Blue Jays decline to part with Halladay

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Roy Halladay is staying with the Toronto Blue Jays -- at least for now.

On a day that featured several last-minute trades before baseball's non-waiver deadline, Halladay was the most talked-about player who wasn't dealt away.

Toronto listened to offers for the ace right-hander, but didn't find anything suitable.

General manager J.P. Ricciardi said Friday the Blue Jays never received a proposal attractive enough to persuade them to part with the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner, who has spent his entire career in Toronto.

"We never really came close at all," Ricciardi said on a conference call shortly after the deadline passed. "We listened and we were never moved by a club that made us jump up and say, 'Wow, this is something that will make us better in the future.'"

Toronto could shop Halladay again in the offseason, hoping to get a better deal. His contract runs through 2010 and he would have to agree to a trade.

Halladay had been a hot topic for the past month after Ricciardi made the six-time All-Star available. Several teams were reportedly interested in the 32-year-old pitcher and made inquiries, fueling speculation that his 12-year stay in Toronto could be ending.

The World Series champion Phillies were thought to be involved, but apparently decided the asking price was too high. Instead, Philadelphia made a move Wednesday to acquire former Cleveland lefty Cliff Lee.

Halladay, who lost to Seattle that day, sat in front of his locker Friday evening in Oakland where the Blue Jays were beginning a three-game series against the Athletics but declined to speak to reporters.

Toronto manager Cito Gaston welcomed the news that Halladay was staying put and said he doesn't expect any hard feelings between the two sides.

"I'm pretty sure he's probably glad that's over with," Gaston said. "I have to be happy about it. I'm going to have him for the next two months so I'm certainly not disappointed at all. Anytime you get a type of pitcher like Doc you'd certainly like to have him for the next two months and hopefully for the next year, too."

Halladay, who started for the AL in the All-Star game, is 11-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 20 starts. He has 129 strikeouts and 20 walks in 148 innings.

"I'm glad it's over for him and for us. We'll pick up from here and see what happens," Gaston said. "Maybe the offers weren't good enough. Knowing Doc, Doc's going to go out and take care of business like he always does."

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, whose Rays are trying to catch Boston and New York in the AL East, was happy Halladay wasn't traded within the division. Both teams were reportedly interested.

"It's better that he's not with the Yankees or the Red Sox, there's no question about that," Maddon said.

Toronto did make a notable trade Friday, sending Scott Rolen to Cincinnati for a package of three players that included fellow third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. The Reds also shipped right-handed reliever Josh Roenicke and a minor leaguer to the Blue Jays, who included cash to cover part of Rolen's salary.

Ricciardi said he called Halladay on Friday afternoon to notify him that he wouldn't be traded.

"We think we have one of the best pitchers in baseball, if not the best, and I think we were steadfast and honest from the beginning as to what our level of tolerance would be to move a player like this," Ricciardi said. "Roy was hand in hand all along in this venture. Upfront we told him this was something that may not happen. Roy understands completely."