Earlier, when asked to comment on the report, a high-ranking Blue Jays official replied with a text message saying "nothing to them" regarding how serious the rumors may be.
There are mixed signals whether a deal will get done by Friday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline. There are still serious obstacles that have to be overcome. The Blue Jays covet rookie left-hander Derek Holland and the Rangers won't part with him.
"We didn't have any more interest in trading
him at 7 p.m. than we did at 10 p.m.," general manager Jon Daniels said after Holland beat the Mariners, 7-1, on Thursday night.
One high-ranking source said money was not going to stand in Texas' way of acquiring Halladay. But other sources said the financial situation was still complicated.
If the Rangers were to acquire Halladay, they would owe approximately $4.75 million for the rest of this season and $15.75 million for next season. Owner Tom Hicks would have final say on any deal from the Rangers' standpoint.
The $15.75 million salary for next year may not be a big problem, because Texas' list of potential free agents after this season includes pitcher Vicente Padilla, infielder Hank Blalock and outfielder Marlon Byrd.
"I think there has to be approval," Ryan said. "If we get what we think is an agreement with Toronto, we'll visit with Tom and see if he's comfortable on that level."
The bigger obstacle is what the Blue Jays want in return and what the Rangers are willing to give up. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi has made it clear that the price for Halladay will be steep.
"All the teams we've been talking to, we've looked at them as potential matches," Ricciardi said. "But, once again, we said from the beginning that we'd have to be moved to move the player. At this point, we haven't been moved."
The Rangers have one of the top farm systems in baseball and have a number of prospects that are attractive to other teams. Texas is simply reluctant to part with the best of the bunch even though it would have Halladay at least through 2010.
"Obviously we'd like to have him but there are also players who are a big part of our future that we'd like to retain," Ryan said. "It comes down to the price we would have to pay for our organization if it's a doable deal. But when you're talking about Halladay, you have to give up guys you don't want to part with. "
The Blue Jays have talked about acquiring a young shortstop, but the Rangers aren't interested in trading Elvis Andrus. Toronto also has interest in a young catcher, and Texas has Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden at the Major League level and Manuel Pina at Double-A Frisco. The Blue Jays also like first baseman Justin Smoak.
But Toronto also wants pitching that is close to being Major League ready, which would likely mean Holland and/or Neftali Feliz. Holland is the most attractive of Texas' young pitchers and as Daniels mentioned, the one it would least likely give up. After his brilliant performance against the Mariners on Thursday, there's almost no way the Rangers would include him in a deal.
Texas has significant issues with its rotation. Padilla has been scratched from two scheduled starts because of the swine flu and Kevin Millwood is still questionable for Sunday's start because a strained left gluteus muscle.