How many wins would Halladay add?

Lynn Henning reports today that the Tigers and Blue Jays discussed Roy Halladay and the price would be Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry, and Casey Crosby. Essentially the top 3 arms drafted and signed in the last 2 years by the Tigers. It’s a very steep price that had me balking on first blush. But after a deeper dive and this trade looks a lot more interesting.

We know that Halladay would replace Porcello in the rotation. Let’s assume that there are 13 turns left in the season for either pitcher. Halladay averages 7 1/3 innings per start meaning he’d throw another 95 innings. ZiPS projections have him throwing 84 more innings. We’ll split the difference and call it 90.

Porcello doesn’t pitch as deep meaning he’d likely go about 5 1/3 innings per start or about 70 innings. The bullpen would presumably pitch the rest of those innings.

Halladay has  FIP of 2.74 this year and ZiPS has him at 3.13 the rest of the way. Porcello has a FIP of 5.33. We don’t know exactly which relievers would pick up those other 20 innings, but we’ll assume they have a FIP of 4.50. Multiplying it out, we could estimate that Porcello+pen would surrender 51 runs. Halladay picking up those innings would surrender 31 runs over that same span. That’s roughly a 2 win swing over 62 games which is pretty significant.

But the Tigers are a fairly low scoring team with a fairly solid pitching staff and defense, in other words a lower run scoring environment team. Beyond the Boxscore points out that context matters in these things. They used PythagenPat, and I’ll use Pythagorean but the same general principle applies. Right now the Tigers are a .537 or 87 win team based on their runs scored and runs against. They are pretty close to that based on actual record as well. They average 4.66 runs scored and 4.35 runs allowed. If you reduce their total runs allowed by 31 21 (edit: I screwed up the math…sorry) the team becomes a .553 or 89.7 win team.

Now 87 wins stands a pretty good chance of winning the division and getting in the playoffs, but it is far from a certainty. A 90-91 win team will have a very, very good chance at taking this weak division. With that sort of context it almost makes it harder to turn down this deal than it is to accept it.

The price is steep in terms of prospects and value. Porcello won’t be a free agent until 2015. Expecting him to be as good as Halladay is unfair, but expecting him to be an above average pitcher for cheap for 5 more years is reasonable and makes him valuable. Crosby has the stuff and stats that make prospect lovers drool, and he’s a lefty. Perry is a pen arm, quite possibly a good one, but not terribly difficult to replace.

The upside of getting Halladay is tremendous though, and they’d have him for another season (provided Halladay doesn’t invoke his right to demand a trade in the offseason) and he could be flipped at the trade deadline next year if the team isn’t in contention or at the very least he’d net 2 first round picks if he signed someplace else.

I’m not anxious to see Porcello or Crosby go anyplace, but this would be one of only a handful of scenarios where I would be willing to let them go.


  1. Ryan

    July 30, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I think it would be worth it to have made that trade from Detroit’s view. Verlander, Jack and Roy in a playoff series… wow.

    Selling the farm to win a WS now looks awfully appealing. Obviously no guarantee we’d even get in and even win it, but in this day and age of sports I believe you have to go for it when it’s realistically attainable.

  2. Vince in MN

    July 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Kind of a Smoltz for Alexander scenario.

  3. BigMax

    July 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Remember John Smoltz. You can’t always think short-term.

  4. Skip

    July 30, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Too high a price right now.
    Anyway, don’t suck the farm system dry of talent.

    And all those people who say that Porcello, Perry, Crosby, etc. might not pan out, have you seen them pitch? They have future top rotation and closer (or at least a worthy bullpen arm) written all over them.
    And, correct me if I’m wrong please, but Smolz
    wasn’t as highly regarded as Porcello, etc…(?)

  5. Tim D

    July 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I don’t think this team is good enough that they should mortgage the future for Halladay. Even with him they would have a hard time with the Yanks, Bosox and/or Angels in the playoffs. This is a team in transition. Polanco and Ordonez will be gone after this year. We will likely not hear from Willis or Robertson again. Zumaya may be done. Rodney will be a free agent. Porcello and Perry are going to be critical pitchers in 2010 and beyond. Halladay is great but they have too many holes. Don’t do it.

