The Jays aren’t scared of a five year deal… but I am.

The most recent ploy conjured by JP Riccardi to bring back AJ Burnett has been to promise him more years, albeit at a lower price.  This ensures that AJ has a job in Major League Baseball until he is well into the twilight of his career making a respectively high salary. 

I ask you, faithful readers, why?  I sure sign of the trouble ahead came to me yesterday morning.  The folks on TSN, our local sports network, commented that the Jays’ expected relative inactivity in the offseason would lead to another dissappointing season.  When the mainstream media is making such claims, you know that the panic has passed beyond the speculative blogsphere and into the public’s conscious. 

To be fair to JP, before I go any further, let’s review his situation.  JP is saddled with the difficult task of managing a financial system where all our your salaries/expenses are in American funds but your revenues are in Canadian funds.  With the dollar trading in Canada at .80 US the Jays stand to suffer somewhat (although not as bad as in the past). 

JP also toils in the impossibly competitve and expensive AL East where the Yankees and Red Sox are bound to outclass the Jays and Orioles every year in spending. 

JP has also received poor returns on most of the big free agent signings that he has made, being bitten by the injury bug one too many times.

On the converse.  JP has been given a payroll of around 100 million dollars to deal with – a respectable sum even in today’s market.

JP has also had the benefit of good returns on some of the players he’s drafted (Hill, Marcum, McGowan, et all)

JP has ALSO been given an inordinate amount of time to construct a winning team and has not produced a squad who has faired any better than second place in the division.  They Jays are literally no further ahead than they were when JP got here.

All common knowledge – what’s the point Byrne?

If JP can’t compete with the big guns in the AL East, which is obvious, and is gunshy about chasing any other free agents outside of Burnett this offseason – a fact that he has alluded to on a number of occasions – then there is no point in signing Burnett to a five year contract just to watch the Jays finish a couple of games over .500 every season and in third place in the East.  What is more is that Burnett is absolutely untradeable if he’s having a bad season or two with three or four years left on a contract.

Let’s trade Halladay instead.  I know, bloggers have come out against this idea a number of times.  Even I would hate to see Halladay go.  But let’s compare him with Toronto hockey star Mats Sundin.  Leafs’ GM Cliff Fletcher begged Sundin to waive his no trade clause so that the Leafs could send Sundin to a playoff bound team in exchange for some excellent young players/draft picks.  If Sundin had cared as much about the Leafs as he claimed he did he would have allowed a trade to happen, gone and played in the playoff and then returned to the Leafs in the offseason to help develop the youth movement.

Instead he hasn’t played yet this season, the Leafs missed the playoffs, and they likely will again this year. 

Picture this – Halladay starts the year as a Jay.  He plays his heart out, just as he always does, until the trade deadline.  JP trades him for a number of prospects from a team who is making a play for the post season (Oakland, with whom JP has an almost too comfortable relationship with, may be this team), and the rebuilding era begins!

In a perfect world JP will be fired and a new GM steps in to oversee this phase.  However, if the prospects turn out then JP’s legacy is increased monumentally – he becomes the former GM who made a trip to the playoffs possible by making an unpopular but wise decision. 

You want Roy back? Sign him to a contract when he hits free agency, his contract will be up soon.

That’s my sollution, folks.  Feel free to tear it apart.



  1. juliasrants

    The senerio you lay out makes sense. If the Jays don’t appear to be in the mix next year – trading Halladay makes a lot of sense. He could go to a team that has a chance to win the World Series and Toronto has a chance to get some young players to prepare for the future. In the cut-throat world of MLB either you can play with the “big-boys” or you drown trying. If JP can’t keep up (not moneywise but at least attitude-wise) then perhaps it is time for a new job.

  2. welikeroywelikeroy

    It would obviously depend on who we can get, to make a Halladay trade worthwhile. If you are thinking we can get the entire nucleus of a team’s farm system for Halladay then I think that is too much wishful thinking. If anything we’d get one ‘really nice’ prospect, along with a couple good prospects (kinda like the Matt LaPorta – C.C. Sabathia deal last season). The idea of trading Halladay is a real touchy subject for me, like most Jays fans. My vision of the Jays succeeding in the playoffs has always been with Halladay being the Ace.

    But I will agree with you in a way. If the Jays don’t compete and stay in 3rd place through 2009 and 2010 (the two years we have him for), then you couldn’t blame the Jays for wanting to trade Halladay, and you also couldn’t blame Halladay for wanting to go to a winner! Then that day we better not have J.P. as a GM, making the trade. The rebuilding phase will officially begin, and I would rather a complete overhaul then just the trading of Halladay! Wells, Ryan, Overbay, Rolen everyone you can think of almost. Coming a handful of games out of the wildcard spot, is not enough to make that call yet, but we will see given your scenario.

  3. Byrne

    Part of my theory is that we don’t need to sell off each of Wells, Rios and Halladay to rebuild. Cutting big wasted salaries such as Overbay’s and Ryans and trading one of our stars would allow us to make substantial progress in the division. The problem: Halladay is the only player with real value who we have control over considering the 2008 campaign. I suppose I feel disconnected from Doc since we simply have not made the post season with him. A vision of the Jays in the playoffs with Halladay may be just that; a vision. And on the other hand, waiting until the trading deadline may be too late: only a team who really needs a good pitcher for a playoff run (not too hard to find – look at the deals that the Brewers and the Cubs made for instance) and has most other positions well filled would trade the prospects necessary to make the deal work.

    Thanks for the comments, as always.

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