The Roy Halladay sweepstakes appear all but over, with no winner.
“If we get through today and we’re not anywhere, that would be a pretty good sign that it’s done,” Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told FOXSports.com at 4 p.m. ET Thursday, 24 hours before the non-waiver deadline.
“There are too many logistics for it to get done (tomorrow). For someone to come on the spot at the 11th hour, knowing they could have talked about this guy for a long time, I don’t think that it’s going to happen.”
Asked how many conversations he had with clubs on Thursday, Ricciardi said, “enough.” But the Jays, according to a major-league source, were “very quiet.”
“I never thought that anything was going to happen,” Ricciardi said. “We were asking for a lot. We knew we were asking for a lot. I don’t think we were outrageous. We just asked for what we thought the best pitcher in baseball would bring.
“We’ve got until tomorrow, but I would say it’s probably less than likely to happen.”
Ricciardi earlier this week told the New York Post that if no deal was completed by the deadline, he probably would keep Halladay through next season, the final year of his contract.
The GM indicated the same on Thursday, saying, “When free agency comes, Roy can make a decision on where he wants to go.”
Barring a reversal on Halladay in the next 24 hours, Ricciardi said he also will keep most of the Blue Jays who are under contract through 2010 and beyond, indicating that he would refrain from moving veterans such as third baseman Scott Rolen.
Ricciardi even said that he probably would not trade shortstop Marco Scutaro, who could bring the Jays two high draft picks if he leaves as a free agent at the end of the season.
If Halladay stays, so will most everyone else.
“I don’t think anything has changed from the day we said we would listen,” Ricciardi said. “We listened. We said we had to be ‘wowed’ to move him. We haven’t been.”
Asked if he were disappointed that no trade has occurred, Ricciardi said, “No, no, not at all. We weren’t under any mandate to move him. We didn’t have to move him for money. We said we would listen.”
Perhaps the better question is how disappointed Halladay will be to remain with the Jays. The pitcher repeatedly has said he is happy in Toronto, but that wants to play for a contending team.
The Jays could be competitive next season with Halladay at the top of their rotation, particularly if many of their injured pitchers return healthy. But competing against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the AL East — along with the improving Orioles — poses a unique challenge.
Halladay values his privacy. Once Ricciardi said he would listen to trade offers, the pitcher suddenly was thrust into the spotlight.
When Halladay was announced as the American League’s starting pitcher for the All-Star Game, virtually all of the questions he answered at the news conference were about the possibility that he might get traded.
“I understand,” Ricciardi says. “As difficult as this has been for us, I’m sure it’s been difficult for him.
“We’ve gone down this path together, mainly because he deserves to be treated like that. All the information we had, he had. He expressed an interest in listening. We expressed an interest in listening. He’s been step by step with us through this whole thing.
“Once a player’s name is out there in any way, shape or form, it’s part of the process — he has to deal with it. It doesn’t make it right or wrong. It’s part of the business we’re in.”