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07/21/09 6:46 PM ET

Jays say Halladay trade 'unlikely'

Toronto sets internal deadline of July 28 to deal ace

TORONTO -- If Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay is going to be traded, it will be by July 28. But so far, it doesn't look like that will happen, according to general manager J.P. Ricciardi.

"I think at this point, it's probably unlikely that we'll trade Doc," Ricciardi said. "As you get closer and closer to the deadline, no one's really stepped up yet, and at that point, I think time starts running out on you.

"We've got to be highly motivated to move him, so we haven't been highly motivated yet."

Ricciardi said the team had set an internal deadline of July 28 for a potential Halladay trade. That's one day before his last scheduled start prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"We just don't want to have Doc going into that last start with the possibility of a trade within the next couple of days looming over him," Ricciardi said. "I think if we don't have him traded by the time his last start gets here, it's probably not going to get done -- just be fair to him, just be fair to everybody else."

When asked if the self-imposed deadline was meant to give the team a few days to trade impending free agents such as Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas before July 31 in the case that Halladay is dealt, Ricciardi said he had not looked into trading off other assets. He did not close the door on the possibility, though.

"I think everything feeds off if we do something with Doc," Ricciardi said. "I think the first thing we're concentrating on is if we're going to trade Doc, and if we are trading him, then we'll be open to doing other things."

The GM added that trading Halladay would more likely affect the club's long-term plans than its strategy leading up to this year's Trade Deadline.

By cutting off talks in the final days before the Trade Deadline, Ricciardi was not worried that he'd be letting any potential trade offers for the Jays' ace -- who has a no-trade clause and would have to approve any deal -- slip through his fingers.

"He's Roy Halladay," Ricciardi said. "If they don't know about him now -- if they have to wait until the 30th to figure it out -- it's probably not going to happen.

"In three days, not much is probably going to happen at that point. It's such a magnitude to the trade -- he's got to OK the team he's going to, we've got to agree on prospects. That doesn't happen traditionally in baseball in one hour, so I think we need a little more time than that."

The GM would not say how many teams had made serious offers for Halladay -- a six-time All-Star who has posted an 11-3 record and 2.73 ERA in 18 starts this season.

"There's been enough, though," Ricciardi added.

Ricciardi also denied rumors in an interview with Rogers Sportsnet that the Mets had rejected an offer from the Jays that would see Halladay go to New York in exchange for Fernando Martinez, Bobby Parnell, Jon Niese and Ruben Tejada.

The Jays GM addressed the possibility of trading Halladay in the offseason, and seemed doubtful that a team would be willing to give up a more impressive package of players and prospects than what has been offered so far.

"Obviously, history tells you if a guy's got more service time for a team, he's probably going to be more valuable for that team at that point," Ricciardi said. "So if the offseason comes and someone feels the same way and wants to blow you away, I guess you could get something, but I think history tells you that having a guy for a year and a half is more important than having them for a year."

The GM also appeared to be optimistic about the Jays' chances to contend next year if they hold onto Halladay.

"If we keep Doc, when you look at all the young pitchers that are here, and the team that we could bring back, general consensus with everybody here in the organization is that maybe next year we'll have a healthier team and a better chance of having a better run," Ricciardi said.

"Health-wise, [Shaun] Marcum, [who is recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery,] goes in the rotation with some of the young kids who have gotten experience here. I think we've got some good young arms here that form a really good rotation, and just hope we play better. That's really it."

Ricciardi said the team had not started discussions on a possible contract extension with Halladay.

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.