Halladay signs 3-year extension

All-star pitcher Roy Halladay signed a three-year, $40-million US contract extension with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

The Toronto Blue Jays locked up ace pitcher Roy Halladay on Thursday, extending the right-hander's contract with the club through 2010.

Halladay, the 2003 American League Cy Young Award winner, signed a three-year, $40-million US contract extension, which will pay him $10 million in 2008, $14.25 million in 2009 and $15.75 million in 2010.

His current contract – worth $42 million over four years – was set to expire after the 2007 season.

"The chance to be here for another five years is something I didn't want to pass up," Halladay said at a news conference. "I really appreciate the way things have been handled. I couldn't be more thrilled than to have the opportunity to be here an added three years. I just can't express how excited I am."

Signing Halladay for the long term is one of the final pieces in Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi's plan to build a World Series calibre club.

"He's a poster boy for the Blue Jays," Ricciardi said at the news conference. "We all know what he is capable of doing, we all know what he is capable of in a leadership role."

In 2004, when Halladay, the face of the Canadian major league franchise, negotiated his last deal, he wanted guarantees that Ricciardi and his staff would make it a priority to build a contender in Toronto.

If the off-season signings of starter A.J. Burnett, closer B.J. Ryan, third baseman Troy Glaus, first baseman Lyle Overbay and catcher Bengie Molina are any indication, Ricciardi came through on those promises.

Halladay was well on his way to another all-star campaign with the Jays last season, posting a 12-4 record with a 2.41 earned-run average. His five complete games led all AL pitchers.

"Roy Halladay is the premier pitcher in the American League," Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said. "To know he will be part of this organization for the next five seasons is a big, big plus."

However, Halladay's season came to an early end after a Kevin Mench line drive fractured his left leg on July 8 in Texas.

Halladay said the best part about the deal is being able to stay with Toronto, the team that drafted him in 1995.

"I think that is the biggest selling point for me, the city and the people in the organization," Halladay said. "Also the steps they have taken, not only bring guys in but everybody they have brought in has been quality people. It's fun to be part of something like that."

The 28-year-old Halladay is 79-40 with a 3.70 ERA for his career, ranking him third in franchise history in ERA and sixth in wins.

with files from Canadian Press