Is Signing Lackey A Smarter Move Than Trading For Halladay?

An article by posted on November 17, 2009

Let me begin by saying that you’ll get no argument from me as to who is the superior starting pitcher between Roy Halladay and John Lackey. Obviously, it’s Halladay and it’s not even close. If Doc was pitching for a high powered offense like the Yankees, he may have been a 25 game winner this season, and the one before that, and the one before that too. He is a tremendous talent who is worthy of all the consideration by bloggers everywhere who all wish their teams could somehow pry him away from the Blue Jays.

Toronto’s newest GM made it very clear that Halladay could be traded if he is blown away by an offer. Ahh, interesting choice of words. Exactly what does “blown away” mean?

Did the Mets blow the Twins away when they sent Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey for Johan Santana? By the looks of those names, certainly not, but the Mets did make the best offer and that was good enough for the Twins, the Mets, and me.

Readers of this blog know it’s no secret how much I cover Halladay. I wanted the Mets to get him when they were just 4.5 games out of a playoff spot and it was no secret he was available before the trade deadline.

Halladay has already stated that he has no problem waiving his no-trade clause in exchange for a fat extension. So in that regard, he’s not a rental. If you make the trade, you get the negotiating window and Halladay is yours for at least five years and most likely six.

Based on recent contracts for pitchers of his caliber, a 6-year deal could easily average $23 million dollars per season or more. Damn, that’s a lot of cash…

Are you willing to blow the Blue Jays away with a package of major leaguers and your best prospects just for the privilege of dishing out $140 million dollars to a bona-fide ace who will turn 32 next May?

There’s an old saying that comes to mind, and it seems somewhat appropriate right now; Don’t Keep All You Eggs In One Basket.

Imagine the Mets having to pay two of their starting pitchers nearly $50 million dollars a season. Great starting pitchers? No doubt, but what a stranglehold on the rest of the teams payroll, especially with Reyes and Beltran soon to become free agents barring an extension. I haven’t even raised the specter of God forbid one of them suffers an arm injury and requires surgery. How do you manipulate a payroll when almost one third of it is tied up in two players?

The more I ponder the situation, the more I look at John Lackey.

To begin, he would cost the Mets nothing in terms of players. Heck the Mets don’t even have to give up a first round pick to sign him. Plus, from a contractual standpoint, most are speculating a deal that could top what A.J. Burnett got last season, but not by much. We’re talking 5 years at $18 million per, tops.

I didn’t even get into who the Mets would have to give up to get Halladay, but you could expect Mike Pelfrey, Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Jenrry Mejia to all be bandied about and ultimately packaged. That caviar sounds a little bit too rich for my taste.

After careful consideration, it’s now my belief that signing John Lackey (and making sure that the Mets win any bidding war) would be the best way for the Mets to go.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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