You know how sometimes, when a team is looking to rebuild, or retool, or just needs to shake things up, you'll hear a General Manager announce that "nobody is untouchable"? I usually tend to agree, but there are always exceptions. For example, let's say you have a player at the peak of his career, at arguably the most important position on the roster, who is one of, if not the very best in the league at his job, who has pledged allegiance to the team, and who just might be the most popular player in franchise history. Let's just say, for the sake of argument, such a player exists. Well, that player would be the exception to the "nobody is untouchable" rule. You just don't trade Roy Halladay.
Now that I've stated my position, you can imagine the taste left in my mouth by browsing the sports section of the Globe this morning. Not one, but two articles (not so) subtly advocating just the opposite. First up, an article by my guy Jeff Blair.
Full disclosure - Blair is probably my favorite writer covering the Jays (even if, as it appears, baseball coverage is no longer Blairsy's full-time gig). You broke my heart with this quote this morning, Jeff:
".....general manager J.P. Ricciardi disagrees with those of us who don't think like television executives and who believe that the economy going down the sewer, coupled with the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays and the economic and personnel clout of the usual suspects in the American League East, makes it a good time to gut the franchise and trade Roy Halladay for some package offering immediate and long-term help."
Blair's cohort Bobby MacLeod follows this up with an article of his own, with a few throwaway quotes from Doc's agent, and essentially re-re-re-rehashing the same tired quotes from the all-star break last season.
If I haven't made myself clear enough, here's my take: unless Roy approaches JP and says he wants out - or indicates he won't re-sign with the team when his contract expires after the 2010 season - there's no way trading Halladay should be part of the organizational blueprint. Roy Halladay is a once in a generation type of pitcher (excuse the hyperbole), by all indications loves playing for the team, and is, maybe above all else, exactly the type of person you want representing your franchise.
Roy Halladay is 31 years old. Roy Halladay is in the prime of his career. Even if 2009 turns out to be the shit year that everyone seems to be so sure the team will have.....you're expecting the team to stink for the next five or six seasons? Marcum, McGowan, Cecil, Litsch, Snider, Lind, Rios, and Hill have no chance at growing into the core of a contending ballclub? Trading Doc is the only way to get better? Disagree, friends. Dis - a - gree. So shut the fuck up about trading Doc, already.