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Amid signs yesterday that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees might be about to make significant forays into the trade market, there is now only one deadline for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay: July 31.

While trade discussions with the Philadelphia Phillies have simmered down considerably, sources say that Blue Jays general manager J.P.

Ricciardi made clear yesterday to at least two teams that he has heard enough from clubs to throw out his self-imposed deadline of today to decide on the fate of his ace pitcher.

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Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Multiple Blue Jays sources used the word "remote" to describe the possibility of the Blue Jays dealing Halladay, who is under contract for next year.

They also confirmed that it would cost the Yankees or Red Sox a "premium" above and beyond other teams if they were to trade Halladay within the American League East.

Baseball chatter is that the Red Sox, who have already acquired Pittsburgh Pirates Adam LaRoche and St. Louis Cardinals Chris Duncan in trades, are hankering to make a major move.

Rumours were rife that they are looking at a blockbuster deal that would see Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee join them from the Cleveland Indians.

The Red Sox have also been linked with the San Diego Padres Adrian Gonzalez as they look to kick-start an offence that has seen a frightening drop-off in production from the likes of Jason Bay.

Blue Jays people have felt all along that the Red Sox would have some say in any decision regarding Halladay.

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In fact, some in the Blue Jays organization say they prefer the top-end of Red Sox's pitching prospects (closer Daniel Bard and starter Clay Buchholz) to anything the Phillies could muster.

The Yankees, meanwhile, are scouting Bronson Arroyo's start tonight for the Cincinnati Reds.

The Yankees have also inquired about the availability of the Seattle Mariners Jarrod Washburn, according to multiple reports.

Some Blue Jays people believe they'll have a better chance of striking a deal for Halladay once lower-cost alternatives such as Lee are off the market.

They think somebody's going to be left without a seat once the usual trade deadline game of musical pitchers is finished.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers have also figured in Halladay rumours to some degree.

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