Roy Halladay was going somewhere.
At least 15 or 16 teams showed interest.
Roughly 60 players were mentioned as park of a Halladay package to send the Blue Jays former Cy Young award winner on his short journey.
Come February, instead of being at the Bobby Mattick facility in Dunedin, he will be three miles south to Bright House Networks Field.
How did the Jays go through 165 days of trade talks for him to arrive at the same designation where most through he was headed on July 5? How did the trade evolve?
What went on behind the scenes? How many teams were serious players when Alex Anthopoulos sat alone in his hotel room to contemplate the names and offers on a magnetic board in his hotel room in Indianapolis?
After umpteen meetings, 1,000s of phone calls a rookie GM has been baptized under fire. He has added three former No. 1 picks in right-hander Kyle Drabek and catcher Travis D’Arnaud from Philadelphia and first baseman Brett Wallace from the Oakland A’s for Michael Taylor. Baseball America rated the Jays farm system third worst earlier this month.
Halladay will have his name on the Rogers Centre Level of Excellence some day.
We’ll start at the start ...
“There were four layers to doing a Halladay deal,” Anthopoulos explained.
Firstly, how many teams were interested in Halladay?
Secondly, how many interested teams could afford to pay him both in 2010 and do a long-term deal past 2010 at $20 million per year?
Maybe eight: the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Mets.
Next, how many teams have the right pieces to make such a deal for Halladay?
Scratch the Mets.
Of all those teams for whom would Halladay waive his full no-trade clause to approve a deal?
Well, obviously the Phillies, the Yankees and the Red Sox, teams who train in Florida.
We take you on behind-the-scenes look at trade negotiations.
Nov. 17, 2008, Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia.
Ruben Amaro has been on the job roughly two weeks as GM of the reigning World Series champions, taking over for Pat Gillick. He wanders into president Dave Montgomery’s office and somewhere in the conversation says:
“You know Roy Halladay is one player if he ever came on the market, I really think we should take a run at.”
As Pinellas County rivals the Jays and Phillies play each other four or five times each spring -- more before the Yankees moved to Tampa -- since the parks are three miles apart.
“I’ve watched him for 10 years and he’s pretty special,” Amaro said from Philadelphia. “He’s very talented, but what I like is that he can get ornery on the mound.”
July 5, 2009 visiting clubhouse, Yankee Stadium.
GM J.P. Ricciardi approaches Halladay at his locker to ask his intentions. Would Halladay sign another contract with the Jays or does he want to leave? Halladay told Ricciardi he’d wait, see “where the Jays were after ‘10.” If they had a strong finish, Halladay would re-sign with the Jays. If not? Well, adios.
July 6, Reading, Pa.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX sports breaks the story that Ricciardi will move Halladay. The internet almost breaks.
Said Ricciardi: “We’re (leaning) more toward listening than we’ve ever been.”
Amaro is watching Raul Ibanez on a rehab assignment at double-A against Portland in a day game when Ricciardi calls saying: “we’re ready to take offers on Halladay.”
The Jays initially ask for centre fielder Anthony Gose, 18, and are told he’s not available. Gose is on his way to a memorable season at class-A Lakewood hitting .259 with two homers and 52 RBIs. He led the minors with 76 steals. The Phillies ask for financial relief of $6 million.
July 8, Toronto
The Angels inquire about Halladay, the Jays ask for shortstop Erik Aybar.
July 9, Toronto
The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis call about Halladay, but the Cards say they have zero interest in including former No. 1 pick Wallace in the deal.
The Tampa Bay Rays call about Halladay.
The Yanks, who had only been kicking tires, say they are out on Halladay.
July 13, all-star game, St. Louis.
The Jays say they will not allow Halladay to discuss a contract extension.
Halladay speaks to the media after being named to start for the AL. He dodges all “will you waive your no-trade clause?” Later in an empty hallway he jokes: “I vetoed one trade ... to the NL all-star team.”
