Phillies Shifting Focus to Lee?
Halladay? Fading fast, one source said Monday.
Lee? He is turning into the better bet.
Several sources have said the team’s chances of acquiring Halladay have decreased in recent days, which puts Lee into greater focus. One source said that while the Blue Jays have asked for J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown – a National League Rookie of the Year candidate and the organization’s top pitching and position player prospects, respectively – the Phillies might be able to acquire Lee without giving up Drabek.
But without Drabek, the package for Lee would expand to include more players.
The Indians aren’t believed to be terribly motivated to move Lee, who is a Cy Young winner and who makes just $9 million next season. But clearly there are talks between the two teams. The Indians had a scout in Double-A Reading on Monday to watch Drabek. (The Blue Jays also watched Drabek pitch.)
So what happened with the Blue Jays?
The Blue Jays rejected a counteroffer from the Phillies that included Happ, Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Michael Taylor, right-hander Carlos Carrasco and shortstop Jason Donald, according to ESPN.com. There were reports Monday that talks soured between the Phillies and Blue Jays over the weekend, even turning nasty as the teams differed on fair value for Halladay.
A Phillies spokesman made a point to gather Phillies beat reporters before Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to tell them there is no animosity between the Phillies and Blue Jays “or any other club that they’re engaged in trade discussions with from our point of view.”
Those words clearly came from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who is trying to maintain a low profile this week. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has been far more visible and vocal in recent weeks. He told foxsports.com Sunday the chances of trading Halladay are “very slim.”
That could be nothing more than posturing while others believe it is just another indication the Blue Jays are not backing off their demands for Happ, Drabek and Brown.