The seed for one of the biggest blockbuster trades in baseball history was planted when Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. fielded a phone call from Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi while watching Raul Ibanez rehab in Reading.
That’s the story as told by veteran baseball scribe Bob Elliott, who penned the definite blow-by-blow on the Roy Halladay trade in today's edition of the Toronto Sun. Interestingly, their conversation didn’t start with the Jays asking for Michael Taylor, Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud or even top prospect Domonic Brown. According to Elliott, Ricciardi first inquired as to the availability of 18-year-old speedster Anthony Gose, set to blaze a trail through Baseballtown momentarily. Just as Reading became a hotbed for baseball’s hot stove, where opposing scouts outnumbered mascots in the days leading up to the trade deadline, the aftereffects of the Halladay deal will linger into 2010. Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez, the three players acquired from Seattle to complete the Cliff Lee portion of the trade, are likely to land in Reading to start the season.
But according to Elliott, the deal took on many different shapes. Outfielder Mike Saunders was originally part of the package from Seattle, but was swapped out for Gillies at the Phillies’ request. Then, the Phillies suggested moving Aumont and Gillies to the Jays in order to keep Drabek out of the deal. The Jays obviously balked.
One additional point worth mentioning: Regarding the July trade for Cliff Lee "We had talked to (Cleveland GM Mark) Shapiro all along," Amaro told Elliott. "Mark knew our system from the Sabathia talks." The Phillies reportedly spent a lot of time scouting CC Sabathia a year earlier, and got a good look at Lee in the process.