Roy Halladay tosses a gem. Rumors fly. The Blue Jays come out and say trading their ace is unlikely.
Rinse and repeat.
The Blue Jays said they will not field offers after July 28, since they need him to start July 29 in Seattle. That will make the next week really interesting -- or next Tuesday really anti-climactic.
We decided to break down the top contenders for Halladay and what the Fantasy implications might be. Regardless of where he is headed, he will be one of the top five starters here on out. The bigger issue is what will it take to get him?
Philadelphia -- The Phillies would present Halladay with a great contender with a potent offense, regardless of the hitter's park. He would also get to beat on the NL East, which has proven to be weak with the fall of the Mets and the inconsistency of the Marlins and Braves. The Phillies would also certainly have to tap into their pitching prospects of Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Joe Savery, perhaps even dangling J.A. Happ or Kyle Kendrick. Shortstop Jason Donald and outfield prospects Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown are the potential position player prospects.
L.A. Angels -- They are one of the few teams in the AL that the Blue Jays would actually be inclined to deal with, since they are far away from Toronto and they have some position player prospects that would make a deal intriguing for the Blue Jays. Halladay would give the Angels the best rotation in baseball, if they don't have the deepest one already. The Blue Jays probably are not enthralled with the lower-level pitchers Jordan Walden, Trevor Bell and Trevor Reckling, but major league ready Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez and Sean O'Sullivan could be interesting.
L.A. Dodgers -- The runaway contenders in the NL West really don't need Halladay, but the recent struggles of ace Chad Billingsley could be a sign the Dodgers need to make a major move to boast a postseason-worthy rotation. This might be the best place for Halladay, but it is hard to be any better than one of the top five Fantasy starters anyway. Perhaps the Dodgers make Halladay the clear No. 1. That is a pitcher's park and a potent offense. James McDonald and Joshua Lindblom would most likely have to be included in the package, along with outfield prospect Andrew Lambo. It doesn't look like they can put together a package like those teams above them, but they might be the most motivated to try to.
Texas -- They have the offense and have always needed the pitching. They have the prospects to get it done, but the question is whether Halladay would approve a deal here -- and whether they would be inclined to trade their young pitching right before it hits stride. The Rangers are a burgeoning contender that could be around for years with their developing set of everyday players. First basemen Justin Smoak or Chris Davis would really help facilitate a deal, while the likes of future ace Neftali Feliz, catcher Taylor Teagarden, pitcher Derek Holland, pitcher Matt Harrison, pitcher Michael Main and catcher Max Ramirez would be of significant interest to the Blue Jays. This is a real darkhorse that has the firepower and need to get it done.
Milwaukee -- The Brewers have already showed an ability to make a big splash, dealing for CC Sabathia a year ago. They clearly need a front-line starter like Halladay, or any starter for that matter, but do they have enough to get a deal done? Any deals will have to start with speedy shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar and slugging third baseman Mat Gamel. Those are two really good everyday players. The problem the Brewers have is their best pitching prospect, Jeremy Jeffress, is serving a 100-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. The Blue Jays likely have to get a high-end pitching prospect in a package.
Chicago White Sox -- Like the Brewers, the White Sox have had the fortitude to make a deal for an ace in the past year -- only their deal for Jake Peavy was nixed by the player. They would need to upgrade that package that reportedly included Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard. Richard's quality start Tuesday night certainly helps. They could get any player by bringing up the name Gordon Beckham, who would be the centerpiece of a deal. Third baseman Dayan Viciedo and catcher Tyler Flowers would also be of interest. The White Sox are a really aggressive team in a big market. They have already been resigned to losing some of their top prospects for an ace, making this a real possibility.
Boston -- If they weren't in the same division, the Red Sox would have to be considered the front-runners perhaps. A Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Junichi Tazawa or Casey Kelly could be the centerpiece of a deal. Halladay of course wouldn't mind being a part of an already-dominant rotation with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. Halladay knows how to win in the AL East and it would be a lot easier for him to do so without having to face the front-running Red Sox. First baseman Lars Anderson, outfielder Josh Reddick and outfielder Ryan Kalish could also be pieces.
N.Y. Yankees -- Believe it or not, the Yankees are an unlikely destination. It isn't because they don't want him, or don't have the pieces. Halladay makes a lot of money and it has to be hard for the Yankees to justify having that much more invested into their rotation. Even the Yankees have their limits. They didn't trade Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy for Johan Santana, so we don't think they sell low on them now. Outfielder Austin Jackson would also likely be of interest.
