Tagged: Roy Halladay

On Roy Halladay’s second Cy Young award

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halladay.jpg

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Roy Halladay‘s
performance this season was one of the most brilliant performances in the history
of the game.  On May 29th he threw the 20th
perfect game in Major League history and followed that up by throwing only the
second no-hitter in post-season history and the first since Don Larsen was
perfect in 1956.  Overall, he was 21-10
with a 2.44 ERA in 33 starts in 2010
in his first tour of the National League with the Phillies.

Today,
Halladay was awarded with the 2010 NL Cy Young award; his second such award and
first in the NL.  Halladay received the
AL version in 2003 when he won a club-record 22 games with the Jays.  He becomes only the 5th pitcher to win the
award in both leagues joining Gaylord
Perry
, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens.

I couldn’t be
happier for Roy.  I’m sure most Jays’
fans are with me on this one.  He was one
of the few star players who actually wanted to stay in Toronto and did so for
12 seasons.  He did everything in his
power to bring a championship to Toronto and would have stayed if he had that
chance with the Jays.  Given that he’s
getting older, he deserved to be traded and given the opportunity to win it all
while still in his prime.  He didn’t get
there this year, but there’s no doubt he’ll get at least a few more chances
with a very good Phillies team.

The other two
main contenders for the NL Cy Young were Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals and
Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies.  Both had
terrific years, but I think the right decision was made here.  Halladay was the unanimous choice for the
award.  He was clearly the best of the
three and cemented himself as baseball’s best pitcher.  In a few years, we may be calling him the
best of his generation.

VOTING
BREAKDOWN
(from
MLB.com)

PITCHER

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Pts.

Roy
Halladay, PHI

32

224

Adam
Wainwright, STL

28

122

Ubaldo
Jimenez, COL

4

19

8

1

90

Tim
Hudson, ATL

3

13

4

39

Josh
Johnson, FLA

5

5

9

34

Roy
Oswalt, HOU/PHI

1

3

5

14

Brian
Wilson, SF

1

5

7

Heath
Bell, SD

1

1

4

Mat
Latos, SD

1

2

4

Brett
Myers, HOU

1

2

Tim
Lincecum, SF

2

2

Bronson
Arroyo, CIN

1

1

Matt
Cain, SF

1

1

Starting Pitcher of the Decade

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Baseball is
a funny game.  It may be the hardest
sport to judge the best players.  There
are so many nuances and styles of each position that comparing two players
within the same era is difficult let alone players in different eras.  Records like Cy Young’s 511 wins or Hugh
Duffy’s single-season batting average record of .440 will never be broken in
the current era; the game’s just too different.

 

Someday
we’ll label most of the past decade part of the “Steroid Era” and many of the
homerun and run scoring records will be discounted as part of an era where
substance abuse seemed to be the rule rather than the exception.

 

Having said
that, I refuse to ignore those years; they still happened, and baseball was
still played and in spite of all the cheating, it was still one hell of a
decade.

 

I’ve decided
to start off the “…Of the Decade” series with the most important position on
the diamond: the starting pitcher. 

 

There’s
little doubt about the pitcher of the 90’s; it was clearly Greg Maddux.  Nobody in my lifetime has been more dominant;
not even Pedro Martinez.  But this decade
is a little different.  There have been a
handful of dominant pitchers, but none of them stand out from the rest.  So who is the best starting pitcher of the
2000’s?  Nobody started more games in the
decade than Livan Hernandez (332) but it’s safe to say that although he was a
good pitcher in his own right, he’s not the pitcher of the decade.  Why don’t I just talk about who I think are
the top 3:

 

3rdPedro Martinez

If
the decade was divided from 1995 to 2005, Pedro would easily be the best
pitcher, but the pedro-martinez.jpglast half of this decade has not been kind to the Dominican
pitching wizard.  He wound up leading the
majors with a 3.01 ERA in the decade, which was much better than second place
Johan Santana (3.12) and third place Roy Oswalt (3.23).  He also led the majors with a .691 winning
percentage in the decade.  The problem was
that he was only 22nd in wins with 112 and didn’t pitch the amount
of innings of some of the other pitchers in the conversation.  Pedro can take solace in the fact that he
will likely be a first-ballot Hall-of Famer.

