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Justice Is Served


September 1, 2009 6:15 PM

Why did no contender pick up 'Doc'?

For all the talk you hear about teams wanting to win a title, I found it curious that no contender ponied up the talent needed to acquire Roy Halladay, as good a pitcher as any in baseball. For if any pitcher could have ensured a team a long run into the postseason, Halladay would be the one.

Before the July 31 trade deadline, I thought for sure the Phillies would swing a deal. They balked, calling the price tag for Doc Halladay too steep. So they chased and landed Cliff Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young winner. Lee has been a splendid pickup at a bargain price, and he has been a difference-maker.

Lee is no Halladay, though.

The window for picking up a player who can play in the postseason shut Monday night, but no team landed Halladay, who would have shored up any team’s playoff prospects despite his unimpressive performance in August. You always hear about the dangers of not mortgaging your short term for the long term, but the short term is what fills ballparks. No one cares about how deep a franchise is in Minor League talent, because that talent might never reach the bigs.

So when you’re close to making the postseason like the Red Sox, the Rangers, the Angels, the Rockies, the Brewers and the Astros are, adding a piece like Halladay could have been the difference between showering in champagne or watching October baseball on ESPN.

Halladay, who would have had to first clear waivers, was too dependable an ace for a team not to let the Blue Jays comb through its farm system and pluck its finest talent.

I have never favored foregoing now for tomorrow, which is why the Indians teams in the 1990s never won a World Series. Legitimate runs at a World Series don’t come around every season – unless you’re the Yankees and have a bankroll as fat as Warren Buffett’s. The timeframe for winning a title is always narrow for teams like the Rockies and Astros and Rangers.

I know the Blue Jays were demanding a king’s ransom in exchange, but isn’t that ransom worth shelling out when someone like Doc Halladay, a No. 1 starter who toiled for a team with zero postseason aspirations this season and next, can lead the way to baseball’s promised land?

A championship carries a high price, and fans of teams that fall short of winning this season should remember their team didn’t pay that price to make it happen. 

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