St. Louis -- They are more likely to add offense than pitching, but this is another contender that tends to be aggressive. Their packages likely have to include the likes of outfielder Colby Rasmus and/or Brett Wallace. Pitchers Jess Todd, Clayton Mortensen, Mitchell Boggs and P.J. Walters will draw interest, too. Catcher Bryan D. Anderson is blocked by Yadier Molina, too, so he would be dealable. Outfielders Daryl Jones and Jon Jay are potential targets as well. The Cardinals don't really need a starter, but a postseason rotation of Halladay, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright would rival anyone.
The list of interested parties doesn't end here, but these are the contenders most likely to make the most serious plays for Halladay. Failing that, one of these teams could also get into the mix on the left-handed consolation prize, Cliff Lee.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Garland. He is a questionable option amid his shaky season.
Starters on the DL: Brandon Webb (shoulder). He hopes to return in September, so keep him stashed.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jarrod Parker. His long-term prospects are a bit more intriguing than his recent numbers in Double-A. He is a long shot to be a September call-up at this point.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Jurrjens. He figures to be a must-start in all leagues.
Starters on the DL: Tim Hudson (elbow) and Jorge Campillo (shoulder, out for the season). Hudson has started his lengthy post-Tommy John rehab assignment and is targeting an Aug. 20 return to the major leagues. His last scheduled rehab start is Aug. 15, barring setbacks.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jo-Jo Reyes. The depth will come from a returning Hudson or reliever Kris Medlen, but we don't see the Braves needing rotation help. Medlen or Reyes could be nice trade bait.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Hill and perhaps Berken. They figure to be questionable options. Berken just might pitch his way to the minors Wednesday at the Yankees.
Starters on the DL: Koji Uehara (shoulder) and Alfredo Simon (elbow, out for the season). Uehara is merely hoping to return in September and it might be as a reliever.
Starters to watch in the minors: Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Troy Patton and Brandon Erbe. Tillman is working on Berken's schedule, which portends a call-up for Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2). You might want to take that early flier now.
Boston Red Sox
Week 17 two-starter(s): Beckett and Buchholz. Beckett is a must-start, while Buchholz could be too with another quality start Wednesday at Texas.
Starters on the DL: Tim Wakefield (back) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (shoulder). Wakefield could return in late July, so track his news as the Red Sox are either seeing what they have with Buchholz or auditioning him for a trade. They are also suggesting Dice-K will be out until Sept. 1, but that really is a function of the Red Sox's pitching depth in the majors and Triple-A right now. If the Red Sox really needed a starter, they would get Dice-K revved up for a return in a matter of weeks. Keep Dice-K stashed in all leagues right now.
Starters to watch in the minors: Michael Bowden and Junichi Tazawa. Bowden and Tazawa might be September call-ups as relievers, or trade bait. They are good enough to get looks down the stretch with any other team but this one.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Harden and Zambrano. They are at least advisable in all leagues, perhaps must-start options.
Starters on the DL: Ryan Dempster (toe). He reportedly could be ready to return next Thursday, but he will be a bit of a risk because of his long layoff.
Starters to watch in the minors: None. Jeff Samardzija is pitching in relief. It is telling they prefer Hart over him right now. The signing of veteran lefty B.J. Ryan could help Sean Marshall get out of the Pitch-22, but don't count on it.
Chicago White Sox
- Mark Buehrle
- John Danks (out, blister) so Carlos Torres has been called up to start
- Gavin Floyd
- Jose A. Contreras
- Clayton Richard
- Bartolo Colon
Week 17 two-starter(s): Perhaps Danks and Buehrle. They figured to be at least advisable in most leagues, but Danks' status is up in the air due to a blister problem. Stay tuned.
Starters on the DL: Colon (knee). He is expected to make one of the starts in Friday's doubleheader. He could remain in Richard's rotation spot thereafter.
Starters to watch in the minors: None. Aaron Poreda won't be trusted in tight relief spots, so it is hard to imagine he will be trusted in the rotation, especially since he is not stretched out. The White Sox have already showed interest in dealing for a front-line starter, having been rejected by Peavy.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Bailey and Arroyo. Bailey is a high-risk option right now, but Arroyo could prove to be a sleeper with a solid effort Wednesday at the L.A. Dodgers.
