Why Selling the Farm for Halladay Makes Sense

An article by posted on July 22, 2009

With Jon Heyman standing by his report that the Mets turned down an offer from the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay, it got me thinking about what the Mets and their farm system would look like in the aftermath of a Halladay trade. Surprisingly to myself, I came to the conclusion that what’s left of the Farm System does not matter if the Mets acquire Halladay. That’s right, I said the farm system does not matter.

If it cost the Mets just about EVERYTHING we had down on the Farm to get Roy Halladay, we’d be better off. Even if the Mets offered Niese, Evans, Mejia, and F-Mart for just Halladay, we’d win. Consider the following:

 - Daniel Murphy has looked strong defensively at 1st base, and at 24, he’s still on his way up. Plus, he’s one of a select few Mets who still looks like he cares.

- Luis Castillo’s got another year left in the Orange and Blue at 2nd, and while we may need a fill-in for a year, we’d still have Wilmer Flores as his eventual successor if he can transition to 2B.

- Jose Reyes and David Wright will be our SS/3B for years to come.

- Jeff Francoeur is young, has a howitzer for an arm, and has shown the ability to hit and drive in runners…oh, and he’s a gamer, and that cannot be discounted.

- Carlos Beltran can man CF for a good number more years, and when his contract expires, it frees up enough dough to replace him with a free agent.

- Angel Pagan has shown the ability to play when he’s healthy, and having a 1-2 of Reyes and Pagan in the lineup sounds great to me (consider the 2003 Marlins, with Pierre and Castillo).

- Our rotation becomes Santana, Halladay, Pelfrey, Maine, Oliver Perez, and guys like Nieve and (eventually) Holt would be in line to fill-in if and when needed. The average age of the starting 5: 28 1/2, and only Halladay (32) is over 30.

- Our catchers are 32 and 28, 30 years old on average.

My point is not that a farm system isn’t important, but that if your roster is young and successful, that means you’ve already utilized what you’ve needed from the farm. The average age of the lineup that I just projected (replacing Castillo with Flores and counting the catcher’s position as 30 years old), plus the rotation, set up man, and closer is under 27 years old. In that lineup, only Beltran and Halladay are currently over 30 (both 32). If you have players that have 5 years (at least) left in them at every position, you’ve got 5 years to rebuild your farm system to create their replacements. Now, this of course means that the Mets would need to persuade Halladay to sign an extension and the Wilpons would have to shell out for him, but if the Mets were to trade for him, don’t you think that would be discussed ahead of time (with the Wilpons anyway)?

The next logical question is: “well, what about if a season like this year (God forbid) happens again? Won’t we be out of promising backups?” To this, I respond with another question: Who has been the better sub THIS year: Gary Sheffield or Fernando Martinez? While F-Mart and Evans will undoubtedly be better in the long run, as far as being injury replacements go, it takes guys like Sheff, not prospects like F-Mart and Evans, to step in and try and keep it close. Unless you get lucky with a Daniel Murphy like the Mets did last year, prospects won’t be better as fill-ins than the near-the-end-of-his-career players.

I’m not suggesting that Minaya go to Toronto and say “take whatever you’d like and you can have it”, I’m just pointing out how insignificant the farm system would potentially become if the Mets acquired Halladay. I don’t necessarily like the idea of not having much as far as Minor League Future Stars goes, but if it means the New York Mets win now and for a few more years, who cares if Buffalo and Binghamton go winless?

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