Blog Entry

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

Posted on: July 13, 2009 9:42 pm

ST. LOUIS -- Not only will Tuesday night's All-Star Game start put Toronto's Roy Halladay on the biggest stage of his career, it also will be one of the most public auditions he'll make in his new life as trade bait for a contender.

But what's more newsworthy is that the very private Halladay spoke at length Monday about the possibility of leaving his beloved Toronto. And he sounded like a man who mentally has one foot out the door already. Which is notable in that he has full no-trade powers and must sign off on any deal.

"The team's open to looking and I'm open to it," Halladay said. "It's kind of, 'Let's see what happens and go from there.'"

The longtime ace of Toronto's staff finally seems resigned to the fact that if he is going to pitch in October for the first time in his 12-year career, it's going to have to be in a uniform other than that of the Blue Jays.

"For me, that's been the biggest struggle," Halladay said. "To (Toronto general manager) J.P. Ricciardi's credit, when I signed my extension, that was the focus for him. He said they were going to try and win. I believe they did the best they could to try and win.

"But financially, the economy, maybe you get to the point where we have to change direction a little bit."

The economy has hit Toronto hard. The Blue Jays rank 12th in the American League in attendance, ahead of only Cleveland and Oakland, and next year's payroll is expected to be lower than the current $80 million. As such, in a division with big spenders Boston and the Yankees, and including a very talented Tampa Bay club, the Blue Jays' immediate prospects for contending do not look good.

From Toronto's perspective, one thing that has to factor in is the disappointing return they got when pitcher A.J. Burnett fled via free agency last winter: The Jays were expecting two draft picks, but aside from the sandwich pick they got following the first round, they were stunned when events played out to net them only a third-round pick from the Yankees.

One of the most telling glimpses into Halladay's current thinking was in how he answered the question of being traded to a large-market club. He's thrived in the out-of-the-way quiet of Toronto, and he does not enjoy the spotlight.

But he also sounds ready to compromise on that for a chance to win.

"I think so," he said. "That's what made Toronto great for me. It is quiet. It is a great place.

"But I think you've got to take a chance sometimes. Wherever that may be, there is a point in your career where you know you need to take a chance and try it and win."

At 32, Halladay seems ready to take that chance. Even if it is in New York, where he says he would not be intimidated.

"No," he said. "I'm sure a lot of media people wouldn't love me. For me, I've always been able to separate what I do on the field from off the field, and I've realized I can't always make everybody happy all the time."

He also said that although he's played his entire career in the American League, he wouldn't necessarily be adverse to pitching in the National League and, thus, batting (which should be music to Philadelphia's ears).

"Once you go from the American League East," he said, smiling. "Not that there aren't great teams out there, but it's a tough decision. I'd rather hit than have to face (Derek) Jeter, A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez), (Hideki) Matsui, (Mark) Teixeira and those guys."

Halladay, thoughtful and reflective throughout the interview, said he doesn't yet know whether he would ask for an extension of his current deal (roughly $7 million remaining this year and $15.75 million in 2010) in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause, as some major league executives believe he will.

"It's a little bit down the road for me," he said. "All I can tell you is that my priority will be to win. I've been fortunate to have been taken care of fine in Toronto. As a younger player, maybe is at the beginning of a career, that's important. Now, the emphasis is on winning. As far as thinking that far, I really haven't gotten there. It just hasn't come up."

Whether Halladay will be traded by the July 31 deadline, he said, "for me, it will be the flip of a coin. I really believe that. I think there is so much that goes into it. I'm still not 100 percent sure what direction we're going to take in Toronto, if Toronto does decide to do something."

There are many in the game who think that Ricciardi is sending out feelers now and that the Blue Jays will wind up trading Halladay this winter, rather than this July.

Whatever the timetable, after listening to Halladay on Monday, you have to believe that he's already begun cutting the emotional ties in one of the most calculated gambles of his career -- and, on Toronto's part, in recent franchise history.



Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: July 14, 2009 9:40 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

I can't see how anybody but the Phillies or Red Sox get Halladay.  The RedSox have Masterson and Buchholz to start any deal and a number of people major league ready like Jed Lowrie and minor leaue prospects.  The Phil's have Kyle Drabek, Jason Donald a SS prospect who was Fall League MVP, and Lou Marson a very good major league ready catching prospect.  The question is are those teams willing to pay the price in prospects.  The Red Sox already have a lot of money committed to Beckett and Dice K plus Lester is approaching arbitration and Free agency years.  Having 4 roster spots w/Halladay at pitcher that command more than 60 million is alot especially with Papelbon at the back end of the bullpen.  You are talking 5 pitchers that command half of your salary structure,  the Bosox are big spenders but I don't know if they want to commit that much to 4 spots that play 1.5 games a week. that's 70 mill for the rest of the staff and roster.  Tough financially.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: July 14, 2009 9:27 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

4th largest Market with at least the 4th largest media isn't the quite place for most people although it's the only one of the major team's that doesn't have a 24 channel of it's own of course the second biggest all sport's TV network and largest radio network do own it.

Now that I think about it the only larger markets all have two teams.