Starters on the DL: Edinson Volquez (elbow). Volquez is nearing a rehab assignment, but he is a long shot to be useful in Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2) at this point. Keep him stashed.
Starters to watch in the minors: Matt Maloney. He has been quality in Triple-A, but it will take an injury, perhaps two if Volquez is healthy, for him to be a candidate in the second half.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Pavano. He figures to be a questionable option best left for AL-only leagues even with a quality start Wednesday at Toronto. He is just too up and down.
Starters on the DL: Scott Lewis (elbow), Jake Westbrook (elbow) and Anthony Reyes (elbow, out for the season). Lewis and Westbrook will try to return in mid-August, but they figure to need nearly a full month of rehab starts.
Starters to watch in the minors: Fausto Carmona, Hector Rondon, Charles Lofgren and Jeanmar Gomez. Rondon is scorching after two Triple-A starts, but Carmona is expected to make his final rehab start Tuesday. He could return as soon as late this weekend perhaps. Watch his news in the coming days. He could be a second-half sleeper. Rondon is an elite pitching prospect, but the Indians figure to take it more slowly with him and the other two mentioned above.
- Aaron Cook
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Jason Marquis (blister, out until at least July 28 at N.Y. Mets)
- Jason Hammel
- Jorge De La Rosa
Week 17 two-starter(s): Jimenez and likely Marquis. They are likely advisable, perhaps even must-starts in all leagues.
Starters on the DL: Jeff Francis (shoulder, out for the season).
Starters to watch in the minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Christian Friedrich and Greg Smith. Franklin Morales will stay in relief apparently, but the Rockies have been so steady with their five, we don't see a real need for a starter right now.
- Justin Verlander
- Edwin Jackson
- Rick Porcello
- Armando Galarraga
- Luke French
- TBD, needed Friday vs. the White Sox
Week 17 two-starter(s): Porcello. He is a risky option unless he returns with a solid outing Wednesday vs. the Mariners.
Starters on the DL: Dontrelle Willis (anxiety) and Jeremy Bonderman (shoulder). They are closer to shutting it down than coming back this season.
Starters to watch in the minors: Brooks Brown, Chris Lambert and Alfredo Figaro. Figaro could come up to start the second doubleheader game Friday, which could position him to reclaim the No. 5 starter's job. Stay tuned.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Nolasco. He could be a must-start option with a solid start Wednesday at San Diego.
Starters on the DL: Anibal Sanchez (shoulder). His shoulder has been shaky for years, so we don't see a whole lot of value here at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Miller. The Marlins are going with a four-man rotation until Aug. 1. Miller is eligible to return then after his 10-day option period expires.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Rodriguez and Oswalt. They figure to be must-start options, although we could see Rodriguez being a little less intriguing if he struggles Tuesday vs. the Cardinals.
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino. Norris is an elite prospect with great Triple-A numbers and a great future. He should be a factor in any Fantasy league in August. Take that flier now.
Kansas City Royals
Week 17 two-starter(s): Likely Meche and Bannister. They are questionable options, but risks worth taking in deeper leagues.
Starters on the DL: Gil Meche (back). He is expected to return Monday, which would position him for a two-start Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2).
Starters to watch in the minors: Kyle Davies. Chen is expected to lose his rotation spot to Meche and Davies has a 2.16 ERA through six starts. He could be Ponson's replacement.
Los Angeles Angels
- John Lackey
- Jered Weaver
- Ervin Santana
- Joe Saunders
- Sean O'Sullivan
- TBD, Matt Palmer or Shane Loux for July 25 vs. Minnesota
Week 17 two-starter(s): Saunders. He needs a strong outing Tuesday at Kansas City to be considered an advisable option at this point. He has been bad for a while now.
Starters on the DL: Dustin Moseley (elbow). Moseley might not be ready before the end of the season, much less ready to start.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jordan Walden, Trevor Bell and Trevor Reckling. The Angels need a six-man rotation due to Tuesday's doubleheader. We figure a long reliever is more likely to get the temporary nod than one of these prospects as a call-up.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 17 two-starter(s): Wolf and Billingsley. They have seen better days this season, so watch their starts Tuesday and Wednesday closely. A quality start makes them advisable. A bad one could surprisingly make them questionable options.
Starters on the DL: Eric Milton (shoulder, out for the season).
