Saturday, July 25, 2009
Updated: July 26, 9:52 AM ET
Sources: Jays want too much, Phils say
By Jayson Stark
If the Blue Jays' asking price for Roy Halladay is J.A. Happ, top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek and high-ceiling outfield prospect Dominic Brown, the Phillies aren't buying.
The Blue Jays formally proposed that package to the Phillies on Thursday, in exchange for the 32-year-old Cy Young Award-winner, ESPN's Peter Gammons confirmed Friday.
But two baseball people familiar with the Phillies' thinking told ESPN.com on Saturday that that's not a deal the Phillies are willing to make.
"The ball is in their court," said Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who Friday did not sound optimistic that a deal would happen.
According to an executive of one team that has spoken with the Phillies' brass, the Phillies are adamantly opposed to giving up both Happ and Drabek. There are indications they would like to substitute pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco for one of those two, preferably in place of the highly regarded Drabek.
"If there was an urgency to be somewhere else and an urgency from the team to have me somewhere else, I think it would be different," Halladay said Friday. "I just don't get that feeling. At this point I feel like I'm going to be here."
Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava scouted Carrasco's start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday after watching Drabek pitch for Double-A Reading earlier in the week.
"The Phillies are going to have to step up if they want him," said one talent evaluator involved in Halladay discussions. "Happ is OK [as a prospect], and Drabek is a good prospect, but neither of those guys is ever going to be what Halladay is. They're prospects, and Halladay is Halladay; he's the best. If Happ and Drabek are not both in the deal, it's not going to happen."
Blue Jays officials have told other clubs that Philadelphia still hasn't informed them it was unwilling to include both pitchers in a package for Holliday. But another source said the two sides are currently discussing "a list of seven or eight names" that will constitute the framework of a 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 deal.
Drabek, Happ and Brown are on that list, along with Carrasco, outfielder Michael Taylor, catcher Lou Marson and shortstop Jason Donald. It's believed that hard-throwing Class A righthander Jason Knapp was also on the list at one time. But Knapp just went on the disabled list with "shoulder fatigue." So, according to one source, talk about him has "cooled."
The Jays know they can get young major league-caliber pitching from teams other than the Phillies, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney. It's also possible that Toronto and the Red Sox -- who got nowhere in their discussions last week -- will re-engage in talks for the All-Star pitcher.
In fact, the Phillies were not the only team the Blue Jays reached out to in the last 48 hours and told: This is what it will take to get Roy Halladay.
According to one source who has been in touch with the team, the Blue Jays presented similar proposals to at least two other teams -- the Dodgers and the Angels. Both of those teams, the source said, remain interested.
But the Angels have been the much more aggressive club of late. The source characterized the Dodgers as still being "a long shot."
Other teams continuing to express some level of interest include the Brewers, White Sox, Rangers, Rays and Yankees. But multiple sources said the Phillies still represent the best match. And the teams appeared Saturday to be building momentum toward a deal.
It remains to be seen whether another team steps up and is as willing as Philadelphia to make a Halladay trade, and whether the Blue Jays are prepared to walk away from the table altogether and keep Halladay past the trade deadline; his trade value will likely plummet if Toronto keeps him.
"[The Blue Jays] are not just going to give him away for prospects," the talent evaluator said. Rather, Toronto "could just keep him and run him back out there for 35 starts next season."
Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, but Ricciardi has set a loose deadline of July 28 to work out a deal. Halladay's next scheduled start is July 29 at Seattle.
Halladay allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits to the Rays in a no-decision Friday night at Toronto. He walked three and struck out 10, the eighth 10-strikeout game of his career.
Halladay got his first standing ovation of the night before the game started, with fans rising to applaud as he walked in from the bullpen.
"It was electric, it was a great atmosphere," Halladay said. "It was fun to be in."
Information from ESPN's Peter Gammons, Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.