 

2nd – Roy Halladay

My
all-time favourite pitcher slides in at number 2 on the decade’s list.  Halladay is fourth in wins, fourth in winning
percentage and posted a 3.40 ERA in the decade. 
He was also first by far in alg_halladay.jpgcomplete games with 47.  Second on that list was Livan Hernandez with
36.  He also led everyone in shutouts
with 14 and did all of this on a team that never once made the postseason.  Not having pitched in October certainly does
hurt him, but if he had playoff success he would have been a clear choice for
number 1.  He’s the best pitcher in
baseball right now, and you cannot ignore that. 
And, oh yeah, he’s also pitched his entire career in the cut-throat AL
East.

 

STARTER OF THE DECADE – Johan Santana

Santana.jpgWho
would have thought that a Rule 5 draft selection would end up being the best
pitcher of the 2000’s.  He spent most of
the decade with the Minnesota Twins, winning two AL Cy Young awards.  He won 122 games (15th for the
decade) and he wasn’t even a staple in the Twins rotation until 2003.  He sits third on the decade in winning
percentage (.670), third in Strike Outs (1733), and second in ERA (3.12).  He also has three ERA crowns including one in
his first year in the NL.  There’s no one
in baseball (except maybe Halladay) that teams dread seeing on their schedule
more than Santana.  When the Mets landed
him in the ’07-’08 offseason it ensured that they would have an ace in their
staff for years to come.

 

Honourable Mention

Roy Oswalt – Finished tied for fifth in
wins (137), fifth in winning percentage (.662) and third in ERA (3.23).  Oswalt was actually my pick to win at first,
but I decided against it.

 

Andy Pettitte – Led everyone in the
decade in wins with 148.  I know, I was
surprised too!  Pettitte is a fierce
competitor who gives in to no one.  He’s
never dominant, but always consistent.

 

Javier Vazquez – Second in starts (327)
and in innings (2163), and one of only two pitchers to record 2000 strike outs
(2001) in the 2000’s (Randy Johnson was the other with 2182).  No one is more durable than Vazquez and in
the realm of pitching that counts for a lot.

 

Randy Johnson – Johnson was second
behind Pettitte in wins (143) and led everyone in strikeouts, but like Martinez,
Johnson tailed off in the second half of the decade.  There’s little doubt that he will be inducted
into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot and will go down as one of the most
dominant pitchers of all time.

 

If you
disagree with anything, just leave it in the comments.  Here are the numbers I dug up from
Baseball-Reference.com:

 

 

Starting Pitchers

In order to qualify, pitchers must have
started at least 60% of their games and have a minimum of 750 innings pitched

Games
Started

Livan Hernandez

332

Javier Vazquez

327

Jeff Suppan

321

Barry Zito

320

Jamie Moyer

315

 

Wins

Andy Pettitte

148

Randy Johnson

143

Jamie Moyer

140

Roy Halladay

139

Roy Oswalt/Tim Hudson

137

 

Winning %

Pedro Martinez

.691

Roger Clemens

.682

Johan Santana

.670

Roy Halladay

.668

Roy Oswalt

.662

 

Complete
Games

Roy Halladay

47

Livan Hernandez

36

Randy Johnson

32

C.C. Sabathia

28

Curt Schilling

26

 

Shut Outs

Roy Halladay

14

Randy Johnson

12

Tim Hudson

11

C.C. Sabathia

11

Chris Carpenter/Mark Mulder

10

 

Strike Outs

Randy Johnson

2182

Javier Vazquez

2001

Johan Santana

1733

Pedro Martinez

1620

C.C. Sabathia

1590

 

ERA

Pedro Martinez

3.01

Johan Santana

3.12

Roy Oswalt

3.23

Jake Peavy

3.26

Brandon Webb

3.27

Looks like the day is finally here

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The day
every Jays fan has been quietly dreading for a couple years now is finally
here.  With the news that Roy Halladay
has agreed to a contract extension with the Philadelphia Phillies, the trade
for the ace of aces looks to be final. 
The best pitcher to ever don a Blue Jays uniform will be displaying his
wares for another team, another city, halladay-757029.jpganother country.

