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Monday, April 12, 2021

Details of Halladay trade take shape

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Blue Jays will reportedly receive pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis d’Arnaud from the Phillies, with Taylor being flipped to Oakland for infielder Brett Wallace

Roy Halladay is known for his incredible intensity and his ability to be able to finish what he starts.

It appears now that Halladay is also going to be known as a Philadelphia Phillie. A complicated deal involving a three-way trade in which the 32-year-old would move over to the National League is reportedly nearing completion.

According to a report first carried Monday afternoon by SI.com, the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to send Halladay to the Phillies and Philadelphia, in turn, would then send star pitcher Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners.

Although the deal has not yet been finalized, ESPN.com was reporting Tuesday morning that the Blue Jays will wind up with three young prospects in pitcher Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d’Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor.

Along with Halladay, the Phillies would get from Seattle pitcher Phillippe Aumont, a native of Gatineau, Que., who was the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in 2007, and outfield prospect Tyson Gillies.

And in a new wrinkle, if the deal goes through the Blue Jays will flip Taylor to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for corner infielder Brett Wallace.

Wallace is a former No. 1 overall draft pick whom the A’s obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals last July in the Matt Holliday trade.

“I think change is always good,” Blue Jays centrefielder Vernon Wells said Tuesday morning. “Unfortunately you’re losing one of the best pitchers in baseball.

“But obviously when you’re going to trade a piece like that you’re going to get a lot in return.”

Adding credence to the report that the Halladay portion of the deal is close to being finalized, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the pitcher and his agent have already checked into a Philadelphia area hotel – presumably to discuss a potential contract extension that he would have to agree to for any deal to go through.

“Have to stay consistent with policy,” Alex Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays’ rookie general manager, said in a text message Monday night when asked to respond to the reports. “Can’t comment on speculation.”

The commissioner’s office granted a 72-hour window on Sunday for Toronto and Philadelphia to complete their trade, a baseball official familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball didn’t make any announcement.

ESPN.com, citing an unnamed source, reported that Halladay, a six-time major-league baseball all-star nicknamed Doc, would probably agree to a three-year extension through 2013, with a vesting option that could lengthen the deal by another year or two.

The extension is expected to guarantee Halladay in the neighbourhood of $60-million (all currency U.S.), plus the $15.75-million he would make in the last year of his current deal in 2010, towards which Toronto is xpected to contribute $6-million.

Halladay, who has a no-trade clause in his deal with Toronto, has expressed a desire to play for a contending team.

The Phillies, who won the World Series in 2008 before conceding the title to the New York Yankees this past season in a six-game Fall Classic loss, would appear to fit that criteria. They also hold spring training in Clearwater, Fla., which is just a short distance from where Halladay lives in the off-season, and were actively involved in trade talk with the Blue Jays last July after it was revealed that Halladay could be had for the right price.

At the time, the Blue Jays were said to be asking for pitcher J.A. Happ as well as Drabek, along with outfield prospects Taylor and Domonic Brown.

The talks broke down and the Phillies instead secured a deal with the Cleveland Indians for Lee, who has one year and $9.9-million left on his current contract.

At baseball’s winter meetings last week in Indianapolis, Halladay’s name was front and centre in a number of blockbuster trade rumours involving a number of teams.

The Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were all said to want ownership of the dominating right-hander who was a first-round draft choice of the Jays in 1995 and has spent his entire career playing with Toronto.

Although he wouldn’t talk specifics last week in Indianapolis on any deal he was working on, Anthopoulos indicated the Blue Jays have plenty of holes to fill. Any trade, he said, would have to bring back a solid core of players that the Blue Jays would have control over for a number of years.

“We’re hoping to get players that we feel have a chance to be premium players,” he said. “It comes to the point that we would prefer to get as great a number of volume of above-average players as we can. I think the goal isn’t to get a bunch of average players.”

Halladay, who won the Cy Young Award in 2003 as the best pitcher in the American League, has finished in the top five in voting on four other occasions.

This year, on a team that won just 75 games and last made the postseason in 1993, Halladay went 17-10 with a 2.79 earned-run average. He led the league with nine complete games and four shutouts.

It was also being reported Monday that John Lackey, the top starter on the free-agent market who played this past season with the Angels, had submitted to a physical by the Red Sox, leading to speculation he was close to a contractual agreement with the American League club.

The Red Sox were not commenting Monday night.

It was felt the signing of Lackey would have a domino effect on the market, taking the Red Sox out of play for making a pitch for Halladay.

With Boston reportedly signing Lackey it was felt it would put added pressure on the Yankees to go after Halladay in order to maintain their competitive edge in the AL East.

It was also felt that the Angels, now minus Lackey and third baseman Chone Figgins, who signed a free-agent deal last week with the Mariners, would now be in a strong position to deal for Halladay.

But it appears that the Phillies have beaten them all to the punch.

And mark these dates on your calendars.

On July 25, 26 and 27 of next year, the Phillies are in Toronto for a three-game interleague game against the Jays.

CTVglobemedia Publishing, Inc

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