It’s been a profoundly sad baseball day for me.
First, with each couple hours as the day progressed it seemed that Texas was emerging as the leading candidate to acquire Roy Halladay, an acquisition that would rank with Nolan Ryan and Alex Rodriguez in this franchise’s history in terms of instant impact.
That prospect in and of itself didn’t sadden me — I’m on record saying I’d love to have Doc here in 2009 and 2010 — but when word developed that the price would start with two of Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, and Justin Smoak, supplemented by Ken Rosenthal’s Fox Sports note that Toronto sent a scout to Arlington to watch Holland start tonight “on short notice,” I started to get a pit in my stomach.
And then tonight, July 30, 2009, a baseball game was played that, years from now, may be talked about (at least in this space), a game in which Holland was so good that the Jays scout might as well have stopped taking notes. I hope. Over Holland’s first eight innings, he permitted one hit (a fifth-inning, broken-bat single busting up a perfect game) and no walks, striking out 10 Mariners with command not only of his fastball but a crisp breaking ball. The ninth inning wasn’t as clean — walk, F-9, fielder’s choice, single, depriving Holland of his first big league complete game — but there’s something almost poetic about that walk to the dugout after handing the manager the ball following a performance like that. The kind he dazzled the Texas League with last summer.
Only I didn’t see that stroll off the field.
Or anything else.
I was away from a television tonight and saw only a Gameday account of what was going on. And I didn’t set the DVR.
I’m going to have to get a copy of that game.
As for the Halladay talks, I want to believe that Holland’s opus may have saved Texas from doing something it would later regret. Of Holland, Feliz, Smoak, and Martin Perez, I just can’t bring myself to feeling good about parting with two to get Halladay, as great as he is. The only pair I’d even be willing to think about is Feliz and Smoak, and even then it would give me indigestion to do it.
A Twitter post from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale after the game: “Nolan Ryan just said they actively are seeking Toronto [pitcher] Roy Halladay, but suggested that LHP Derek Holland won’t be part of any deal.”
I’d like to think that position had been taken four hours ago (Jon Daniels said after the game: “We didn’t have any more interest in trading him at 7 p.m. than we did at 10 p.m.”), but it doesn’t matter now. What matters is Holland is going nowhere.
Ryan added: “It’s still premature to make a prediction [as to] whether it will happen. Obviously, we’d like to have him.”
Me, too. But only on our terms.
Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi told ESPN’s Buster Olney tonight that Halladay trade talks are “dead.” Not sure I believe Ricciardi, but whatever. He hasn’t played his hand particularly well this week, but he’s got half a day to salvage things.
But I can never get Thursday back. I missed the game, finishing off a day of baseball sadness.
And I couldn’t be happier.