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The Real Reason Toronto's Trading Halladay

Heading into the season, Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi insisted that the team wouldn't trade ace Roy Halladay. Despite being burned by A.J. Burnett last offseason -- the Blue Jays held on to Burnett despite plenty of interest at the trade deadline, only to watch him join the Yankees -- Ricciardi was adamant the team would take the same approach with Halladay.

So, what changed Ricciardi's thinking so drastically? Why would the team openly shop its best asset just months after pledging that he'd be a big part of its future? The answer has everything to do with money and what Halladay plans to do after the 2010 season.

According to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, Ricciardi approached Halladay about extending his contract with the team early in the season. The longtime ace told the GM that he wanted to enter free agency in 2010, thus ensuring that he wouldn't be signing on long term without testing the open market.

Rather than sign a long-term extension on current market terms, Halladay wants to be the top attraction on the 2010 winter circuit, a desire which almost ensures he won't re-sign with Toronto. And that, in turn, means that the Blue Jays practically have to deal him.

Now that Toronto knows they won't be able to keep Halladay, his value will never be as high as it is today. They know that, and all their potential trading partners know that. That's just the way it works. That also means that it greatly behooves Toronto to pull the trigger on a Halladay deal now, because they're never going to get a greater return than they will in the next week.

Is that enough to make Ricciardi ship Halladay to Philadelphia, St. Louis or any other suitor that's targeting him? Who knows. Regardless, it's the logical, bottom-line decision to make, and it'll fascinating to see if Ricciardi sticks to it or if he clings to the thread of hope that the team could find a way to keep its ace next year, even if deep down he knows it won't happen.

By Cameron Smith  |  July 24, 2009; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  Blue Jays  | Tags: Blue Jays, Roy Halladay, roy halladay, trade  
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Comments

I agree that it's the best chance to get a lot for him, but it would (will?) really be a shame to see him go, since he's a homegrown Blue Jay and been an every-5-days fixture for as long as I can remember.

The most frustrating part of following the Halladay Jays is that they were often good for 80-some odd wins and likely will be again this season, totals that would have won divisions besides the AL East. Even now, they're in fourth but would be contending in other divisions.

The glut of young pitching in the system and rotation would make a trade palatable, especially because everyone respects Halladay so much and wants to see him go to a winner, if not stay put. I don't think anyone holds it against him.

Posted by: Talib26 | July 24, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Wait, there was another reason? I think that's more of a story. What is the fake reason??

Posted by: BillyBeane | July 24, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The Jays are in a good situation. Even if they don't trade Halladay by the deadline, there will be plenty of interest in him this offseason.

The fact that he's under contract for next year is a HUGE asset for the Jays. They're smart to begin shopping him now. What I can't believe is that they admitted Halladay wants to test free agency. That took away one chip they have.

Bottom line, I'm sure someone, either this year or this offseason, will meet their price. Halladay is too good for some team not to snag him and ride him to the playoffs (or at least try really hard).

Posted by: adampschroeder | July 26, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

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