Halladay season in full swing in St. Louis

July, 14, 2009
ST. LOUIS -- Every day, there is a new Roy Halladay trade rumor. The Phillies, if the Blue Jays like their prospects enough. The Cardinals, if they can fit him into their payroll. The Red Sox, if the original asking price comes down. Halladay would prefer not to go to the National League because he doesn't like to hit.

And on and on and on and on.

Halladay was himself Monday: respectful, humble, thoughtful. He reiterated that his preference "is to remain in Toronto, because I really like it there and that's where I started." He said he has respected general manager J.P. Ricciardi "because he's been up-front with me."

But, quietly, he admitted this situation hasn't been easy. "I really don't enjoy talking about it. I just want to pitch and help the Jays win," he said. "I don't have answers. I think it's about 50-50 as to whether or not I get traded, but I don't know that. I'll be happy when this is over."

Here is a brief résumé of the All-Star starting pitchers, ordered in the chart below from lowest ERA to highest. Tim Lincecum is the highlight reel, Dan Haren the most consistent pitcher in the game, Halladay and Mark Buehrle the most reliable and Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson and Jon Lester the three starters most worth watching the rest of the season.

Dan Haren 9-5, 2.01 17/94% 0.81
Zack Greinke 10-5, 2.12 15/83% 1.08
Tim Lincecum 10-2, 2.33 15/83% 1.05
Matt Cain 10-2, 2.38 12/67% 1.24
Edwin Jackson 7-4, 2.52 14/78% 1.06
Felix Hernandez 9-3, 2.53 14/78% 1.14
Josh Johnson 8-2, 2.74 16/84% 1.13
Roy Halladay 10-3, 2.85 12/71% 1.10

Like Halladay, Indians catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez has been the subject of trade rumors because of Cleveland's rough first half. "I would like to finish my career in Cleveland," Martinez said. "So I hope I am not traded. I'll do the best I can wherever I play, but I hope it's in Cleveland."

Indians management does not want to trade Martinez because of his leadership and people skills. An example? When asked on Monday about catching, Martinez said, "What I miss about catching the majority of the time is the relationship with the pitchers. I really enjoy working with them and calling games and helping them. I miss being back there and in the middle of things."

That's who he is.

Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson -- the O-Dog -- said Juan Pierre was an extraordinary teammate in the first half. "For what he's done for us and what he's been as a teammate, Juan deserves to be in [the All-Star Game]," Hudson said.


Put Pierre on a number of other teams, and they would be much improved. The Cubs, for instance. Part of that team's frustration stems from the fact that Alfonso Soriano looks as if he's in the twilight of his career with his diminished power, speed and defense. The staff is very concerned about the outfield defense. It believes that Kosuke Fukudome would be the best defensive right fielder in the National League, but he's in center. There's also the concern that no matter how hard Rich Harden works, he simply doesn't have consistent arm speed from pitch to pitch or start to start.

Braves uber-prospect Jason Heyward is Baseball America's top prospect, and he was extremely impressive during Sunday's Futures Game. Heyward and Florida's Mike Stanton are 19 years old, monsters and intelligent. And why didn't Heyward follow in his parents' footsteps and go to Dartmouth, where his father excelled in basketball? "No way with that weather," Heyward said. "If I had gone to college, I would have gone to UCLA, where my uncle Kenny Washington played basketball."

Washington was a guard on the 1964 national champion squad.

One scout claims that 19-year-old Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly is the best young pitcher he has seen in two years. But Kelly is excited that he'll report Wednesday to the Gulf Coast League to play shortstop. "I still want to try to play every day," said Kelly, who is 7-5 with a 2.11 ERA, 74-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.85 WHIP for Greenville and Salem in his first pro season. The Red Sox expect Kelly to pitch full time eventually.

The Red Sox really like 21-year-old shortstop Yamaico Navarro, who is hitting .319 at Salem after missing four months with a hamate bone injury. They also just spent $10.2 million on two international shortstops: Jose Iglesias of Cuba for $8.2 million, and 16-year-old Jose Vinicio of the Dominican Republic for $2 million.


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