If there's one thing we've come to understand in life, it's that change is absolutely persistent. Relentless, even.
As much as we might want to stop the bejeweled movements of the clock and stay the hands of time, it's an excercise in futility. The valiantly foolish attempts that people make to maintain the status quo and perpetuate what was once good often end up in a patchwork of pratfalls and, ultimately, failure.
It happens in all walks of life. On a personal level, people maintain relationships and friendships out of nostalgia, continuing to nurture the same set of acquaintances even after they've moved on in every other way. Businesses attempt to burnish their reputations by continuing to celebrate their past glories, even as their customers move on to newer and better things.
In the case of the Blue Jays, one need only look at the gargantuan contract to which they signed "face of the franchise" Vernon Wells to understand how pushing back on change can result in the team overpaying for past glories and delaying the process of replenishing and restocking the franchise with new and emerging talent.
So it is with this in mind that we turn our gaze towards Roy Halladay, and the unprecedented maelstrom of trade rumours surrounding him after GM J.P. Ricciardi's tepid admission that the team would "listen" to offers for the greatest pitcher in the history of the franchise.
Obviously, there's been a lot of ink spilled and bandwidth consumed over the past week over the prospects of trading Halladay before the season's end, and we're not sure how much we have to add to the hand-wringing and resignation that was contained therein. We shared the reaction of many Blue Jays bloggers and commenters who found themselves emotionally unable to conceive of the team without Halladay, and had we commented on this ourselves last week, we're sure that it would have come off as an agonized cry of Plathian platitudes.
Maybe we're getting resigned to the idea, or maybe we're steeling ourselves for what will surely come to pass. But you have to know that at some point, Roy Halladay will no longer pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The romantic in us always hoped that Doc would take his final walk off the mound in a Blue Jays jersey at the end of a Hall of Fame career. But if it comes to pass that Halladay - like Delgado, or Hentgen, or Key, or Stieb, or Alomar before him - moves on by his own choice to another franchise, we have to understand that eventuality not as a failure on the part of the team, but as a passage from one era to the next.
At this point, Roy Halladay's profile has never been higher, and it absolutely behooves the team to look at every possibility that they have to capitalize on the perceived value that the hurler has, and the possible return that they could receive in exchange for him. It would be irresponsible for them to not do so, and as much as it will break our heart to see him sporting another uniform, the franchise will go on without him.
It's instructive to remember the example of the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who in successive seasons traded Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey and lost Alex Rodriguez to free agency, only to turn around and win 116 games without any of those "face of the franchise" cornerstones. The possibility exists that the foundation of next great Blue Jays team - the one we've waited for since 1993 - is waiting for us, just the other side of this potential Halladay trade.
Trading for prospects is always a dicey proposition, of course, but no more so than it is to hold firm on keeping the hometown hero and hoping that he continues to produce at the same high level. In the next year, Halladay could very well lose a bit of velocity or movement, or he could throw out his back picking up one of his kids. Or he could slice open a finger on a model helicopter blade. Or he could throw one (or 100) cutters too many, leaving him a shadow of his former self. There are no guarantees that if the Jays hold on to Halladay that they'll continue to enjoy the current vintage for the forseeable future.
Losing Halladay is a tough thing to swallow for the beleaguered Blue Jays fanbase (such as it is), but we have to accept that with time, we were going to lose him anyway, either to time, injury, or to the inevitable change that occurs over the course of a franchise's narrative.
It's not that we want to see him go. But it all reminds us of a line from the Clive Owen movie Croupier: "Hang on tightly. Let go lightly."