At this point, it’s a matter of time before the Roy Halladay trade becomes official. It’s being labeled as a three-way or even a four-way trade, but it’s essentially a series of individual trades between multiple teams. Halladay was, for all intents and purposes, traded to the Phillies for three prospects: Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud. Buster Olney says the Yankees believe the Blue Jays accepted less than what they were asking from the Yankees, and Jon Heyman reports the Yankees were willing to trade Jesus Montero but not Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
The ultimate reality might be that the Yankees and Blue Jays were simply not a match.
Had the Yankees traded Montero, plus Hughes or Chamberlain and another of their top 10 prospects, that package would almost certainly have trumped the Phillies offer. Short of that, though, the Yankees might not have had what the Blue Jays were looking for. Doesn’t mean the Yankees have a bad system, just means the pieces didn’t match-up.
Matching d’Arnaud is easy. He’s more or less Austin Romine. Both are catchers with considerable power, though d’Arnaud is a year younger and was drafted a few picks earlier. They had the exact same number of home runs this season, with Romine finishing with fewer doubles and one more RBI while playing at a higher level. Prefer whichever you like, the two are pretty close.
Taylor is a nice hitting corner outfielder who batted .320 with 20 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A this season. His value is high enough that the Oakland A’s are going to take him in a swap for Brett Wallace, the 13th overall pick in 2008 who has done nothing but hit since turning pro. Austin Jackson — if he were still with the Yankees – would be pretty close to Taylor in terms of prospect status. Montero would certainly rank ahead of Taylor. The Yankees could have matched or exceeded this part of the trade.
Drabek seems to be the key to deal. The Blue Jays clearly wanted a front-line starter who’s nearly big league ready and that’s Drabek. He’s a first-round pick who just turned 22, he has a fastball that gets into the mid-90s, and he’s “come as far the last two years as any prospect,” according to Baseball America. Other than Hughes and Chamberlain, the Yankees don’t have anyone quite like that. Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister aren’t seen as having the same upside as Drabek, while Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos aren’t nearly as close to the big leagues.
The Blue Jays might have asked for more from the Yankees than they got from the Phillies, but the Yankees decided Hughes/Chamberlain was too much to give up. Without Hughes or Chamberlain, it’s not unreasonable that the Blue Jays would have prefered a package of Drabek, Taylor and d’Arnaud over a theoretical package of Montero, McAllister and Romine. The Phillies simply had pieces that matched what Toronto wanted.