12/16/09 8:55 PM EST
Winning, not money, motivates Halladay
Phils' new star pitcher has postseason on his mind
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
What if the Blue Jays had traded him to the Phillies in July, as had been discussed? He would have been soaked in champagne in September, when the Phils clinched their third consecutive National League East championship. He would have been soaked again in October, when they clinched their second consecutive National League pennant.
He would have pitched in his first World Series.
"I had quite a few dreams about it," Halladay said on Wednesday evening at Citizens Bank Park, "but I look forward to having that chance."
The Phillies announced on Wednesday that they finally acquired the pitcher they had long pursued, getting Halladay and $6 million from the Blue Jays for top prospects Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud. They also sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners for three prospects -- right-handers Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez, and outfielder Tyson Gillies -- in what the Phillies called a decision to restock their farm system.
Halladay signed a three-year, $60 million contract extension with the Phillies that includes a $20 million vesting option in 2014. The Phils required the extension before they made the trade.
"This is where we wanted to be," Halladay said about his family.
This is where the Phillies wanted him to be, too. They tried hard to get him before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but the Blue Jays wanted Drabek and Domonic Brown -- the organization's top pitching and position player prospects -- as well as Anthony Gose and J.A. Happ. The Phillies considered the price too steep and instead sent prospects Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson and Jason Donald to the Indians for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco.
Lee helped the Phillies reach the World Series with an unbelievable postseason, but once the Phillies felt that Halladay would waive his no-trade clause and sign an extension, they felt comfortable trading Drabek, Taylor and d'Arnaud.
"It was an easy decision for me," Halladay said. "Once the opportunity came up to be a part of this, I couldn't pass it up."
What Halladay did pass up was a lot of money. If he had finished the 2010 season with Toronto and hit the free-agent market, he could have signed a contract similar to CC Sabathia's seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees.
But the big payday never influenced him.
"Roy is motivated by winning," said Halladay's agent, Greg Landry. "His home is near Clearwater [Florida, where the Phillies hold Spring Training]. That's certainly a bonus. It's not his only motivation, but the money part definitely is not his motivation."
"He's not motivated by being the highest-paid player," said Jeff Berry, who also works as an agent with Halladay. "That's not what makes him tick."
Halladay, 32, went 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA and nine complete games in 32 starts for the Blue Jays in 2009. Beginning with 2002, he leads Major League pitchers in wins (130), complete games (46) and shutouts (13). He also has the second-best winning percentage (.688). Halladay, who will wear No. 34, is a six-time All-Star who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2003.
He is considered one of the top pitchers in baseball, a tireless worker and a fierce competitor.
"Clearly, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "This is a baseball decision that we felt would make our club better now and in the future. While we did give up a tremendous amount of talent to acquire him, it doesn't come around very often when you have an opportunity to bring this type of player to your organization and to try to move us forward."
Amaro felt that he needed to trade Lee for prospects because the Phillies have a number of top prospects in recent months.
"We could have kept both of them," he said, "but it was a baseball decision for me and our organization. We could not leave the cupboard bare. If we had just acquired Roy and not moved Lee, we would have been in a position to have lost seven of our 10 best prospects in our organization. That is not the way to do business in baseball. This move, coupled with Lee's, allowed us to replenish our system with some quality players and acquire what we feel is one of the best pitchers in the game and, additionally, keep him in our system for the foreseeable future. There are a variety of reasons to make this move, but more than anything else, this is a baseball decision."
The Phillies believe they are a better team with Halladay. He hopes to prove them right and return them to the postseason.
"Every player strives for that," Halladay said. "I think the older you get, the longer you play in your career, the more important that becomes. I've been able to establish myself and achieve things the more I realize how important that is to me. To see a team to do it in back-to-back years and have that success, I think says a lot about the players that are in the clubhouse and the people that are putting the team together. It's not an accident. I want to be a part of that."
He officially became part of it on Wednesday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.