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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Halladay: Future bright, but not now

By Jayson Stark
ESPN.com

With every day that passes, Roy Halladay begins to sound more and more like an ex-Blue Jay.

Halladay talked frankly again Tuesday, before going out to start the All Star Game, about the future. And he gave off the impression he was less convinced than ever that the Blue Jays are close enough to winning in the near future to convince him to stay.

Asked how he felt about the direction of the franchise, considering how much he has said he liked it in Toronto, Halladay gave this reply:

"Yeah, I do [like it]. I think we have a lot of great pieces. But the tough part is to be in a tough division. I think sometimes you do think you have enough guys to make a run. But if we lose one or two, it's just been frustrating in the past couple of years that we haven't been able to go out and get those couple of extra guys. ...

"So everything has to go right. You need guys to play to their potential. And you need two or three guys, that you don't expect, to step up."

Halladay said he has been impressed by the Jays' young players. So he understands the future isn't hopeless. But his own clock is ticking. And he remains the only active pitcher with 100 wins or more who has never started a postseason game.

"There is a lot there to look forward to," he said of the Blue Jays. "But I just think it's so hard for any of us to say that [the year we win] will be this year or this year or this year."

Halladay said he has had candid conversations recently with GM J.P. Ricciardi about where each side stands. He said Ricciardi told him that at this point, for both of them, the club has decided "the best thing to do was just to go out there and explore our options."

Asked if having a GM who kept him informed made dealing with this uncertainty easier or harder, Halladay answered:

"I think it's been good, only because the information I've gotten has just been, 'This is what we're going to have to look at.' It hasn't been something where I've had to sit down and look at this [team's] situation or that situation. That part, I think, would be harder. But for him to just come up and say, 'This is what we're going to try to do, just to give you a heads-up' -- that part, I think, is OK. But I think there's a certain part where you just want to stay out of it."

That will be easier to do since multiple media reports have said the Jays will not allow teams to negotiate with Halladay prior to the completion of any trade.

Halladay, who is under contract for next season at $15.75 million, has a no-trade clause and would have to approve any deal. He did not say whether an extension would have to be part of any deal.

Halladay has been frequently rumored to be heading to the Phillies, a team with a park that's not exactly a pitcher's paradise. But he said pitching in Citizens Bank Park wouldn't be a significant concern.

"For me, I've never been real worried about stats, numbers, ERAs and things like that," he said. "I mean, everybody has got to play in the same park. So your chances of getting a couple of home runs are as good as giving them up. Especially as a starting pitcher, I just try to give my team a chance. You can do that with a 2.00 ERA or a 5.00 ERA. I think it's all the same."

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick contributed to this report.