How about a stick and an arm for a softie and headcase? That is the focus of todays vicious, totally unsubstantiated trade rumour courtesy of Cloud9 Sports. I'm just gonna throw it out there, if you don't wanna take it just go ahead and push it back:
Vernon Wells and AJ Burnett for Matt Holiday and Jeff Francis.
Bullocks you say? Lets take a closer look and reserve judgment for a moment...
Overweight, under achieving, would-rather-be-playing-in-the-U.S.A. Vernon has been no where near the player his contract indicates he should be. Many would place him in the relocate-and-thrive club after two seasons of disappointment for the blue birds. With his Gold Glove years apparently in the rear-view mirror to stay (his range factor was a league-worst for CF'ers in 2007), he'd be a tough sell as a stand alone. Armed with a no-trade, a move to a contender would be preferred, but if the Blue Jays get any worse, who's to say he doesn't loosen his criteria for relocation?
Consider AJ Burnett and his well-documented mental lapses and trade eligibility as the perfect addition to any potential trade package. He all but asked for a ticket out of town, and what better way to spite him then send his ass to a struggling Colorado team?
All that Jays GM JP Riccardi need ask for in return? A near-MVP and a potential stud left-hander. However unlikely the transaction in the form above, acquiring pieces like Holliday and Francis could go a long way in solidifying the Jays push to get out of the AL East for the first time since 1993. Pitching, particularly left-handers, will always be welcomed. As a Canadian-lad, Jeff Francis would likely welcome the trade with open arms, having little connection to the Rockies other than his roots in Vancouver.
Holliday is coming off his best season to date and is a potential franchise slugger. Following his RotY performance in 2004, Matt has steadily improved on his ability to hit for average and power. Nearing triple-crown numbers last season he lead the Rockies in their push for the World Series title and was reward with a 2-year extension. With the Rockies in a tenuous financial situation, perhaps Holliday will welcome a transition to a team willing to re-up their studs in manner fitting (and in the case of Wells, surpassing) their contribution.
But, does it work for both sides? Not really, no. The Rockies would be crazy to part with both of these relative youngsters for guys that are looking washed up and potentially past-prime. Asking for both Francis and Holliday will likely receive a laugh from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd. The trade is design to elicit a counter-offer, perhaps in the form of Holliday and a pitching prospect.
With the prospect representing fair value for the near valueless AJ Burnett, one switches their attention to the Wells v. Holliday discussion. The numbers and potential greatly favor Holliday, so what's in it for the Rockies? Perhaps the addition of some maturity (?) and a little bit of presence in the locker room? Nah. Wells has shown these attributes to be minimal, but managers can fall in love with past performances which in this case, might be his (and Torontos') saving grace.
The likelihood of a deal like this being executed is admittedly quite low. Perhaps this piece best serves are a barometer for the (sadly lacking) talent of certain Blue Jays. At best the Rockies agree to a blockbuster and get robbed of two promising players for two over-paid disappointments. At worst, the Jays let AJ walk at seasons end, and Vernon flounder in center as Rios' defensive talents marinate in right. The end game is JP Riccardi's failure manifest in a playoff-less Blue Jays team so desperate to shake things up they are signing everyone from the 92-93 World Championships. Burn.