Starters to watch in the minors: Joshua Lindblom and Eric Stults. James McDonald is in middle relief and Lindblom could head there, too, down the stretch. The Dodgers could acquire a starter before the trade deadline if Schmidt proves unworthy with his sub-90s stuff.
- Yovani Gallardo
- Jeff Suppan
- Braden Looper
- Manny Parra
- Mike Burns, expected to be skipped until July 28 at Washington.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Suppan and Burns. Suppan is a nice sleeper with great matchups, while Burns is a high-risk option at this point.
Starters on the DL: Dave Bush (shoulder). He needed to shut it down, so it will be hard to consider him an option for Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2) at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: None. The Brewers are desperately trying to upgrade their rotation via a trade. You have to figure they will in lieu of any potential call-up.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Perkins. He is a questionable option best left for AL-only leagues at this point.
Starters on the DL: Kevin Slowey (side) and Boof Bonser (shoulder, out for the season). Slowey is starting a rehab assignment and could position himself for a return in Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2).
Starters to watch in the minors: None. Kevin Mulvey and soon Swarzak, when Slowey is ready, will be working in long relief as the rotational depth down the stretch.
New York Mets
Week 17 two-starter(s): Perez and Pelfrey. They have been erratic and the Mets cannot score runs consistently right now. Consider them questionable options. Perez might even be high-risk.
Starters on the DL: John Maine (shoulder) and Fernando Nieve (quadriceps). Maine tossed a simulated game Tuesday, which could precede a rehab assignment and a potential return at the end of Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2). Stay tuned. It's the Mets and Maine. There will be a setback. Nieve is out until at least September at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Niese, Brad Holt and Tobi Stoner. Niese has been scorching after developing a cutter in Triple-A. He is coming up Saturday in Nieve's spot. He could stick around once Maine returns if he can outpitch Hernandez or Perez. Holt is intriguing long term, but we don't see him getting a look before September just yet.
New York Yankees
Week 17 two-starter(s): Burnett and Sabathia. They figure to be must-start options in all leagues.
Starters on the DL: Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder). He had a setback that will keep him out until at least September at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Ian Kennedy and Kei Igawa. Phil Hughes is now a setup man, Kennedy is still on the DL after surgery and Igawa will never get a chance with the Yankees again. Igawa has been decent at 7-3, 3.70 in Triple-A, though.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Cahill and Mazzaro. They will need really good outings Wednesday (vs. Minnesota) and Thursday (at N.Y. Yankees) to be anything better than questionable options.
Starters on the DL: Justin Duchscherer (elbow) and Josh Outman (elbow, out for the season). The Duke figures to return as a reliever, if he can even make it back this season now.
Starters to watch in the minors: James J. Simmons. His Triple-A numbers aren't as good as his long-term prospects, so we fully expect the A's to back-fill their rotation with trade-deadline acquisitions if anything come August.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Moyer and Hamels. Moyer could be a sleeper for deeper leagues with a quality start vs. the Cubs on Wednesday. Hamels is likely a must-start in all leagues.
Starters on the DL: Pedro Martinez, Antonio Bastardo (shoulder) and Brett Myers (hip, out for the season). We expect the Phillies to add a starter before the trade deadline, so Martinez might not return immediately at this point. Happ is just pitching too well right now. Martinez won't be eligible to come off the DL before the trade deadline anyway.
Starters to watch in the minors: Kyle Kendrick, Carlos Carrasco, Joe Savery, Kyle Drabek and Andrew Carpenter. These guys are all capable of pitching in the major leagues, but they are more likely to be trade bait than stretch call-ups. Drabek has been the fastest riser of the bunch. He is recovered from Tommy John surgery and looking like a potential ace long-term now.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Maholm. It is going to be really tough to trust him when his first start comes at San Francisco with Lincecum on the other side. Consider him questionable in mixed formats.
Starters on the DL: Phil Dumatrait (shoulder). He won't be anything more than a high-risk NL-only starter option once healthy and if he gets a call to the rotation. Ignore him.
Starters to watch in the minors: Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Brad Lincoln, Bryan Morris and Daniel McCutchen. Jeff Karstens is working in long relief, but Snell and Gorzelanny are options for the second half. Snell is even a trade candidate. Watch him for a potential deal to a contender come Aug. 1. You might want to take a flier on him right now.
San Diego Padres
Week 17 two-starter(s): Geer and Correia. We figure they will be questionable options at best.
