The Phillies will likely introduce pitcher Roy Halladay at a news conference today at Citizens Bank Park, according to a person with direct knowledge of the team's plans.
The event - it could be delayed a day because of the medical reviews necessary for all players involved - will make official a complex trade that cost the Phils their ace and two top prospects, but brought them the game's preeminent pitcher.
According to multiple reports, the Phils will send highly regarded righthander Kyle Drabek to Toronto, along with outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Toronto will immediately send Taylor to Oakland for first baseman Brett Wallace.
In part to clear payroll for Halladay and in part to replenish their farm system, the Phillies will also ship postseason standout Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for three minor-leaguers: righthander Phillippe Aumont, righthander J.C. Ramirez, and outfielder Tyson Gillies.
The team and Halladay agreed yesterday on a three-year, $60 million contract extension, covering the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. The deal also includes vesting options that could lengthen the contract and make it more lucrative.
The Blue Jays will also reportedly send $6 million to the Phillies, to help offset the $15.75 million owed to the former Cy Young Award winner next season.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had long coveted Halladay, and was deeply engaged in talks to acquire the pitcher in July. But then-Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi requested Drabek, Happ, and highly touted outfield prospects Domonic Brown and Anthony Gose, and talks collapsed. By not including Happ, Brown, and Gose in this trade, Amaro negotiated a lower price in December than he was able to in July.
The second-tier prospects used to acquire Lee must also be considered part of the price for Halladay. On July 29, the Phillies sent four minor-league prospects, pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson, and infielder Jason Donald, to the Cleveland Indians for Lee. The trade was made possible by Cleveland's need to shed payroll.
The decision to move Lee indicated a belief among Phillies brass that Lee would seek a much more lucrative contract after next season, when he will become a free agent. Lee's agent, Darek Brauneker, disputed that characterization in an Inquirer interview Monday, but Halladay's extension was well below market value, and seemed to stem from the pitcher's clear desire to pitch for the Phillies. The team clearly did not expect to sign Lee for a comparable amount of money.
A published report Monday linked lefthander J.A. Happ and righthander Joe Blanton to the deal and said that both pitchers took physicals in Philadelphia. But according to a team source, Happ has not taken a recent physical in connection with any trade. It was unclear if Blanton took a physical this week.
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