Blue Jays Will Listen to Offers for Halladay

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Associated Press
Tuesday, July 7, 2009; 8:03 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) ¿ Roy Halladay wants to keep pitching for Toronto, but is willing to consider accepting a trade if approached by the Blue Jays.

"I want to stay, but I think it's a situation you have to evaluate," Halladay said before Tuesday night's game against Tampa Bay. "I'm really not at that situation just yet. If something does come up, you weigh your options at that point. I hate to put the cart in front of the horse and start saying 'Do I want to do that? I think you just evaluate the situations when they come."

Halladay is 10-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 16 starts. He'll be paid $14.25 million this year and his contract, which has a no trade clause, expires after the 2010 season, when he's set to earn $15.75 million.

"Really at this point, I just want to focus on my job here," Halladay said.

The 17th overall pick in 1995, Halladay has spent his entire career with the Blue Jays, amassing a career mark of 141-68 with a 3.47 ERA. He won the Cy Young Award in 2003 and finished second to Cleveland's Cliff Lee last season.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi on Tuesday said he's willing to listen to offers for Halladay.

"I don't think anything has changed, I just think, 'You know what, why not listen? The worst we can say is no,'" Ricciardi told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.

"If someone wants Roy and they're willing to blow us away, we'd be willing to listen, that's all I'm saying. That doesn't mean we'd trade him, that doesn't mean we're looking to trade him. All it means is we'd be willing to listen."

"In the past we weren't willing to listen and we figured let's just see what someone's got out there and what someone is willing to offer," Ricciardi said.

The Blue Jays began Tuesday at 43-41, seven games back of Boston in the AL East and six out of the wild card ¿ behind six other teams.

"All I can do is try to avoid that becoming a distraction and go from there," Halladay said. "It's a situation where, I think, if it's best for the team, it's best for me, then it just means you go from there. It's basically just saying this is an option that we have and maybe we'll look at it. I think that's really the extent at this point."

Ricciardi was vague when asked if salary would be a factor. The Blue Jays' payroll is just short of $81 million, 16th out of 30 big league teams.

"I'm not so sure payroll-wise where we're going to be able to be after 2010. I'm not so sure that the player wants to stay here beyond 2010. I'm not sure of those things," he said. "So those are all things we have to weigh out. He's under contract through next year and worst-case scenario, he does not sign back with us and we get two draft picks."

Interim CEO Paul Beeston declined to comment on dealing Halladay but did say the team's payroll for next season is still a work in progress. The Blue Jays have $82.45 million committed to Halladay and seven others next year.

"We will be getting into it over the next month," Beeston said. "We'll be looking at next year, we'll do a three-year plan and a five-year plan as best we can project it."

The only salary commitments the Blue Jays have between 2011-14 are to Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Aaron Hill worth about $40 million per season.

AP-ES-07-07-09 1914EDT!


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