 

This should
be, without a doubt, a day of mourning for all Jays fans, but fear not my
beleaguered comrades; the future is still bright.  And Halladay deserves the chance to pitch for
a winner; he’s earned that much.  Let’s
face it: The Jays won’t be contending any time in the near future and Harry
Leroy Halladay should not waste any more of his prime years pitching for a mediocre
team.  The Phillies will be a World
Series contender again in 2010 and on behalf of Jays Nation, I’d like to wish
him good luck in getting that coveted ring. 

 

Rookie GM
Alex Anthopoulos appears to have made a deal that ensures the Jays will bounce
back.  The Phillies ship their own ace,
Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for a package of prospects that gives them
both the financial flexibility and the replenished farm system necessary to
make the trade for Halladay.

 

So here are
the unconfirmed details as of right now:

 

To Philadelphia:

To Toronto:

RHP Roy Halladay

$6-million cash

RHP Kyle Drabek

OF Michael Taylor

C Travis d’Arnaud

 

To Seattle:

To Philadelphia:

LHP Cliff Lee

RHP Phillippe Aumont

OF Tyson Gillies

RHP Juan Carlos Ramirez

 

On top of
that, I’m being told as I write this article that the Jays may turn around and
send Taylor to the A’s for corner infielder prospect Brett Wallace.  Wallace, a former first-round pick of the
Cardinals, was acquired by the A’s in July in the Matt Holliday deal.  Confused yet? 
Me too.

 

drabek.jpg

The blue
chipper the Jays get in this deal is without a doubt, Drabek.  Son of 13-year Major League veteran Doug
Drabek, Kyle was regarded as the top pitching prospect in the Phillies
system.  He was drafted in 2006, 18th
overall and has tremendous stuff.  There
are some concerns with his arm, but he appears to have fully recovered from the
Tommy John surgery he had last year and by all accounts appears to be better
than before he went under the knife.  He
was also arrested in 2005 for public intoxication.  The charges were later dropped, but some
question his maturity.  I, personally,
don’t put much stock in things like that; he was 19 at the time.  We all do stupid things at that age.

 

Drabek
consistently throws between 92-94 mph with his fastball which has great tailing
action and can reach back and hit 97 when he needs to.  His mid-80’s slider has tremendous bite and
he has a curveball that rivals anyone’s in baseball.  He’s also working on a changeup but needs to
maintain his arm-speed for it to be a truly effective pitch; he did make
strides with it toward the end of last year. 
Drabek was a shortstop in high school and is a plus athlete.  He also seems to be developing a strong work
ethic; something that could separate him from his contemporaries.

 

arnaud.jpgTravis d’Arnaud
was a sandwich first-rounder in 2007 and is projected by many to be a starting
catcher in the future.  The Jays have
lost some faith in J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, their two “catchers of
the future” so d’Arneau will serve as a motivator and could fuel a
position-switch for Arencibia.  Scouts
say he could develop 20 HR-power if he cuts down on swinging at bad pitches and
is above-average defensively.

 

If the Jays
retain Taylor, they will have one of the most physically imposing prospects outwk6_MichaelTaylor.jpg

there.  At 6’6″ and 250 pounds, Taylor will
likely put up monster power numbers and has a .312 career average in the
minors.  His size would suggest a long
swing and a high number of strikeouts and his defense leaves something to be
desired, but the bat would be a big plus.

 

brett-wallace.jpgIf the Jays
are indeed planning to send Taylor to the A’s for Brett Wallace, I think that
could end up being the most important part of this deal.  Wallace has tremendous upside with the bat,
but struggles defensively wherever he plays. 
He’s currently a third-baseman, but will likely end up at first.  At 6’1″ and 245 pounds, Wallace may battle
weight problems in his career and some say that could lead to a lot of knee and
back issues.

 

Overall I
believe Anthopoulos did a nice job in this trade and hopefully it will be one
of a few moves that will turn the franchise around in the next couple of years.

 

As for
Halladay; it was a pleasure watching him pitch for the last 12 years.  In my opinion there’s no better pitcher in
baseball, and he’s definitely the best pitcher to ever play in Toronto.  I will always be a Jays fan, but I might find
myself cheering on the Phillies quite a bit in the next few years.  Thanks Roy.