Answers Phillies’ Shane Victorino when asked what it would mean if Halladay was added? “Everything. The guy gives you eight innings every night. It would be like adding two arms: a starter and someone for the eighth. You have to watch what you give, from what I hear we’re gonna try.”
July 14, Busch Stadium
Finished with “how do you feel about being traded?” questions the dugout, Halladay eventually heads to the bullpen.
Halladay gets Hanley Ramirez, Chase Utley and Albert Pujols in a 1-2-3 first. He retires Ryan Braun and Raul Ibanez before David Wright bloops a single to centre, Victorino lines a ball to right and Yadier Molina singles to centre knocking in a run. The throw kicks into foul ground allowing Victorino to score. Prince Fielder doubles giving the NL a 3-2 lead.
“This is out of my control,” says Halladay, who gave President Obama tips on throwing the first pitch (“don’t bounce it?”) but not on wardrobe (a White Sox warm-up jacket).
But Halladay is in control with his no-trade clause.
The Jays want Gordon Beckham from the White Sox for Halladay.
The Cards say they will not include outfielder Colby Rasmus in a Halladay package.
July 19, Rogers Centre.
Gillick watches Halladay pitch a complete game, allowing six hits and striking out seven to beat the Boston 3-1. Scouts from the Red Sox, Dodgers and Brewers are also on hand.
The Jays ask the Phillies for lefty J.A. Happ, Drabek and outfielder Domonic Brown for Halladay, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Phillies refuse to include Happ and Drabek, but would sub Carlos Carrasco for Drabek. Others discussed are catcher Lou Marson, shortstop Jason Donald, Drabek, Happ, Brown, Carrasco and Taylor. The Phillies want $6 million cash.
The Twins and Rangers are interested in Halladay.
A report that the Mets turned down outfielder Fernando Martinez, starter Jonathon Niese, reliever Bobby Parnell and shortstop Ruben Tejada for Halladay is called untrue.
July 21, Rogers Centre.
Scouts Vance Lovelace and Logan White, of the Dodgers; Charlie Kerfeld and Howie Freiling, of the Phillies; Dick (The Legend) Groch of the Brewers and Gus Quattlebaum of the Red Sox watch Lee pitch the Indians to a 2-1 complete-game, win over the Jays.
The Phillies are learning toward Lee over Halladay, according to FOX.
“We had talked to Shapiro (Mark, Cleveland GM) all along,” Amaro said looking back. “Mark knew our system from the Sabathia talks.” At the 2008 deadline the Phillies chased Sabathia and Phillies scouts got a good look at Lee at work.
Halladay works nine innings allowing an earned run and striking out 10 as the Jays lose 4-2 in 10 innings to Tampa Bay in his final home start before the deadline.
Fans in the upper deck chant “Trade J.P.! Trade J.P!”
The Phillies are within 24 hours of acquiring Halladay, says SI.
The Phillies switch their focus to Lee. Looking back Amaro says: “we couldn’t give (Jays) as much as they wanted. We had talked about a 6-for-2 and a 5-for-2 deal.”
The prime names for the Jays are Drabek, Brown, Taylor and D’Armud.
The Red Sox offer Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Ryan Westmoreland for Halladay.
July 29, Phoenix
The Phillies acquire Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco for Carrasco, Donald, Marson and Jason Knapp. Amaro enters into the Phillies clubhouse at Chase Field in Phoenix to applause.
“We didn’t get the 18-pound salmon, but we got a 16-pounder, what’s wrong with that?” asks a Phillies scout.
Halladay looks down after pitching seven innings in Seattle? Because he was not dealt or because he lost in 102-degree weather.
The Dodgers say the Jays are asking for five or six of their best prospects, including shortstop Ivan De Jesus or Devaris Gordon.
The Jays want starter Derek Holland and first baseman Justin Smoak from the Rangers.
Sept. 2. Arlington Stadium
Rangers pres Nolan Ryan says Halladay would not approve a deal to Arlington, Tx.
“We came close at the deadline, but he chose not to come,” said Ryan.
Anthopoulos calls Halladay as part of his 1-on-1 sessions which each player as the GM looks into complaints about manager Cito Gaston and his coaches.
