INDIANAPOLIS - Despite a report that the Phillies "have emerged as front-runners in trade discussions" for Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, general manager Ruben Amaro once again shot down the likelihood of the team engaging in such a deal.

"I don't think there's any likeliness," Amaro said.

Pressed on whether the likelihood of such a deal has changed since he offered a similar summation the day before, Amaro responded, "There's nothing likely. How about that?"

Many media reports have linked the Phillies to Halladay, citing the opinions of various front-office executives that the club has both the prospects and the willingness to acquire the righthander. But Amaro was unwilling to part with top prospects Kyle Drabek and Domonic Brown last summer during failed negotiations for Halladay. And he has said throughout the offseason that the Phillies are working with a budget that is not likely to greatly exceed the $137 million they doled out last season.

The money problem could be rectified a number of ways, including working out a back-loaded contract extension with Halladay that fits into the 2010 budget.

But, at least for now, Amaro insists it will not get to that point. *

- David Murphy