Halladay in Town
The Phillies are trying to orchestrate a complicated three-team trade that would get them Roy Halladay.
But that trade would come at a price: Cliff Lee.
Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners are involved in discussions to send Halladay to the Phillies, Lee to the Mariners and prospects to the Blue Jays from both teams. One source said that no deal has been finalized.
A source said Halladay and his agent arrived in Philadelphia today to take a physical and talk about a contract extension. The Phillies would want Halladay to sign an extension to make the deal. If the Phillies and Halladay can’t come to an agreement, it is unlikely the Phillies would make the trade.
Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, said he has not heard from the Phillies or other teams regarding a deal.
“Unfortunately, some of this stuff is out of our control,” he said. “But obviously when there is smoke there is fire.”
It is believed the Phillies are considering trading Lee because they don’t think they can sign him to an extension before he becomes a free agent after next season, and because the prospects they could get in return for him would soften the blow to their farm system. Braunecker said he had talks with the Phillies last week at the Winter Meetings about a contract extension. There were reports that the Phillies specifically requested Braunecker to fly to Indianapolis for a meeting, but he said that was inaccurate.
“It’s been very preliminary dialogue,” he said. “I wouldn’t characterize our discussions at this point as negotiations. But I think it’s inaccurate to say whatever dialogue we’ve had to this point as being anything other than positive and constructive.”
Lee told The Cleveland Plain-Dealer in August that when the Indians decided not to talk about an extension in Spring Training 2009 that it made little sense for him to talk about one after the 2009 season when he was so close to free agency.
“It doesn’t make sense to do it one year out when I just watched what CC (Sabathia) did,” said Lee, referring to Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract.
Braunecker said Lee’s comments pertained exclusively to negotiations with the Cleveland Indians, and not the Phillies.
“We had taken a position at the end of Spring Training with the Indians that Cliff was going to play out the remainder of his contract and enter the free agent market,” Braunecker said. “We’ve never had any of those conversations with the Phillies of any sort. That was exclusive to the situation with Cleveland.”
One source familiar with the negotiations said the Mariners at least would include right-hander Phillipe Aumont in the trade. Baseball America ranked Aumont as the organization’s No. 3 prospect. He went 2-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 44 relief appearances with Double-A West Tenn and Single-A High Desert.
It is unclear who else the Phillies and Mariners might include in the trade, but the Phillies had made right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Domonic Brown untouchable in the past.