Halladay deal ‘must be done by spring’

Alex Anthopoulos was always going to be in high demand at baseball’s winter meetings, and the first pronouncements of the off-season from Roy Halladay’s camp will only serve to make the Toronto Blue Jays general manager even more sought after.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay

Alex Anthopoulos was always going to be in high demand at baseball’s winter meetings, and the first pronouncements of the off-season from Roy Halladay’s camp will only serve to make the Toronto Blue Jays general manager even more sought after.

A potential trade of the ace right-hander must happen by next spring or Halladay will shut down talks on the matter, one of his representatives told ESPN.com, although another of his agents seemed to soften that stand in a subsequent interview with another news outlet Tuesday.

The comments, coming less than a week before the sport’s annual spend-and-swapfest, appear to be an attempt to force all potential suitors for arguably the game’s best pitcher to get their act together and make something happen Dec. 7-11 in Indianapolis.

Halladay himself has had little to say since Anthopoulos replaced the fired J.P. Ricciardi on the final weekend of a miserable 2009 season and he hasn’t publicly reacted to the new GM’s plans to rebuild the club. His agents tend to say even less on his behalf, adding impact to their words.

“One thing is certain — once Roy reports to spring training as a member of the Blue Jays, from that point forward he will not approve or even discuss any potential trade scenario,” Jeff Berry, a partner at CAA who works with Halladay’s longtime agent Greg Landry, told ESPN.com.

“This will eliminate a repeat of the distracting media frenzy of 2009 for both Roy and his teammates, and will allow Roy to focus on pitching at the exceptional level Jays fans have come to expect.”

The 32-year-old Halladay is in the driver’s seat, holding a no-trade clause that allows him to pick and choose his destination. He’s believed to be willing to go to at least four teams — the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Phillies — and likely a few other top contenders.

Berry said the “critical factor” in Halladay’s decision would be going to a place where he could win “multiple World Series championships,” a comment that suggests he’d like an extension in place with a new team before giving a trade his blessing.

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