No Roy Halladay
I really like Roy Halladay. I would have loved to see him add to the Angel staff, and I still hope to one day see him win his 300th game in an Angel uniform for real, as he has already done in one of my MLB the Show video games.
But I can't complain about the Angels holding on to prospects. The reason this team is in first place right now is because they have resisted trading prospects in the past. You can't win on the backs of a few 12-15-18 million dollar players alone, unless you are the Yankees. There isn't enough room in a moderately large market payroll in the 100 million range to pay enough of those guys to field a winning ballclub. Especially when you choose poorly in who to pay those contracts to, like Gary Matthews Jr. The Angels certainly have not seen all of their prospects pan out, nobody does, but they get enough solid contributions at a below market value to fill out the winning team.
It's tough to tell which prospects will wind up showing the most value. A few years ago the Angels probably would have surrendered Mike Napoli in a trade before Casey Kotchman or Brandon Wood, but Napoli is the one delivering the most value now. It seems wise to play the numbers game with unsure prospects, believing that some will turn into solid big league regulars but not knowing exactly who.
It will hurt to not have Halladay in the rotation. At the rumored offer of Wood, Saunders, and Aybar, Wood is no loss for 2009 since they won't play him, Halladay is an obvious upgrade on Saunders, and Aybar could be replaced by Izturis. What does that give us? A slightly better chance at winning a best of 5 series. As Mark Teixiera showed, getting a big time upgrade in one player, and having that player come through in the postseason, still is no guarantee for success.
I think the Angels passed on upgrading their chances at first round advancement from say, 48% to 52%, or something like that. But they are in better shape to keep turning out the winning seasons in 2010 and beyond, as Wood, Aybar, and Saunders will combine to make less than Halladay, and probably leave room for a decent free agent as well.