Jays extend Halladay through 2010

Jays extend Halladay through 2010

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- After an offseason of changes, the Blue Jays turned their attention toward keeping one thing the same: having Roy Halladay at the top of their rotation.

In a press conference on Thursday at Knology Park, the Blue Jays announced that they had agreed to a three-year, $40 million contract extension with their prize pitcher through the 2010 season. Halladay, who had been signed through 2007, will make $10 million in 2008, $14.25 million in 2009 and $15.75 million in 2010.

Halladay, 28, signed a four-year, $42 million contract in January 2004. The 2003 American League Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to make $12.7 million this year and $12.8 million in '07.

"Since I've been here, it's felt like a family for me," Halladay said. "It's the chance to be here for another five years that I didn't want to pass up. Everything we talked about last time -- about what the organization wanted to do -- it's come full circle. All of that's happened."

Halladay was referring to Toronto's busy winter, in which it acquired starter A.J. Burnett, closer B.J. Ryan, third baseman Troy Glaus, catcher Bengie Molina and first baseman Lyle Overbay. Burnett and Ryan each agreed to five-year deals with the Blue Jays, and Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi also signed an extension through 2010 at the Winter Meetings in December.

Having Ricciardi at the helm and Burnett and Ryan to help anchor the pitching staff, all for the next five years, played an important role in Halladay's decision to stick with the team that drafted him in the first round in 1997.

"I just wanted that chance to be a part of it," Halladay said. "We have so many parts of the puzzle that are going to be here for that extended period. I wanted that opportunity, more than anything, to be around with all of that going on.

"J.P.'s made it pretty clear about what he wants to make happen here. I think it was more of a speculation in the past, and hopes," he added. "Now it's started to become more of a reality."

Toronto entered this past offseason with a number of goals to revamp its roster and try to close the gap created by the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League East. The Jays wanted to add another top starter, a formidable closer and a powerful bat for the heart of their lineup. Toronto accomplished each of those goals and more, creating hope around the team and the city that the Jays could make a run at their first playoff berth since winning the World Series in 1993.

In the midst of the team's winter shopping, though, Toronto made it clear to Halladay that signing him to an extension was a top priority once Spring Training was under way.

"I sat down with Doc at the end of last year and told him that we'd love to keep him here a lot longer," Ricciardi said. "And as we go through the offseason and try to address some of the things we needed to do, we weren't going to forget him and lose sight of the fact that he is the poster boy for the Blue Jays.

"As we go forward, we want Roy to represent us and to be our leader, which he is," he added. "He is the leader of this club in a lot of ways."

Last season, Halladay went 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA and led all AL pitchers with five complete games, even though he missed the entire second half with a broken left leg. He was scheduled to make his third All-Star appearance last season -- possibly as the AL's starting pitcher -- before a line drive fractured his tibia on July 8 at Texas.

In his 19 starts last year, Halladay struck out 108 batters and walked 18 in 141 2/3 innings.

Halladay, who has a 79-43 record in his career, is back at full strength this spring, and he's slated to be the Opening Day starter for Toronto for the fourth straight season.

Halladay is consistently one of the earliest players to arrive to the ballpark each day, and he's usually one of the last to leave. His intense workout routine is well known around baseball. Minutes after his press conference concluded, Halladay was on the baseball field at Knology Park, running sprints in the outfield.

"I've always been a believer that the highest-paid guy on the team should be the hardest worker and set the best example," Ricciardi said. "I think in this case, we're fortunate. ... When the young kids out there say, 'I don't feel like running today,' and they see Doc doing it, it's pretty tough to turn away. He leads by example, which is important."

With the extension, Halladay has yet to go to free agency -- a fact that he appreciates, given the nature of professional sports at times.

"I think that there are so many stories in sports about different contract disputes, about how sports are business, teams are business," Halladay said. "I feel extremely fortunate, in my case, that I haven't felt that way. I haven't felt that with the Blue Jays, with J.P. and [Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey] and [team owner] Ted Rogers.

"I think it would be a dream come true to be able to finish my career there," Halladay said. "But I've got five years to worry about that and hopefully a couple of World Series rings in between."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.