Halladay tells Anthopoulos: “I’ve always tried to do the right thing for this organization.”
Anthopoulos remembers describing Halladay as “very apologetic, I think he almost felt bad about the position we were in,” and told the pitcher he didn’t need to “apologize for anything.”
“Whether it was jumping on a plane to come up in the winter to help recruit us a free agent, structure his contract (his salary went from $12.8 million in 2007 to $10 million in 2008) or anything else,” Anthopoulos said, “Halladay always did what was best for the club.”
Nov. 9, GMs meetings, O’Hare Hilton, Chicago.
Amaro bumps into Anthopoulos in the lobby bar and congratulates him on getting the GM job. A year ago as the new kid on the block, Amaro accepted the same congrats. Then, he grabs Anthopoulos by the arm and says in a hushed tone “if, you get to the point where you want to move Halladay, we’re interested.”
The Angels and Mets are interested in Halladay.
Yanks GM Brian Cashman checks in the hotel and is told Halladay is on the market: “We just finished with our parade two days ago, we haven’t met yet.” he says.
Whether it be face-to-face or pre-GMs meetings calls the Jays GM is getting the same response often: “Yes, we have interest in Halladay, but we don’t have the interest we had in July, we’ve lost one opportunity.”
Nov. 10, Chicago
Amaro and Anthopoulos find themselves walking together towards a meeting on the lower level. The two talk. The names were Drabek, Brown, D’Arnaud and Gose.
Anthoupoulos tells reporters he will take the best deal -- even if it is within the division, a different stance than July.
Boston’s WEEI.com reports Halladay would approve a deal to the Red Sox.
The Yanks inquire about Halladay, who may demand a CC Sabathia ($161 million), SI.com reports.
The Cubs have interest in Halladay.
Beeston tells the New York Post, his favorite paper, that Halladay “is not inclined to re-sign with us.”
An executive tells the Sun that Halladay will approve a deal to the Yankees.
Agent Jim Berry tells ESPN’s Buster Olney Halladay will not approve a deal after he reports to Dunedin, will pitch 2010 Toronto and head for free agency. Who is Berry? Landry has been Halladay’s agent since his Dunedin days.
“They’re both with Casey Close’s CAA firm and both bring something different to the table,” says another agent. Berry brought the hammer.
There are roughly 75 days until pitchers and catchers report. Anthopoulos is on the clock.
If Halladay is not dealt, the Jays will receive two draft picks. The picks could be a sandwich pick and a third rounder -- depending on how the rest of the free agent picks were allotted. They have to be signed and then the Jays had to hope they pan out.
Landry tells FOX sports each trade will be considered on a “case by case matter.”
Dec. 7, Marriott Hotel, Indianapolis
Amaro visits Anthopoulos’ room on the 10th floor a 1-on-1 conversation. “We tried to keep things private,” said Amaro, who said his suite was crowded what with his assistants Benny Looper, Scott Proefrock, Chuck LaMar, scouts Gordon Lakey, Kerfeld and Freiling, scouting diretor Marti Wolever and Gillick.
Cashman and Anthopoulos talk. The Jays want one of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes or centre fielder Austin Jackson, plus minor-league hitting sensation Jesus Montero, plus other prospects.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti visits Anthopoulos room.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Anthopoulos meet. “We may be able to sneak in the back door on this one,” whispers Hendry at the Cubs affiliate dinner.
The Rays inquire about Halladay and would move blue-chipper Wade Davis and outfielder B.J. Upton, according to FOX. The Jays deny this.
Dec. 8, Indianapolis
Colletti, battling a cold like Anthopoulos, visits for another meeting. “I walk in and he has tea made for me,” Coletti says.
The Red Sox refuse to deal Bucholz for Halladay straight up, but offer lesser prospects.
The Yanks include prospect Jackson in a three-way deal to obtain Curtis Granderson, the Arizona Diamondbacks add Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, while he Tigers wind up with Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson in the deal, pending physicals. The Yanks are out.
