In what may be a ploy to raise the stakes as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, Toronto general manager J.P Ricciardi said yesterday he had not yet received a fair offer for all-star righthander Roy Halladay and has set Tuesday as the deadline to complete a trade for the 2003 Cy Young Award winner.
"At this point, it's probably unlikely that we'll trade Doc," Ricciardi said in an Associated Press report out of Toronto.
The Phillies, who are among the clubs interested in a possible deal for the Blue Jays ace, have steadfastly refused to say whether they are interested in Halladay. But team sources said they are.
"No one has really stepped up yet," Ricciardi said. "We've got to be highly motivated to move him. We haven't been highly motivated yet."
When asked last night about the issue, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said: "We do not comment on other teams' players."
Ricciardi said he set the Tuesday deadline because it would require time to work out the details of what could be a complicated deal and because he wants the matter resolved before Halladay's next scheduled start a week from today in Seattle.
Halladay is signed through 2010 and would have to approve a deal, but he has expressed interest in playing for a World Series contender.
"It's such a magnitude, the trade. He's got to OK the team he's going to. We've got to agree on prospects," Ricciardi said in the Associated Press report. "That doesn't happen, traditionally in baseball, in one hour. I think we need a little more time than that."
Ricciardi would not say how many teams have made offers for Halladay. The Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and Los Angeles Dodgers are considered the leaders for Halladay's services, and it's possible the New York Yankees could get involved.
"There's been enough," Ricciardi said of interested teams.
The Jays are looking for a package of premium young talent in return.
Halladay is 11-3 with a 2.73 earned run average. He had been on the 15-day disabled list and missed two turns in the rotation after injuring his groin while pitching against Florida on June 12. He has gone 1-2 in four starts since returning June 28, including a complete-game victory Sunday over Boston.