  6. Big Al

    July 30, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    The Smoltz trade was a fluke, a once in a lifetime occurrence. The Tigers were the best team in baseball in 1987, and Doyle Alexander was a huge reason why the Tigers won the East. No Alexander, no division title.

    Smoltz was far from a top prospect at the time, no one thought he had HOF talent. Absolutely no one. Knowing the facts at the time, Alexander = established, but aging, front line starter, Smoltz = middling prospect, I’d make the trade again.

    So if I’m in Dave dombrowski’s shoes, I’m making the Halladay trade. I’ll take an established star over prospects every time. Anyone miss Cameron Maybin or Andrew Miller?

    I’m with Billfer, the Tigers would have had Halladay locked up for at least one more season. This would allow Detroit to either extend him, or if circumstances dictate, trade him in 2010, replacing the prospects traded to get the Blues Jays’ ace in the first place.

    You have to have a philosophy of “Win now,” especially in a division just there for taking, as you never know what the future holds.

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      July 31, 2009 at 3:25 am

      Porcello is no longer a prospect. He won his 8th game in the middle of June and was pitching like a veteran. He hit a road bump, but that was expected. He’ll adjust and get on another roll like he did before. He still has a decent chance to win 15 games in his rookie season. That’s amazing for a 20 year old.

      • scotsw

        July 31, 2009 at 8:46 am

        I’m with Mr. X on this one: Porcello is a “prospect” only by virtue of his age. What he puts on the field is clear-cut major-league stuff. Losing a few games isn’t a sign that he’s not ready — there a L for every W in baseball. It’s a sign that he’s human. Meanwhile, Perry has been nails since his recall, and looks better than several of the vets on this team.

        This wasn’t a trade of Halladay for “prospects,” it was a trade of Halladay for young stars.

        The Tigers aren’t New York: They have to think about payroll, this year and every year. I think given their stretched financial situation, they were right to pass on this deal. You make the deal, and suddenly you’ve blown a hole in your 2009 bullpen, too.

  7. Jeff

    July 30, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Well, I was kind of thinking wait and see if anyone else blinked and we could pick up Halladay for less. I say go for it. It would be fun to watch for a year or two.

  8. Kathy

    July 31, 2009 at 12:03 am

    I’d take Halladay in a minute. Every time the Tigers go to Toronto and he pitches, he’s a wonder to behold. Lights out! Giving up Perry is hard, though.

  9. Jeff Molby

    July 31, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for quantifying what I suspected… and you didn’t even factor in the postseason differences. My mouth waters just thinking of sending JV/JAX/Doc into the playoffs. It’d make the 2001 ARI rotation look weak.

  10. Jerry the Tiger Fan

    July 31, 2009 at 12:12 am

    I’d do the deal with one altreration. No Perry, instead the Blue Jays get Zumaya, Porcello, and Crosby. Perry is our next Zumaya, and if the Blue Jays are serious about moving Halladay I think this still makes sense. Even though Zumaya may be done for 2009, this trade is being made with TOR looking to the future. Assuming Zumaya will be healthy in 2010, the Blue Jays are getting two young, major-league ready guys and one prospect who’s two years away. If you’re DD you tell the Blue Jays, “look we need to keep a setup guy like Perry or this trade makes zero sense for us. You guys are out of it and therefore you don’t need the immediate help. Zumaya will be healthy next year and you’ve got Porcello to build your rotation around for the next 10 years and Crosby will be ready to contribute in 2011.” DD has got to make the point that the Tigers are in contention and they can’t send two healthy on-the-roster-arms out in the middle of a pennant race. Ricciardi should understand that unless he’s a complete buffoon. The trade still makes a lot of sense from Toronto’s point of view.

    • Jeff Molby

      July 31, 2009 at 12:22 am

      If Zoom’s injury was an isolated thing, they might buy that. Three years of ineffectiveness, though…. the whole league is skeptical about Zoom. He has value still, but not a whole heck of a lot.