Amaro meets with Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker at the Hilton. Both sides agree on that. The Phillies left with the impression that Lee wanted a six or seven-year deal. The agent says “not so.”
“My job is to keep this franchise viable for a long, long time,” Amaro said.
The Phillies group meets to discuss the merits of moving Lee for Halladay.
How much difference is there between Lee and Halladay? Would Halladay sign long-term?
“The information we had from our scouts’ grape vine was Halladay would sign with us,” Amaro said.
Whose idea after being unsuccessful in acquiring Halladay for prospects, was it to move Lee for prospects?
“I guess it was mine,” Amaro said. “We had to replenish our system. We gave four minor leaguers for Lee and couldn’t have three more go to Toronto.”
Looper as scouting director, Kerfeld as a scout and Gillick as GM, were all former M’s.
“Benny and Wolever liked Phillippe,” Amaro said. “Pat wanted Gilles and Benny liked Ramirez.”
Dec. 9, Indianapolis
Colletti and Anthopoulos meet a third time.
Anthopoulous calls Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane to ask if the Jays move Halladay to the Phillies would Beane be interested in acquiring outfielder Taylor for first baseman Wallace? Beane says “deal.”
Amaro calls M’s GM Jack Zduriencik for the first time to ask if he is interested in Lee.
Jays’ executives Dana Brown, Tony LaCava are Andrew Tinnish are ready to leave for dinner. Anthopoulos declines. He decides to stay in his room and stare at the dry erase board with team names arranged in columns with magnetic player’s names, depicting offers from respective teams.
The Dodgers had four offers, two with a big-league arm and three minor-leaguers, plus two other offers. The problem with the Dodger offers is that there prospects are either in the majors or at class-A. It was a major-league ready gap that the Dodgers could not bridge.
The Red Sox have an offer, Buchholz is not in the deal, it consists of prospects.
The Yanks have an offer, Montero and prospects are in it. Hughes and Chamberlain are not.
The Angels have an offer. While the Jays asked for Aybar, he is not in the deal.
The Cubs also have made an offer.
The Rays have an offer.
And then there is the Phillies offer: Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud.
A thought which was sure to have run through Anthopoulos head was the situation Twins GM Bill Smith found himself in two Decembers before at the winter meetings in Nashville. The Twins were haggling over an extra player in talks with the Yankees (Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy, Chien Ming Wang and another minor leaguer) and the Red Sox (Coco Crisp, Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie and Michael Bowden) for Johan Santana. In the end both teams bow out. Santana was dealt to the Mets.
Dec. 10, covered walkway from Marriott to Convention Centre, Indianapolis.
Amaro and Looper approach me on the way to the Rule V draft. “Now there’s someone who knows where Halladay is going! Where is he going?” Amaro yells.
Amaro flies home and remembers thinking: “We made enough headway that we thought we felt comfortable moving ahead.”
The Phils will get Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez from the M’s. Originally, Mike Saunders of Victoria, B.C. was in the deal over Gillies. The Phillies insist on Gillies and Saunders is removed. A Phillies scout calls the speedy Gillies “the key to the (Seattle) portion” of the deal.
The Phils suggest moving Aumont and Gillies -- two Canucks -- to the Jays, to keep Drabek. Anthopoulos went with skills over the Maple Leaf. He liked both Seattle prospects, but preferred Drabek. “If a player is talented and happens to be Canadian, that’s bonus,” he said. “Would we ever acquire someone just because he is Canadian? No.”
The Mets are out. “I called Alex about Halladay and he was very honest with me, we didn’t have have a fit,” said GM Omar Minaya.
Amaro phones Anthopoulos to make an official offer.
Dec. 12, Toronto
Beeston is at his daughter Aimee’s house for a Christmas with 21 other people.
Anthopoulos phones five times to keep the boss in the loop. The Jays agreed to terms with free-agent catcher John Buck and there are loose ends to tie up with the Halladay deal.
Anthopoulos calls Colletti and Hendry to tell them Halladay is not be headed their way.
