This is still very much in the conjecture phase. As the article states — and we know — the Blue Jays want high-end prospects and young players who are either major-league ready or have some experience. The article also notes how the Yankees did not want to travel down this path two years ago when Johan Santana was the soon-to-be-traded pitcher.