GM J.P. Ricciardi was quoted by MLB.com as saying that the Jays only resorted to fielding offers for Halladay after he refused to sign an extension with the team earlier this season.
"I think I made this clear real early that Doc wanted to test the free-agent market," Ricciardi said. "I think we said that all along. That's the whole reason we're going down this avenue."
Of course, Ricciardi never was lucid about the precise reasons why he chose to put Halladay on the trading block, but this latest revelation may help to explain why the Jays will not let teams negotiate with their ace before a trade is completed.
Halladay has twice before signed extensions with Toronto — a four-year, $42 million contract in 2004, and a three-year, $40 million deal in 2006 (which extended Halladay into 2010).
But Ricciardi said that when the two sides met this time around, Halladay was unwilling to limit his options. In fact, Halladay even provided Ricciardi with a list of teams to which he would accept a trade, as he clearly expected to be moved.
"We're exploring the fact that the player has told us that he wants to
try to become a free agent," Ricciardi said. "So if he wants to try to become a free
agent, we're doing our due diligence in finding out what we could
possibly get in the way of a trade. If a trade doesn't make sense for
us, Roy stays here in 2010.
"This hasn't been like we're out there talking and Doc's not included in the process," he added. "He's obviously expressed an interest that when free agency comes up next time, that he's going to at least be attracted to try to see what it is."
Halladay declined to comment on the matter after Toronto fell to Cleveland 5-4 on Thursday.
"I'm not addressing it," Halladay told MLB.com. "I don't even know what [Ricciardi] said. I'll do it after I pitch [on Friday]."