Dec. 13, Toronto
Beeston calls Nadir Mohamed, Rogers Communications CEO, and Tony Viner, Rogers Media, president, in the morning to tell them the cost of doing business, and moving Halladay to Philadelphia, will be $6 million.
The commissioner’s office grants a 72-hour window for Halladay and agent Greg Landry to work out a deal with Amaro.
Halladay and Landry fly to Philadelphia.
Dec. 14, Philadelphia
Amaro and Halladay meet. “He was exactly what our scouting report said,” recalled Amaro. “He looked you in the eye.”
Free-agent right-hander John Lackey, the best starter on the market, signs a five-year deal $82 million deal with the Red Sox.
Dec. 15, Rogers Centre
Jays will get Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud, then flip Taylor to Oakland for Wallace. Anthopoulos’ assitant Brown, pro scouting director Perry Minasian, plus scouts Sal Butera, Roy Smith and Jim D’Aloia all the saw the Philadelphia players. Jays amateur scouts saw Wallace.
The Phillies will send Lee to the Mariners in exchange for Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez.
Dec. 16, Philadelphia.
Halladay agrees to a three-year, $60 million extension from 2011-to-2013, with a $20 million option for 2014. Halladay can vest the option by pitching 225 inning in 2013 or 415 combined in 2012-13 -- but can’t be on the disabled list at end of 2013 season. He will be earn $15.75 million in 2010, of which the Jays will pay $6 million, roughly the difference between Halladay and Lee’s salary.
Dec. 17, Philadelphia.
The Phillies introduce Halladay and give him No. 34, the same uniform Lee wore.
“That should have been ours in July,” Halladay’s wife Brandy jokes to reporters.
Anthopoulos sends Halladay a text. Halladay responds with: “I can’t thank you enough for this opprtunity,”
He was “very complimentary of the city and the organization,” said Anthopoulos, “It’s a text that I’m going to keep. He’s a class act.”
Dec. 18, Philadelphia.
The day after. The Phillies have a conference call. As usual the roll was called by GM Amaro. When asked if former GM Gillick was on the call didn’t say “present” or “here” but rather “in my three years as GM here, I couldn’t meet Dallas Green’s height specifications for pitchers,” says Gillick of the 6-foot-5 Green, manager of the 1980 Series champion Phillies who loves tall pitchers. “Today we have in Halladay and Aumont a couple of Mac trucks and an Lamborugini in Ramirez.” Aumont is 6-foot-7, Halladay 6-foot-6 and Ramirez is 6-foot-3.
_ “I think Alex is going to be real good at his job,” said Colletti from Los Angeles. “He’s sharp, I nicknamed him ‘Slick’ and told him if this GM thing doesn’t work out, he can be an agent because he can B.S. with the best of them. We talked so often, four times a day, that I miss him. He called the other day asking for the same players we offered for Halladay ... except he doesn’t have Halladay any more.”
_ Most scouts like adding Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud for Halladay, who had 35 starts to make for the Jays.
_ “You know,” says an opposing GM, “Alex reminds me of Scott Boras. He is a very eloquent speaker, intelligent and can string a lot of thought together rather quickly.”
_ Most scouts dislike that fact that the Jays flipped Taylor to Oakland for Wallace.
_ “I give Alex credit his due diligence,” Amaro said. “His scouts were on our guys pretty good, knew them well. It was as if they were in the back pockets of our guys ... LaCava and Butera had plenty of looks in July.”
_ Philly fans are upset that Lee was traded reasoning Amaro should have dealt for Halladay and kept Lee. Jays fans are upset about the $6 million contribution and the lack of big-league talent coming this way. And in Seattle, Zduriencik is walking on water, adding Lee, Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley and Brandon League as he moved right-hander Brandon Morrow to the Jays early Tuesday.
_ “I was extremely impressed in dealing with Alex,” Cashman said. “The franchise is in good hands. I can see a return to the glory days. He has good business sense, negotiates well and has good people skills.”
How Wallace, Drabek and D’Arnaud perform will decide which path the Jays are headed.