    • Robo-Tiger

      July 31, 2009 at 12:47 am

      “Assuming Zumaya is healthy in 2010″…why would ANYONE assume that? he’s never been healthy for a long stretch over the past three years?

  11. Skip

    July 31, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I would not trade Porcello…
    Perry would be easy to watch go. We have a plethora of young, hard-throwing reliever types.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      July 31, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      Porcello is the antithesis of a hard thrower. His stuff is soft and depends on being perfect with location. He isn’t going to overpower anyone. I really think Porcello is greatly overvalued by Tiger fans.

  12. Vince in MN

    July 31, 2009 at 12:20 am

    The Tigers have the 2nd best pitching staff in the league. Unfortunately, on the offensive side they rank 11th in AVR, 10th in OBP, and 9th in RS. This is not a slump, they have maintained these relative positons for the better part of three months now. They are 6 games over .500. What does this tell you?

    Assuming the Tigers win the division, the three other likely teams in the playoffs are the Angels (20 over .500), Red Sox (17 over .500) and Yankees (23 over .500). The realistic possibility of getting by 2 of these 3 teams even with the addition of the mighty Roy Halladay (and his +2 wins) seems, well, not very realistic. Remember that these other teams are “adding wins” at this very moment as well.

    Hitting sems to have the edge over pitching this year and this is the area of the Tigers greatest weakness. Giving up three pitchers + $17M (or whatever portion thereof of RH’s salary) for Halladay just doesn’t make sense to me under the circumstances.

    • Jeff Molby

      July 31, 2009 at 12:33 am

      “Adding wins” is only relevant re: the regular season. With that in mind, the only necessary comparisons are CLE and CHA.

      Are there any available bats that would lift those rankings to any serious degree? Are there any available bats that would put us even close to on par with our likely playoff opponents? I think the answers are clearly “no”.

      Now look at the flipside. Just like goaltending in hockey, pitching can steal games for you in the short run. I think the only chance this team has of making playoff noise is to go in with three legit aces, hoping at least two of them are hot enough to carry the team. Any other approach and we’ll be lucky to play 4 games.

  13. Jud

    July 31, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Halladay can lose 2-1 as good as any Tiger pitcher now! This doesn’t make sense heck Jjurens would be 7-6 if he were pitching for the Tigers with a 2.7 ERA it;s about the lack of RUNS

  14. AnthonyC

    July 31, 2009 at 12:41 am

    One other thing to consider is that the biggest thing is getting in the playoffs. They’ll likely be matched up with an AL east team and would have some combo of Verlander, Jackson, and Halladay pitching at least 4 of the 5 games. Combine that with the way the MLB spreads out the games with more days off and the relievers are getting more rest than they normally would, so an already little used bullpen would be almost always fresh in that scenario. You get 2 or 3 days off for a 5 game series and 3 days off for a 7 game series. Thats massive for a team with a 3 good starters. They could literally only use Seay, Rodney, for most of the playoffs out of the pen.

  15. D Raz

    July 31, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I would either trade Porcello or send him to the minors. Porcello for Halladay and Scutaro is my offer and the Blue Jays want Perry or Crosby they can get bent. It is stupid to waste a year of Porcello’s service time, he hasn’t been effective for 2 months and if he lives up to the hype that will be a 10-15 million dollar season. Obvious we have seen that DD doesn’t care about blowing money but why keep the guy up if he isn’t helping the team? I am sure the Blue Jays would send him to the minors. Even if he was effective with the pitch count any decent team can get him out by the 5th.

