Toronto– Scott Rolen spotted a Philadelphia reporter in the Toronto Blue Jays’ clubhouse on Thursday and an I-know-why-you’re-here smile spread across his face.
“He’s the best pitcher in baseball,” Rolen said of teammate Roy Halladay, who today could be making his final start for the Blue Jays before joining a contender.
“He’s going to fit in anywhere.”
With the non-waiver trade deadline a week away, the bidding for Halladay is heating up. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said he is having serious trade discussions with four teams that would like to land the 32-year-old righthander.
“All the teams we’re talking to have the resources to get the player,” Ricciardi said during the Blue Jays’ 5-4 loss to the Indians on Thursday at the Rogers Centre. “But like I said at the beginning, someone has to have the stomach for this, and I don’t know if there’s anyone out there that does.”
Ricciardi would not name the teams that are in the hunt for Halladay, but he did confirm that he has spoken with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ricciardi announced on July 7 that he would take offers for Halladay. He considered the Phillies such a viable trading partner that sources say he contacted Philadelphia officials on July 6.
Ricciardi would not name the Phillies players he wants, but several people with knowledge of the talks between the two teams said the Jays would require pitchers Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ in the deal. And that’s just a start. There are indications that the Jays also like minor-league outfielder Dominic Brown, who is considered the Phillies’ top position-player prospect by baseball people inside and outside the Phillies’ organization.
The Phillies have refused to comment directly on their pursuit of Halladay.
Former Phillies and Seattle Mariners general manager Pat Gillick, now an adviser to Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro, favors going for it. He stated that in an interview with Toronto radio station 590 The Fan on Tuesday.
Gillick, who scouted Halladay’s last start, said the Phillies were in a “position to maybe go back-to-back.”
“You don’t get many chances to go to the dance,” Gillick said. “You have to evaluate the position of your club and what kind of club you have.”