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: July 14, 2009 8:46 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

Can the Yankees & Sox fans on here explain WHY the Blue Jays would trade thier ace to a division rival? As a life long Phils fan, I have ready many articles about this and hardly anyone thinks he'll end up with the Sox or least not this year. If he moves this year it will be to an AL team outside the division, or a team like the Phils or Dodgers that have farm talent, money, need for an ace, & potential to WIN now!

And to RickyP, WHY would the Giants bring in a another arm? That's the most ridiculous destination I've heard yet...The Giants need offense!

I obviously agree that your home grown talent wins championships, Howard, Rollins, Utley, Hamels, & the list goes on... If Halladay comes to the Phils, they better get a sign & trade in the deal beyond next season! Otherwise, I'd rather go after a Haren or Oswalt to help us reach October & get back to the promise land!


Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: July 14, 2009 8:31 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

There's really no need to exaggerate about Yankees attendance relative to the Blue Jays. All we need to know is that the Yankees spend more than $200M on payroll, which the Jays cannot come close to matching (and BTW, THAT DOES NOT MAKE TORONTO A 'SMALL MARKET' TEAM). To add that they draw 10 times the fans is just silly. While the recession (and probably Ricciardi's comments througout the winter and spring that Toronto would compete in 2010) have impacted attendance this year, the Jays are comfortably in the middle of league attendance most years. Remember that Rogers Centre (Skydome) holds more that 50,000 people! So when you see a half-empty stadium, there's still 26,000 people in the seats! The Yankees, obviously, do not draw a quarter of a million fans per home game.

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: July 14, 2009 8:15 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that the Blue Jays trade him to the Yankees RedSox or Rays............

PSSST........they are all in the SAME division............

That is WHy Teams Like The Dodgers, Phillies and Angels make the most sense.........

Since: May 17, 2009
Posted on: July 14, 2009 4:58 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

It would be good for baseball is Doc ends up in New York???

I'm a Red Sox fan and the only way Doc getting traded to another team AND still being good for baseball is if he went to a middle-of-the-road team who is trying to get over the hump. Like the Rangers or the Giants.

As far as going to New York, the Yankees do not have the minor league talent to get him. No one is impressed with a Hughes and two nobodys trade. Toronto is said to want anywhere between 3 and 5 players and of better quality than that.

Add in the fact that Halladay will need to sign an extension first and this will be a tough deal to get done. While I would love to see him sign with the Red Sox as a free agent, I in no way want to trade several of our farm guys for him.

The Red Sox took a page from the Yankees book in the late 90's, when the Yankees were smart:

Jeter, Posada, Rivera, Pettite...these guys were farm grown. The Red Sox have grown Pedroia, Youkilis, Paplebon, Lester. This is the way you build a team. Not by simply going after every big name free agent. These hired guns do not know each other, have not played in the minors and for the same franchise, and generally (though not always) care about money first.

While I agree that sometimes you need to go get a guy, like the Red Sox did with Curt Schilling in 2004, you don't get everyone that way. You need a nucleus of young guys that get along and have been brought up together.

I care about the Red Sox winning FIRST. But if you stick with the gameplan that works, the Sox will stand pat and grow their own future stars, inexpensive guys that the fans have been watching and care about, that the team controls the contracts of for a six year window.

Since: Nov 13, 2007
Posted on: July 14, 2009 4:17 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

Hopefully the Yanks will get Doc. Now with Wang on the sidelines, they could use another pitcher. Would be good for baseball if Doc ends up in NY, keep your fingers crossed.

Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: July 14, 2009 2:06 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

I think you are probably right about the Jays trading him this year and as soon as possible.  But I have two reponses.  My first is that times have changed.  I think of Halladay to the Jays as Hershiser was to the Dodgers or someone like that.  It is sad because Roy should never be anything but a Jay.  But we have all accepted the reality of 2009 compared to back then; even Roy has accepted it apparently.  Thanks for the inside interview.

My second thought is that there is no urgency to trade him this year if they do not get a great offer, since he has a year and a half on his contract.  If there is one thing I hate worse than a true star and quality franchise face like Roy having to be traded at all in this era, it is when the team doesn't really get anything substantial for the long run in exchange.

Nice article; if they had done better for Burnett as you mentioned, they may not be entertaining these thoughts now in place of those of a team that is in the heat of a pennant race.  They did very well, don't you think ... and missed it by ... that much.

Since: Jun 17, 2009
Posted on: July 14, 2009 12:03 am

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

First of all Toronto plays about a half a game a year on TSN, its sportsnet.  Even when the Jays were off to a smokin start the fans still only came for the opener and the Yanks and Red Sox games.  Second, how in the hell do you figure adding Prince fielders bat to the lineup will make them a contender in a 'good' division?  As long as the Jays play in the AL east with 2 teams that average 10 times as many fans per game and 200mm dollar payrolls you can forget them competing for 162 games by adding 1 slightly above average bat.

Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2009 11:35 pm

Halladay opens up about trade prospect

i agree with the go for broke next year philosophy. in fact, the whole mantra this offseason was something about a "bridge" to next year when marcum and mcgowan (and countless other pitchers) are back.

BTW, the jays don't need too many young arm prospects, they have them aplenty. i think if a pitcher was coming back in a halladay trade it would probably be an established young starter, but i think the emphasis of the trade would probably be on young position prospects. the jays will soon need an overhaul at many positions.

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