    I would demand Scutaro, he is a huge upgrade, improbably 6 wins more (after 100 gams) according to WARP than Everett, (that is the most I have ever heard of and more of an upgrade than Halladay for Porcello) and not include anything else. The Jays aren’t getting a better deal, Porcello has a 50-50 chance to be a 15-18 game winner. The package they asked for from the Phillies was for a 4-5th starter, Happ, Drabek who is a 3-4 starter and is under 6 feet and already had arm surgery so 65%+ he winds up in the bullpen if he doesn’t blow out his arm and a Class A outfielder, granted he was talented but the Phillies said no. Would they rather get a guy with a good shot to be an ace or some more guys who if they pan out are mid and back of the rotation guys? If they want a Larish or Strieby I might include them but I really don’t think a package of 3 decent prospects is better than one ace. If they are smart (which it seems the Tigers aren’t), they would have him for near the min 2 more years and the first arbitration year wouldn’t be that much. Conversely the Tigers will proably keep him on the roster and after next year he will be arbitration eligible. If he pitches like he is capable in 2012 he will be making 10-15 million. If they bring him down he will probably make 5 million. 3 or 4 guys in the minors could do just as well as him right now. I wouldn’t mess with Perry or Crosby though.

    In any case I would still try to get Scutaro and Adam Kennedy. Both can be had cheap and are huge upgrades. Plus if the Twins get Scutaro they will win the division more than likely, he is a huge upgrade for them, 2-3 games by himself, that means they would be ahead of us right now and with halladay we would be 1 game better so if anybody gets hurt, we lose. Hopefully DD wouldn’t be dumb enough to mortgage the future and not get Scutaro but unfortunately he has made dumber moves. The Jackson trade was the best of his career and somehow he really wanted JJ Putz instead of Jackson, wtf, a reliever coming off elbow surgery that throws the 2 pitches that cause the most stress on your elbow. Honestly nothing would suprise me at this point, I almost expect a below average NL player probably from the Cubs or Braves because if we got JJ Putz that would have been about 11 dumb trades in a row by him, I still have nightmares of Neifi Perez, Jacque Jones, Renteria, D-train + Josh Anderson. Hopefully he has learned his lesson about the NL, if you aren’t an All-Star you are going to suck in the AL and understands statistical analysis.

  16. the fume

    July 31, 2009 at 1:16 am

    This team can’t trade Porcello, and I don’t know if they can really afford Halladay budget-wise. Porcello is the perfect fit for next year’s team, he should be a cheap innings eater. And to me, he seems like one or two inevitable adjustments from being a 3.50-3.75 ERA pitcher next year. His mistakes are hanging breaking balls and the occasional fastball that’s just a bit up. Those things usually get fixed with experience.

  17. D Raz

    July 31, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Halladay would pay for himself in extra attendence and playoffs tickets, merchandise and concessions, if we get Scutaro also.

  18. Kurt

    July 31, 2009 at 1:28 am

    My only worry here would be that the Tigers might need Perry in the bullpen. But goodness knows I’ve been thinking of Halladay for awhile now!

  19. Andrew

    July 31, 2009 at 1:32 am

    I have a feeling that if DD started demanding Scutaro and Halladay while only offering up Porcello, the phone conversation would be brief and there would be much laughter involved. The Blue Jays have made it pretty clear they don’t feel obligated to move him.

  20. Don

    July 31, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Porcello could be Smoltz, but that was absolutely the right move for the time, given all the data, as Big Al says. It got them to the postseason that year, and does anyone believe Smoltz would have gotten any of the ’90’s Tigers squads to the postseason? But Crosby and Perry, too? It’s steep. Too steep? Hmm. A 1-2-3 of Verlander, Halladay and Jackson in the short series ALDS and ALCS? Whoa.

    I remember winter meetings not long ago where it seemed like the Tigers weren’t active, then suddenly they steal all of the headlines. DD’s never made big splashes like that mid-season to my knowledge, but he is aware of sudden opportunities. Something might come up, but I doubt it’s with Halladay.

  21. Mat

    July 31, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Good analysis. Thanks. Two other things that would tilt the math further in Halladay’s favor: 1. Porcello is fading and will probably continue to do so as the scouting reports on him get fleshed out and he gets further towards the end of his workload cap. Projecting out his performance to date is probably overstating his case. 2. If you make the playoffs, Porcello is probably your 4th starter going one game a series whereas Halladay is going to probably pitch two. Bumping Galarraga to the 4th spot would be a significant benefit. Those playoff performances would obviously be of extremely high value.