Wow, what a summer: The Bitter and The Sweet

So yeah.  Sort of lost initiative to write here over the summer.  I’ve had a bitter-sweet one so far.  On a  personal level, one massive bitter pill:  My mom has fallen ill.  This is likely the single largest reason I haven’t been writing here.  She’s mostly okay now; let’s hope she gets better.

On the sweet side, I went on tour for 2 weeks in July across Southern Ontario and Qu├ębec.  It was fantastic.  No new album yet…but soon.  I actually have two in the works.

Again on the sweet side.  I have cats.  Two of them.  I grew up with cats and haven’t had any pets at all since I moved out of my parents house almost 7 years ago.  Well now 9 month olds Timbre (pronounced Tamber) and Cappella are here and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Timbre is currently between me and the keyboard, making this just a little more difficult than it otherwise would be.  But that, my friends, is the beauty of cats.

On the baseball side, it has also been bitter-sweet for my Jays, and indeed for Major League Baseball as a whole.

For the Jays…

The Bitter

  • The rocket fell to the ground:  After the fantastic start that had just starting making even the most pessimistic of Jays fans (such as myself) believe that maybe they could contend with the behemoths in the AL East, the Jays fell back down to earth…hard.  Yes, it was expected.  I mean, when you have the amount of pitching injuries that the Jays have, you aren’t going to remain hot for long.  Deep down all of us Jays fans knew that the bats would eventually cool off and the young, unexpectedly good pitching would too.  I picked the Jays to finish 4th in the AL East this year with a 78-84 record.  It would appear that that is about where they’re headed.  Another season of mediocrity.

  • The Doctor and the GM that couldn’t:  One thing I haven’t commented on is the whole Roy Halladay trade rumour business.  I mentioned in an earlier entry that if the jays eventually fell out of contention that J.P. Riccardi should look into trading the ace.  With a year left on his contract, the returns would be astronomical.  Well, the Jays DID fall out ofriccardi.jpg contention, and J.P. DID look into trading him, but could not.  My problem is not with the fact that the Jays brass considered trading their long-time ace, but how it was handled.  J.P. Riccardi went entirely too public with this whole thing.  It became a HUGE distraction to Halladay and his teammates, which is really unfair.  Does Roy deserve to be traded to a place where he could win a World Series?  Absolutely!  Does he deserve to be given the run-around right as he’s preparing to start the All-Star Game and preparing for the stretch run?  Absolutely not! 

    Not only that, but J.P. threw Roy under the bus by going public in saying that he had indicated he wasn’t going to come back after 2010.  Given that Halladay is such a class act and has done nothing but praise the city of Toronto and the fans, was it really fair to announce something that could potentially turn the fans against him?  I mean, come on J.P.  Luckily, Jays fans have a head about them and they don’t blame Roy for considering another team to try and win on.  I mean, the Jays aren’t going to be World Series contenders any time soon.  Not with bone-head in charge anyway.  The problem here is that J.P. like to be the star of his own melodrama and he doesn’t much like being a mediocre GM in a middle-market city such as Toronto.  Please Blue Jays…fire numbnuts before he does something really stupid: Like trade Roy Halladay for a package of peanuts and a Heathcliff Slocumb trading card.

  • Vernon Wells and Alex Rios:  What can I say here.  These guys just plain haven’t delivered.  Rios has always been a good hitter, but I’m not sure he ever really warranted all this “star-player” talk.  I mean he’s never been much more than a decent player, capable of some great hot streaks.  As for Wells, I don’t know what to say.  I did notice that he dropped a lot of weight and his bat-speed seems to have decreased considerably.  With all the recent talk about steroids; I wouldn’t be totally surprised.  Remember how quickly Wells used to be able to come back from fairly severe injuries?  Isn’t that one of the wonders of PEDs?  Forgive me for being pessimistic, but I think we all have a right to be these days.
  • B.J. Blown-Save: We saw this one coming, didn’t we?  Of course B.J. Ryan was awful this year.  Of course his velocity was down.  Like Wells, Ryan looked CONSIDERABLY smaller than he had in past years, and although he’s never lit up the radar gun, Ryan’s velocity was curiously down from 88-91 mph to 84-86 mph.  Hmmm…I wonder what could have happened.  Probably the best move J.P. has made in recent years was releasing him when he did.

