Looking Back: Theo Epstein Offered What?

Today we take a look back at the Roy Halladay situation when J.P. Ricciardi was still in charge and possibly trying to deal Roy Halladay.  Imagine if this were a) true and b) actually transpired?

This was written on September 13, 2009.

Enjoy.

* * *

I have to say that Bob Elliot is one of my favourite baseball writers in Toronto.  You can tell he has an absolute passion for the game and for the Toronto Blue Jays but after reading this article about the general state of the Blue Jays and some of its higher ranked officials I have to say the offer that he posted in his article is beyond fabrication, it is borderline ridiculous.  I know the Toronto media has a serious hate-fest going on for Blue Jays GM JP Ricciardi but this is just throwing the man under a bus.  According to one of his sources, the Toronto Blue Jays were reportedly offered Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Felix Doubrant and Nick Hagadone.

You only have to read my recent blog on Roy Halladay to know that my man crush on the Jays starter borders on obsession.  I honestly believe he is the best starting pitcher in the game and Blue Jays were correct in stating that they “wanted the world for him” as they could not afford to botch a deal involving arguably the greatest player in the history of the Blue Jays relatively storied history.  But, if that offer were true, Clay Buchholz and company would already be well situated with the great city of Toronto, I mean come on.

As the old adage goes Theo Epstein might’ve been born at night, but he wasn’t born last night.  You don’t build a championship team in the time it took Epstein to do so and not be considered a very sharp baseball mind.  I’d rank him and the Red Sox front office among the top 5 in baseball and with every fibre of my being I do not believe that Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox would even consider making this offer, even for Roy Halladay.  Unless I missed the memo that the Red Sox are running some sort of a charity now catering to the small market teams?

Let’s start with Clay Buchholz, widely considered the crown jewel of the Red Sox farm system and a pitcher most teams would love to get their hands on.  The 25 year old right hander hasn’t had the immediate success at the major league level (besides the no-hitter of course) that one would hope for from its top prospect but patience looks to be finally paying off for the Red Sox.  A lot has already been written about him but Buchholz has been lights out in AAA Pawtucket posting an impressive 3.23 FIP, 3.0 K/BB, .194 BAA and 0.64 HR/9 in 99 IPs.  He has looked equally impressive for the Red Sox at the major league level in 6 of his past 7 starts and he is a scout’s wet dream with his advanced control and velocity on his fastball, as well as his impressive array of secondary offerings including a wicked change-up.

Justin Masterson has looked very solid and durable in his short pro career and was a key part of the Red Sox offer to the Cleveland Indians that saw the Red Sox land C/1B Victor Martinez for their playoff run.  Masterson, only 24 years old would have looked equally as good in a Blue Jays uniform going forward.  In 112 innings this season, he has a tidy 3.97 FIP, 7.7 K/9 and has shown a propensity to induce his fair share of ground balls (career 54% ground ball rate).

Daniel Bard is the one player I feel most certain the Red Sox wouldn’t have included in this offer, not this season.  The flame throwing Bard (fastball average 97.1), also just 24 years old is playing a huge role for the Red Sox in their bullpen this year and for that reason alone the Red Sox would be crazy to include him unless the Jays were also offering a solid relief pitcher in this trade (which was not reported in the article).  He has a ridiculous 12.2 K/9 in 43 innings as well as a solid 3.01 FIP.  He was a starting pitcher in the minor leagues in 2007 before being shifted to the bullpen (and seeing increased results) but either way (relief or starting) he would’ve been an extremely smart addition for the Blue Jays.

Michael Bowden, only 23 years old hasn’t been untouchable in the minors by any stretch (6.2 K/9) but has shown the ability to get hitters out at the AAA level (4.08 FIP) and while not a deal breaker still a solid depth player to add in any trade.  At the very least, he could come in and replace Scott Richmond or Brian Tallet fulltime.  Felix Doubrant, a 22 year old lefty has shown some promise early and is still very young.  Nick Hagadone is 23 years old and was also included in the Victor Martinez trade, so they must have seen something in this kid as well.

Never mind the fact they [Red Sox] would have essentially kissed their trade for Victor Martinez goodbye but factor in that they would have been trading 5 young, cheap and talented pitchers for a year and half rental of Roy Halladay and it just makes very little sense.  If the Jays had landed Buchholz, Bard, Masterson, Bowden and company JP Ricciardi would be deserving of a statue in front of the Rogers Centre.

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