    Plus, Halladays know-how and presence could be a pretty significant benefit to the rest of the staff.

  22. Scottwood

    July 31, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Great analysis, as always.

  23. stephen

    July 31, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Trade Maybin! (That’s a reference to a long-running gag from 2007 for the new kids. Just think of it as an early version of my Inge obsession).

    But seriously, I’d make the Halladay trade if only two of the three names were included. Except for the fact that this team is old–except for 3 or 4 key guys– and then why would you have Halladay on the team? Then again, you could buy him for this year, give up two top prospects, and trade him this time next year for two Porcello/Perry type clones from the Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers. It’s the baseball circle of life.

  24. Keith (Mr. X)

    July 31, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Halladay has won just 1 game in his last 7 starts and was on the DL with a groin injury about 6 weeks ago. I’m not so sure he’d win any more games for Detroit. Then what if he can’t stay healthy? Too many doubts and too high of a asking price for my tastes. No other teams are willing to give up the farm for him either. That is a huge hint that the major league scouts think he’s too risky and doesn’t have enough left in the tank to justify a trade. They probably think he’s too old and has too many innings on his arm. I agree.

    I’d give up Larish and Dolsi for him, but that’s about it. I’m not trading Porcello even straight up for Halladay.

  25. Ron

    July 31, 2009 at 6:22 am

    I would make that trade in a second.

  26. Jeff

    July 31, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Halladay replacing Porcello means a couple extra wins, as you show in your analysis.

    So would Washburn replacing Luke French. So the end result, at least for this year, would be the same if you traded for Washburn. And Washburn’s price, in terms of what you’d have to give up as well as salary, is a lot cheaper.

    It’s not even a close call — forget Halladay and trade for Washburn.

    • scotsw

      July 31, 2009 at 8:59 am

      Can we get some flashing lights and pointing fingers aimed at Jeff’s post above? It’s about the smartest thing written yet about this proposed deal.

      Do the deal, and you have to replace Perry’s arm in the ‘pen, which will probably cost the team about as much as upgrading from French.

      • Andre in Chi

        July 31, 2009 at 9:07 am

        The signs coming out of Seattle recently point to Washburn staying put, but otherwise I agree.

        • Andre in Chi

          July 31, 2009 at 12:07 pm

          Glad to see my crystal ball is working.

  27. David

    July 31, 2009 at 8:09 am

    As much as I respect and like Halladay, I would NEVER do that deal if I were DD.
    I mean if the world blows up after this year and baseball ends, then maybe…

    If the Tigers plan to play for the next few years then it would turn out to be a horrible deal. Kids are what? 20, 20 and 22?

    I’m sorry, but anyone who would do this deal (assuming they’re a Tigers fan) is nuts.

  28. jason

    July 31, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I have to agree with David and Jeff. I love Halladay, I think he is an incredible pitcher, but I still don’t make this trade.

  29. scotsw

    July 31, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Meanwhile, the Dodgers acquired George Sherrill from the Orioles for two AA players: A 3B and RHP.

    If Dombrowski can’t find a single way to improve this team before the trade deadline, he didn’t try very hard. It tells you that his hands must really be tied, financially.

    It’s possible this team is in much worse shape money-wise than we know.

  30. Chris

    July 31, 2009 at 9:35 am

    You could argue that a good bat could do as much as Halladay in strengthening the Tigers chance to get into the post season, and at much less of a cost in prospects.

    But Halladay in the post season pitching with a rotation that also includes Verlander and E-Jax would be scary.

  31. RPS

    July 31, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I don’t make the trade. This is why:

    Magglio -0.3 WAR
    Raburn 0.1 WAR

    So in the next third of a season, you’re looking at about -0.1 WAR (0.1 WBR?) from the outfield spot not occupied by Grandy and Clete. Shouldn’t be too hard to pick up a win there. Three-win (for a full season) corner outfielders aren’t super expensive. A guy like David DeJesus or Ryan Sweeney does just fine.

