Halladay will block in-season trades
Wants move done by spring or he's staying in Toronto for '10
TORONTO -- It became apparent in July that Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay grew tired of being the center of a month-long media circus that detailed the pitcher's every move, gaining steam and consuming interview sessions as trade rumors piled up.
Halladay does not want to go through a similar experience this season. If the Blue Jays are going to trade Halladay before he has a chance to test free agency next offseason, the club will likely need to pull the trigger on a deal this winter.
"One thing is certain -- once Roy reports to Spring Training as a member of the Blue Jays, from that point forward he will not approve or even discuss any potential trade scenario," Jeff Berry, one of Halladay's representatives, told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
"This will eliminate a repeat of the distracting media frenzy of 2009 for both Roy and his teammates, and will allow Roy to focus on pitching at the exceptional level Jays fans have come to expect."
With a full no-trade clause included in his contract, which expires after the 2010 season, Halladay has the ability to control the situation. Berry, who works with Halladay's agent, Greg Landry, said the ace pitcher is prepared to block any trade proposals after he reports to Dunedin, Fla., in February for Spring Training.
Speaking to local reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said he planned to speak with Halladay's representatives in person before publicly commenting on the reported deadline.
"Obviously, I'll look into it," said Anthopoulos, who said he had not read Berry's comments. "If there's something that Halladay's agent said, I'll certainly touch base. I just want to hear it for myself and talk to him."
Asked if he had already discussed such a deadline with Halladay or his agent, Anthopoulos held firm to his policy of not commenting.
"In terms of private talks that I've had with his agent and the player," Anthopoulos said, "and, obviously, I've talked to a lot of agents in the offseason and lot of our players, those are things I want to keep in-house. I don't believe we should talk about those things out in the media.
"I've talked to Roy several times, but he's certainly not the only player I've spoken to. It hasn't been exclusive to him at all. I've told all the players that I do want to open up the lines of communication."
Halladay has reportedly informed the Blue Jays that he would waive his no-trade clause to pitch for the Yankees, and the Red Sox, Angels, Phillies and Dodgers are also believed to be destinations that the pitcher would approve. Anthopoulos has also noted that he is not opposed to dealing any of his players within the American League East.
Halladay is under contract for $15.75 million in 2010 and the pitcher has made it no secret that he is more interested in testing free agency next winter than talking to the Blue Jays about a contract extension. Halladay has expressed a desire to pitch for a team with a realistic shot at winning a World Series, and Toronto is coming off a fourth-place finish in the AL East.
Berry told ESPN.com that Halladay and Anthopoulos have had a "very good dialogue," noting that Toronto will have to make a decision "based on what they believe is in the best long-term interest of the Blue Jays organization." Under the circumstance, Halladay does not likely to be a part of the club's long-term plans.
"He's really the face of the team and he's the best player on this team," Anthopoulos said. "I think he's been adamant about the fact that he loves Toronto and he wants to stay here, but his No. 1 priority above all that is his ability to win and his ability to pitch in the postseason.
"With us being a 75-win team last year, and not being a postseason club, he made it very clear that he wants to wait it out and see what occurs and see how 2010 goes before making any commitments."
If the Blue Jays do not trade Halladay this offseason and the club is forced to watch him walk away as a free agent next winter, Toronto would likely have to settle for a pair of compensatory picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. By dealing him now, the Jays can potentially land Major League-ready players to help Anthopoulos strengthen the team's core.
One way for the Jays to possibly increase the return in a Halladay trade is to grant the acquiring team a window in which to negotiate a contract extension as a player. It is not guaranteed that Halladay, who has never experienced free agency in his career, would be open to talking about a long-term deal, though.
"Each potential trade situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis," Berry was quoted as saying, "with a critical factor being the legitimate opportunity for Roy to pursue multiple World Series championships."
While Anthopoulos might consider granting a window if the return is significantly greater, he said on Tuesday that he prefers to avoid such scenarios if possible.
"You'd prefer not to give a window strictly because it makes things more complicated overall," said Anthopoulos, while discussing his general philosophies. "When you're looking at contract negotiations, agents are involved, dollars are involved, term, length -- all of a sudden what a team may have felt the value of a player was may have changed."
As for the Spring Training deadline, Anthopoulos did not believe such a scenario necessarily changed things drastically.
"I don't know if it changes you're ability to make a trade one way or the other," he said. "If trades mean they need to occur now or later or a month or two months from now, we'll make those evaluations. This is the offseason. We've got the Winter Meetings coming. It's a time where more and more clubs are talking to one another. Free agency is starting to settle in a little bit more.
"Most times when trades do occur, this is the month and the next month that they do end up occurring one way or the other. Apart from that, in the spring you don't see too many deals, other than at the end of the spring when teams are trying to get down to their 25-man [roster].
"We're going to continue with our offseason the way we always planned."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.