On Tuesday, the Yankees stole the stage at the Winter Meetings, agreeing in principle to a three-team trade with the Tigers and D-backs that will send center fielder Curtis Granderson to the Bronx. That move does not necessarily mean that New York is about to pull itself out of the running for Toronto ace Roy Halladay -- the hottest commodity on the trade market.
Speaking to Toronto reporters on Tuesday, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that no teams have ended any trade discussions on any of his players.
"I haven't been told by any team, from discussions and conversations we've had, that they are not involved and don't want to continue dialogue," Anthopoulos said. "I have not had a club approach me yet and say, 'That trade scenario we talked about, we're no longer involved. We don't want to be involved.'"
As part of the Yankees' latest conquest, the D-backs would acquire pitchers Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, while Tigers would reel in pitchers Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke, as well as 22-year-old outfielder Austin Jackson. The Jays had reportedly expressed interest in Austin Jackson, the Yanks' top outfield prospect, in talks about a potential Halladay deal.
Anthopoulos indicated that the trade was not likely to impact Toronto's offseason plans.
"I don't think it will really change a whole lot," Anthopoulos said. "We're very specific in what our wants are and what our needs are, and New York's needs and ours aren't necessarily the same -- the positions we want to fill, the long-term players that we want to put in certain spots."
The Yankees might not have informed the Blue Jays that they can no longer pursue Halladay, but the trade will likely lessen the chances of the star right-hander winding up in pinstripes. Halladay also has suitors in the Red Sox and Angels, perhaps the Phillies as well, and the Rays emerged on Monday as a possible darkhorse to land the pitcher. The Dodgers have also contacted the Jays about Halladay's availability, but the two sides don't appear to be a match.
Beyond Jackson, it is believed that the Blue Jays have targeted one of two pitchers -- Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain -- and catching prospect Jesus Montero. After already parting with Jackson, the Yanks might hesitate to give up another high-ceiling prospect in favor or addressing their pitching needs through free agency.
Last winter, the Yankees showed off their relentless approach by signing free-agent slugger Mark Teixeira and pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett -- expensive moves that helped New York capture the World Series. The fact that the Yankees are on the verge of officially landing Granderson and might also chase Halladay or free-agent righty John Lackey is hardly a surprise.
"They're the World Series champions," Anthopoulos said with a smirk.
Anthopoulos confirmed that he met with Halladay's representatives during dinner on Monday night, but the general manager declined to go into specifics. Jeff Berry, one of the pitcher's agents, noted last week that Halladay wants to be moved prior to the beginning of Spring Training if the Jays do plan on trading him.
Halladay, who won 17 games last season and is scheduled to make $15.75 million in the final year of his contract in 2010, has expressed a desire to play for a perennial World Series contender, as well as a preference to be with a club that trains near his home in Florida. The Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Rays best fit that criteria.
Anthopoulos said he always keeps his players' feelings in mind.
"You always try to stay in touch with what players' wants and needs are," Anthopoulos said. "You try to stay respectful, because that shows what the organization stands for and what we're about. I think our greatest selling tool is players. When we try to recruit players here, if we treat our players right and do right by them, they're going to spread the word of the organization and how we do things.
"Everything we do certainly takes that into consideration. It's certainly important to us, but above all, what's paramount is, 'What is right for this organization?' That has to be what ends up setting everything apart."
With the exception of Tampa Bay, it is likely that any team bidding for Halladay will ask for a window in which to negotiate a contract extension with the pitcher, especially if Toronto's asking price remains steep. The Jays are searching for Major League-ready talent and young controllable players to help build a strong foundation for the club's long-term future.
Using Halladay as bait can certainly help speed that process. Anthopoulos knows that the longer he waits to pull the trigger on any trade, though, he risks seeing a decrease in the number of teams involved and a drop in the potential return.
"It all comes down to knowing the assets you have on your team and the value that they have," Anthopoulos said. "Certain players, their value isn't going to change because of the impact that they make to other teams -- because of the scarcity of the players. So I always think there's that risk. No question, things can always change, because other trades may present themselves."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less