Starters on the DL: Jake Peavy (ankle), Chris R. Young (shoulder), Cha Seung Baek (elbow) and Shawn Hill (elbow, out for the season). It is still a while before we will see Peavy or Young, if we see them at all before the end of the season.
Starters to watch in the minors: Cesar Carrillo and Nick Schmidt. Latos is the Padres' top pitching prospect, while Stauffer has been rejuvenated. It gives the Padres depth and makes it possible they won't need another starter from the minors if they can get and stay healthy with their top guys.
San Francisco Giants
Week 17 two-starter(s): Lincecum and Zito. The former is a must-start, while the latter is a sleeper with decent matchups if he can prove capable Thursday at Atlanta. Watch him if you need a sleeper.
Starters on the DL: Randy Johnson (shoulder) and Noah Lowry (shoulder, out for the season). Johnson is getting good reports on his health, but we still don't see him returning before mid-August at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Madison Bumgarner, Timothy Alderson and Kevin Pucetas. Bumgarner turns 20 on Aug. 1, but his ridiculous numbers (9-2, 1.56 in 16 games between high Class A and Double-A) make him a potential contributor down the stretch. His timetable is pushed back a little by the resurgence of Sanchez and the emergence of Sadowski. If the going gets tough for the Giants come September, Bumgarner could be a shot in the arm. Pucetas and Alderson are older, but less intriguing.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Hernandez and Washburn. Hernandez is an obvious must-start, while Washburn is having a renaissance and is a sleeper in deeper leagues, especially with a quality start Thursday at Detroit.
Starters on the DL: Carlos Silva (shoulder) and Ryan Feierabend (elbow, out for the season). Silva is in career purgatory and therefore worthless as a stashee.
Starters to watch in the minors: Ryan Rowland-Smith, Brandon Morrow and Jason M. Vargas. Rowland-Smith is hot, while Morrow is not, making Rowland-Smith the more likely of the call-ups for this weekend. Morrow was bad in his Triple-A start, but one good outing and one bad one by Olson could get Morrow right back to the majors. Keep Morrow stashed in deeper formats and consider Rowland-Smith an AL-only sleeper at this point.
St. Louis Cardinals
Week 17 two-starter(s): Carpenter and Wainwright. They are must-start aces in all leagues.
Starters on the DL: Jaime Garcia (elbow, out for the season).
Starters to watch in the minors: Mitchell Boggs, P.J. Walters and Clayton Mortensen. The Cardinals have Brad Thompson in long relief and they would likely go to him before one of these guys down the stretch.
Tampa Bay Rays
Week 17 two-starter(s): Shields. He is expected to be a must-start in all leagues.
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Andy Sonnanstine and Wade Davis. They are solid depth, but they are more likely to be trade bait than arrive in the Rays' rotation at this point.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Hunter and Padilla. Hunter is high-risk, while Padilla is a sleeper for deeper leagues with a quality start vs. the Red Sox on Wednesday.
Starters on the DL: Matt Harrison (shoulder), Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) and Eric Hurley (shoulder, out for the season). Harirson will begin a rehab assignment this weekend, but we tend to doubt he will be ready to return in Fantasy Week 17 (July 27-Aug. 2) at this point. McCarthy might not return before the end of the season at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Neftali Feliz, Michael Main and Kasey Kiker. The Rangers are more likely to acquire a starter at the trade deadline, say perhaps a Washburn, than count on more young arms.
Toronto Blue Jays
Week 17 two-starter(s): Romero. He should be at least advisable if he handles the Indians on Wednesday.
Starters on the DL: Shaun Marcum (elbow), Scott Richmond (shoulder), Bobby Ray (shoulder), Dustin McGowan (shoulder), and Jesse Litsch (elbow, out for the season). Marcum and Richmond are on rehab assignments that could position them for post-Halladay/early August returns at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Brad Mills and David Purcey. We figure the Blue Jays will get prospects to block these guys if they deal Halladay. They remain long-term prospects, though.
Week 17 two-starter(s): Stammen and Zimmerman. Stammen figures to be high-risk, while Zimmermann is a sleeper for deeper leagues if he can pitch well Thursday vs. the Cardinals.
Starters on the DL: Scott Olsen (shoulder, out for the season).
Starters to watch in the minors: Shairon Martis, Matt Chico, Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg (still unsigned). Strasburg likely won't sign before the deadline and if he does, it is still very unlikely we see him in the majors before the end of the season. The other young arms could return, but no Nationals starter will be all that intriguing.
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