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Roy Halladay: A Feasible Dodgers Conquest?

A recent report in the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Dodgers, according to an anonymous source, are looking into acquiring Toronto Blue Jays’ right-handed pitcher Roy Halladay. Before the 2009 trade deadline ended, there were small talks of the Dodgers landing Halladay. Of course, that never played out, and the Dodgers never acquired the pitching needed to win a championship. Quite a bit would need to be given up in order for Toronto to consider shipping off their ace, so the question is: is it feasible?

Obviously, Halladay’s numbers speak for themselves. Despite having been on a subpar Blue Jays squad for his 11-year career, he has compiled a record of 148-76 and an ERA of 3.43. He’s won the Cy Young Award once and has contended a few more times (including 2009). But beyond that, Halladay is a well respected pitcher on and off the field and has impacted fellow pitchers with his veteran presence.

That element would fit incredibly well in the Dodgers clubhouse. Last season, Los Angeles’ pitching staff was a mix of youngsters and veterans, teetering mostly towards the former. That young bunch includes Clayton Kershaw, Jonathon Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Hong-Chih Kuo and Ronald Bellisario. Of just those names, none are above the age of 29.

Randy Wolf and Hiroki Kuroda were able to help steer the ship as much as they could through the regular season and playoffs. But a player like Halladay would be able to provide even more of a spark. Greg Maddux previoiusly served that type of role for the Dodgers but was well past his prime when it came down to it. Halladay is more or less in his prime and has a lot of gas left in the tank. And considering the potential off-field turmoil the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt could create for the club, someone of Halladay’s stature and poise could help the Dodgers lock in a third-straight playoff year.

But Halladay comes with a heavy price tag. The whispers surrounding any potential deal have consistently brought up Billingsley’s name. For the first half of last year, almost anybody involved with the Dodgers (we’re talking staff or fan here) would have laughed off giving up Billingsley. He was the clear-cut staff ace and was awarded a trip to the All Star Game. But Billingsley went down a steep spiral during the second half of the season. He lacked control and was visibly nervous on the mound.

That lack of consistency gives Dodger officials a little more incentive to send him packing. Granted, it’s not an automatic ticket out of Los Angeles. Should nothing happen over the postseason (which in all reality seems more and more likely a scenario), Billingsley will have at least half a season to prove himself. And, of course, this wouldn’t be a single player-for-player trade.

Prospects would have to be given up. The high profile type, something the Dodgers are lacking. Some of the top prospects have already been traded (see: Casey Blake, Manny Ramirez). As it stands right now, Dodger prospects just aren’t ranking where it matters. The Scouting Book’s Top 100 prospects from this past season include only Scott Elbert (40) and Andrew Lambo (87). Elbert was heard from this season and saw mixed results.

Needless to say, the prospects just don’t seem attractive enough. So that would leave the Dodgers needing to trade away one of their budding position player stars. It’s an almost laughable idea considering how much of a focus the organization has on growing young talent.

So as attractive an option Roy Halladay may be, it just seems too far out of reach. Trading Billingsley is a 50/50 shot, the prospects just don’t rank and the Dodgers simply won’t trade away any young standouts. As important as starting pitching will continue to be for the Dodgers if they hope to truly succeed, they are not willing to do what it takes, nor at the moment are they capable. And thus, Roy Halladay will remain an unattainable dream.