Halladay hot topic among Phils' All-Stars
Players discuss possibility of acquiring Blue Jays ace
ST. LOUIS -- Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez sat at a row of tables inside a giant ballroom Monday at the Hyatt Regency.
The five Phillies All-Stars were there to talk about the All-Star Game.
And they did.
They just found Pedro Martinez and Roy Halladay to be hot topics, too.
A baseball source said Martinez, who pitched twice for the Phillies last week in the Dominican Republic, was scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia on Monday night and take a physical Tuesday morning. If Martinez passes the physical, the Phillies could introduce him at a news conference Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.
Halladay is on the trade market, and the Phillies are interested. A baseball source said signing Martinez will not prevent the Phillies from pursuing Halladay. Halladay is signed through 2010, when he will make $15.75 million. But prospects -- who and how many? -- will determine whether or not the Phils get a deal done.
Halladay told reporters Monday that he considered his chances to be traded at 50-50. He also said he is open to pitching in the National League, which is noteworthy only because he has a complete no-trade clause, and without agreeing to a contract extension.
"I think as a player, there's that will to win and there's that will to do it in October," Halladay said. "And basically that's all this has been about is I would like the chance. And I'm not saying it won't happen in Toronto. It's just what's going to be best for the organization -- are we going to be able to do that, and how do we move forward?"
Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is walking a fine line between taking a shot at winning another World Series and mortgaging the future for a championship that is not guaranteed, even with the arrival of one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Obviously, Phillies players look at things differently.
"I understand all that," said Werth, who is signed with the Phils through 2010. "We won last year and we pretty much have the same team this year. If you were ever going to sell the farm, I think now would be the time. But that's just me speaking, who has a short window of a career. Ruben and those guys are going to be there for a long time. It's a lot to leverage, I know. But I think we're definitely in a situation where if we did go for it, it could pay off."
Ryan Howard echoed Werth's sentiments.
"I'm good with trying to win now," Howard said. "That's just me. Not to try to upstage anybody or anything in the front office. Obviously, they're going to make that decision. Whatever decision it is, when the dust settles, we live with it, we go on and we play. Hopefully, that's an addition we take. If not, we've still got to go out there and play. But I think if you ask everybody on this team right now, you would want to try to win now because you never know when you're going to get another chance.
"Last year, a guy like [Matt] Stairs, Geoff Jenkins and Jamie Moyer. Jamie has been in this league for 20-some-odd years now. And that was his first trip to the World Series. Not his first World Series win -- his first trip. So you never know. In this game, as a player, everybody's mind-set is trying to go out there and try to win now because you never know what's going to happen."
The Blue Jays certainly would ask a lot for Halladay, who many consider to be the best pitcher in baseball.
That could include rookie left-hander J.A. Happ, who is an NL Rookie of the Year candidate at 6-0 with a 2.90 ERA, and Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek, who one baseball official said Sunday was the best pitcher he watched at the All-Star Futures Game. It also could include one of the organization's top outfield prospects Class A Clearwater's Dominic Brown or Double-A Reading's Michael Taylor.
"As a player, you try not to play GM because you don't know exactly what's going on," Utley said. "Who's available? Who's not available? I do think we have something special going on right now in Philadelphia. We have a lot of players in their prime. So now is a good time to win."
The Phillies will see Halladay plenty Tuesday. He starts against the National League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Maybe they can convince him to push for Philadelphia.
"I don't do that," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I can't do that. I think that's kind of out of line."
His players might. They want Halladay.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.