The Sweet

  • King Hill:  Everyone in Toronto has known how good Aaron Hill is for years now.  But the outside baseball world is just now figuring it out.  Even the proverbial psychics of the game, Baseball Prospectus, seemed to be completely misguided about the Jays star aaron hill.jpgsecond baseman, “there’s no telling where he’ll pick up, now that he’s a year removed from his 2007 power surge.  Sometimes a lost season can completely derail a player’s progress, particularly when that player was a late-bloomer to begin with.”

    First of all, how is Hill a late bloomer?  He was a 1st round draft pick and was in the majors within two years after solid minor-league numbers.  Secondly, Hill was projected by the Prospectus to hit .260 with 8 HR and 50 RBI.  Currently, with two months left in the season, Hill is sitting at a .291 average with 26 HR and 76 RBI.  Yeah…WRONG!!!  Hill has become the franchise player this team needs for the long-term future.  I like him…even if he is a Republican.

  • Adam Lind:  Cito was right when he said this kid could hit and would eventually become a 30 homer guy.  Lind has put up a fantastic year and has become a true power and average threat.  I can’t wait to see where his ceiling is.
  • The Doctor: Whether or not he’s Jay for much past the end of this season, Roy Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball.  He proves it every time he take the mound.  Now that the distraction of almost being traded is behind him for now, Roy can get on with winning his second Cy Young Award.  Enjoy it while we have it Jays fans.

Major League Baseball has definitely seen its ups and downs this year as well.  The Ups: Buehrle’s perfect game, the myriad of cycles being hit, Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter, and Bronson Arroyo’s plain admission to using PEDs in the early 2000s, something more players should do.  The Downs: Manny and David Ortiz and steroids.  It’s getting to the point where players who were/are clean have the burden to prove their innocence.  No one is clean until proven that way.  Thats the bed Major League players have made for themselves, they must now lay in it.  No more excuses.  And if you are naive enough to believe that steroids are out of the game, than be sure write that list to Santa Claus, because Christmas is less than half a year
away.  I say from now on, if you get caught…full season suspension.  If you get caught again…lifetime ban.

I’ve been hesitant to do it because in the past I have believed that we need to give players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to steroid use, but now, after all of this crap, I will be making a list of players who I suspect were or are on steroids who have yet to be caught.  Stay tuned.

Should the Jays trade Roy Halladay?

This is a question I’ve been pondering since the Jays were eliminated from post-season contention last season.  On the surface, the idea of trading away one of the best pitchers in the game in his prime sounds ludicrous.  Without Halladay, the Jays might be one of the worst teams in the league, especially this year with Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum keeping the infirmary in good use.

Halladay2.jpgIf they Jays contend this year and look to have a realistic chance at making the playoffs come July, then trading Halladay would be career suicide for Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi, but if they are out of it, here’s why I think trading Halladay sometime before the beginning of the 2010 season might be a great move for the Blue Jays.

Halladay will be a free agent after the 2010 season.  You would have to think that the chances of the Jays resigning him are pretty slim, especially when teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers are willing to spend anything to attain top free agents, and there’s little doubt that Halladay will be a priority for all of the big spenders.

If the Jays can’t resign him, they would almost be stupid to not trade him this off season.  Next season, the Jays will have their three young pitchers Dustin McGowan, Jesse Litsch, and Shaun Marcum, as well as a bundle of young talented prospects vying for spots in Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brad Mills, Marc Rzepcynski, and others.  Trading him with a full year left on his contract and given that he is still, quite possibly, the best pitcher in baseball, could yield a fantastic crop of young talent coming back the other way.  The Jays could build around the two or three tier 1 prospects they could get in return for their ace.

Obviously if the Jays surprise the critics (including me) and contend, you wouldn’t dare dream of trading Halladay.  But if they don’t, I think it would be the right move.

Don’t you think a team would give up their best pitching prospect and maybe even a top-tier positioned prospect in return for the services of Halladay for at least a year?  I know I would if I was in the position to do it.  Just something to think about if the Jays don’t contend.

Toronto has a terrible habit of letting their best players go for nothing.  If they would just trade them and get some prospects in return, it might actually work out for the better.