Jays GM calls chances of Halladay deal ‘very slim’

Two days away from his deadline for trading ace right-hander Roy Halladay, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told FOXSports.com on Sunday night that the chances of a deal remain “very slim.”

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“We’ve said that we would listen, but that we would have to be motivated and ‘wowed,'” Ricciardi said. “Right now we haven’t been. I’ve said all along my gut tells me I won’t be. I still stand by that.”

Ricciardi said his Tuesday deadline for moving Halladay is “not etched in stone,” and stopped short of saying that he might end the discussions before Friday’s deadline for completing trades without waivers.

“If we get to the last week and haven’t really made any progress with anybody, I’m not going to say it’s 100 percent certain, but I would have to pretty much think it’s not going to get done,” Ricciardi said.

Some rival executives are skeptical that the Jays will trade Halladay. Others believe that Ricciardi is merely posturing in an attempt to receive better offers, with one calling it a “game of chicken.”

Friends of Ricciardi, however, say that he only will trade Halladay if he gets the deal he wants, and that he is struggling with the implications of moving the Jays’ longtime ace.

“J.P. is having trouble trading the face of the franchise,” says one executive who knows Ricciardi. “At the end of the day, he’s really reluctant. He knows he would be writing off next year.”

So what else is new?

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The Phillies made a new offer that was rejected by the Jays over the weekend, sources said. The offer, according to ESPN.com, included left-hander J.A. Happ, right-hander Carlos Carrasco, outfielder Michael Taylor and shortstop Jason Donald.

Two sources, however, said those names were inaccurate. One said the Phillies’ offer was actually stronger than the one that was reported, though it did not include prized right-hander Kyle Drabek.

At least five teams are in the mix for Halladay, sources said including the Angels, Rangers, Brewers, Rays and Red Sox. The Dodgers have been more focused on Indians left-hander Cliff Lee, and both the Dodgers and Phillies scouted Lee in his start Sunday against the Mariners.

Halladay, unlike Lee, has a full no-trade clause, but sources say he would approve a deal to most contenders. He has said from the start that he wants to play for a winner, but would be happy to stay in Toronto.

“We haven’t been ‘wowed,’ that’s all,” Ricciardi said. “If you saw him pitch the last times out and teams weren’t ‘wowed’ by that . . . it’s really hard for us to trade him without getting something that makes us jump. Right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Asked if he would need to trade other players for financial reasons if he kept Halladay, Ricciardi said, “We are under no financial crunch whatsoever. We don’t have to move any money at all. We can bring the whole team back and not have to worry about money.

“This is not motivated by money. This is motivated by us trying to see if we can get a home-run deal. If not, there’s no reason to move the player.”