On the eve of what could be Roy Halladay's(notes) final start for the Toronto Blue Jays, general manager J.P. Ricciardi said Tuesday he was not close to a trade with any of the five teams he's currently engaged with, adding, “My gut is we don't move the player.”
And while he'd established Tuesday as a deadline to complete a trade, Ricciardi waved that off.
“It doesn't matter if it's today or tomorrow or Friday or next week,” he said. “Nothing is close. Nothing is happening.”
The Phillies, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Dodgers, Yankees and Brewers were believed to have been talking with the Blue Jays, though some – the Angels perhaps first among them – have peeled off to pursue Indians lefty Cliff Lee(notes) instead. If the Blue Jays have out-priced the market, the Indians could be the beneficiary of a market fairly desperate for starting pitching. After Halladay and Lee, the next level down would appear to be the Mariners' Jarrod Washburn(notes), scheduled to start Tuesday night.
Meantime, Ricciardi does appear to be standing by his sentiments when he first revealed Halladay was available. That is, that it would take an extremely generous offer to take Halladay out of Toronto. Of course, with three days to the non-waiver deadline, it would help his cause to be unimpressed. The Phillies still seem most aggressive – one source said senior advisor Pat Gillick had weighed in on increasing their offer – but no club has satisfied Ricciardi.
“I don't think much has changed,” he said. “We haven't been moved. So, I just don't see anything happening. Really, there's no pulse.”
Believed to be under instructions to lighten his payroll and saddled by big contracts issued in recent years to outfielders Vernon Wells(notes) and Alex Rios(notes), Ricciardi would also listen to offers for third baseman Scott Rolen(notes), first baseman Lyle Overbay(notes) and shortstop Marco Scutaro(notes).
All eyes, however, are on Halladay, who'd become the ace of nearly any staff in the game for the next season-and-a-half. Ricciardi said he expected him to make his Wednesday afternoon start in Seattle. And then to make his next start for the Blue Jays as well.
“I know we told everyone we'd have to be moved,” he said. “We haven't been.”