Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ricciardi: Crazy...Like A Fox

Only 48 hours remain before the Trading Deadline, and one day has already passed since Blue Jay GM J.P. Ricciardi's self-imposed deadline, and Roy Halladay is still in Toronto. In fact, he is slated to pitch tonight (Wednesday). Ricciardi flew open the flood gates and proclaimed that Halladay was available. Now, the pundits are saying he misread the market badly and stands to have the whole thing blow up in his face.

I am going to take the other position because, well, somebody has to.

Ricciardi knew Halladay is going to be out of Toronto after 2010 and the team will not be in a greatly different situation at this time next year. So, before he is perceived as a "rental", he knew he wanted to deal Halladay by this year's Trading Deadline on Friday in order to maximize his return. After all, 45 starts are better than 12. When Ricciardi declared that all phone lines were open and operators were standing by, the proposals came in. Ricciardi counter-proposed and asked for the moon. With so many suitors, demand greatly outweighed supply.

Kudos to Mark Shapiro, Cleveland GM, who sensed an opportunity and swooped in to unload Cliff Lee to one of those suitors, bagging four prospects in return. However, the main chips in the rumored wish list from Toronto is still intact with the Phillies. Ricciardi might come down from his initial wishes because Shapiro increased the supply, however briefly. But, Ricciardi is still well in line with bringing back more than if he enlisted a closed-bidding process for Doc's services.

Perhaps the Phillies are no longer in the Halladay Sweepstakes, though they might be able to get him for slightly less than rumored earlier (Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ, Dominic Brown). But, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, and Angels are all interested and there is plenty of suitors to coax Ricciardi to give Halladay up. The Blue Jays will turn out better for this, maybe not short-term, but for 2011. Blue Jay fans are upset because the team crashed and burned after a hot start and Ricciardi has basically written off the 2010 campaign. But, Ricciardi's intent all along was maximizing his return for a player that would walk after 2010 anyway.

And, for that, Ricciardi can still get the job done with a fluorish.

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