As was noted on in a tweet by MLB.com’s Blue Jays beat writer Jordan Bastian, the Cardinals are listed as one of the teams interested in Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. In the twitter.com missive, Bastian writes “A source indicated over a dozen teams have asked about Halladay. ‘Serious’ interest: NYY, NYM, STL, MIL, LAD, LAA, BOS.” The Jays say they’re going to listen to offers for the perennial Cy Young candidate, and if I’m the Cardinals, I’m calling Toronto G.M. J.P. Ricciardi with an offer an hour.
Before we dismiss the idea of the Cardinals sending a bevy of prospects to Toronto, lets review the deals that included Cy Young winners over the last twenty years.
Last season, Cy Young award winner CC Sabathia was traded by the Indians to the Brewers for minor leaguers Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson. The Brewers went Michael Brantley to Cleveland to complete that deal.
A year earlier, Minnesota traded Cy Young winner Johan Santana to the Mets for a package that included minor leaguers Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey, along with Carlos Gomez and Philip Humber, who has already been designated for assignment by Minnesota.
In 2005, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded five time Cy Young award winner Randy Johnson to the Yankees for lefthander Brad Halsey, catcher Dioner Navarro and righthander Javier Vazquez. Johnson was also traded in 1998, having won one Cy Young, from Seattle to Houston for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama.
After the 1997 season, the Montreal Expos sent Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez to Boston for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas.
In 1989, the Twins traded another Cy Young winning lefty to the Mets, sending defending Cy winner Frank Viola to Queens for for Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, Kevin Tapani, David West and Jack Savage. The only deals that even remotely worked out for the team trading the Cy Young winner so far were the two Johnson deals and the Viola trade. Seattle got great value in Garcia and Guillen…although Johnson went on to win four more Cy Youngs. If Houston would have re-signed him, they would have won the deal. Johnson was 41 when he went to New York, so it was almost automatic that Arizona would win with the acquisition of Halsey, Navarro and Vazquez. Navarro and Vazquez have blossomed, but not with the D-Backs.
West, Tapani and Aquilera did help Minnesota win a World Series, so we’ll give them the edge in the Viola deal.
My point is that most of the time, the team that gets a ton of prospects, doesn’t get equal value for an established Cy Young award winner. I don’t care how much he makes or how much it takes. If Toronto wants Clayton Mortenson, Jess Todd and Brett Wallace for Halladay, so be it. Take the shot. Worry about now now, and worry about the future in the future.