    If you subscribe to the theory that Laird’s offense suffers because he wears down, a better hitting backup C adds around half a win between his own numbers and Laird hitting .270 the rest of the way.

    Inge is injured and terrible right now. Assuming that between above-replacement offense and below-replacement defense Larish could be at least replacement level at third (he was 0.1 WAR as a DH in 12 games earlier this year), I have to imagine that’s worth at least a win. I don’t know where or how to get splits on that, but third baseman X has got to be a run a week better than Inge at the moment.

    So for this team as currently constructed, second tier corner OF + competent backup C + Larish at third/Inge to DL = Halladay.

    Of course, these are all things you could do in addition to Halladay, but this isn’t a division in which it takes 98 wins to make the playoffs. Only one or the other should be necessary. There are enough giant terribles on this team that a couple competent replacements at the right positions are as good as a true star at a fairly well-staffed position.

    EDIT: I can’t believe I referred to starting pitching as a “well-staffed position”. No pun intended, and I apologize to you all.

  32. MCM

    July 31, 2009 at 9:48 am

    We need Halladay AND another bat, otherwise it’s really not gonna help. Halladay will lose by a run like Verlander and Jackson have been recently.

    Ideally, we need a bat that can also play third base. Sounds like Inge is heading for the DL soon.

    I think the bat and third base is much more critical and less costly than a pitcher like Halladay.

    • scotsw

      July 31, 2009 at 9:57 am

      My spidey-sense still tells me Teahen becomes a Tiger today. Just a hunch.

  33. scotsw

    July 31, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I love fans because they can be harsh realists, whereas sports reporters can get carried away. The K.C. Star has a nice article about Josh Anderson being acquired, and it sounds like a smart move if you read the article:

    The writer notes that Anderson beat up the Royals this year, going 10-for-19 against them. Here’s the second reader comment:

    “Great, so if you take out his games against the worst team in the American League this year, he has hit .205 with 10 steals. Awesome. That’s so worth $20,000 plus his salary.”

  34. Jonathon

    July 31, 2009 at 11:33 am

    mlbtraderumors-ESPN Radio reporting out of Seattle that tigers acquire Jarrod Wasburn. Doesn’t say who for yet.

    • Shane trapped in Toledo

      July 31, 2009 at 11:34 am

      I heard Lucas French plus “other prospects.”

      • Jonathon

        July 31, 2009 at 11:38 am

        John Paul Morosi says Luke French and another prospect.

        • Jonathon

          July 31, 2009 at 11:39 am

          Luke French and Mauricio Robles according ESPN right now

          • KW

            July 31, 2009 at 11:46 am

            Looking at his stats, is there any reason to believe he’s an ace (as Fox Sports called him in the trade announcement) and not just an older version of Nate Robertson?

  35. Robo-Tiger

    July 31, 2009 at 11:39 am

    robles is the prospect

  36. Dave T.

    July 31, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Anybody know anything about robles?

  37. Jonathon

    July 31, 2009 at 11:48 am

    He’s been good this year in Lakeland, but still a few years away. Don’t think he projects to be a future starter but probably a bullpen guy. Good trade for the team.

  38. Brenden

    July 31, 2009 at 11:48 am

    This is a great start, now let’s get a bat!

  39. Jonathon

    July 31, 2009 at 11:52 am

    He’s not an ace KW, fox is wrong on that. He will be a above average 3-4 guy for the rest of year behind jackson.

  40. Jonathon

    July 31, 2009 at 11:53 am

    plus with him being a type b free agent, a compensation pick will be heading our way next year when he signs elsewhere, potentially back in Seattle.

  41. Kevin in Dallas

    July 31, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I like it. French’s trade value was at its peak.

  42. Dave T.

    July 31, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Pretty solid rotation, I did not think French was the next Sandy Koufax. Easily replaced by Bonine or even Robertson in Sept.

  43. Mark in Chicago

    July 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    this is undeniably a good trade. lefty starter, solid #3 guy for the stretch run, and we hardly gave up anything irreplaceable.

    it also leaves us some dry powder for a bat….