For the first time in a few years, the Phillies are coming into the season as a pretty healthy bunch. With these guys, do we really need a doctor?
Roy Halladay has hit the free agent market not with the same demand he would have had a few years ago. Although he does not demand the big bucks he would have had back in his prime, is he still out of a job here in Philadelphia? With fresh young arms like Jesse Biddle coming up from the minors, would a Roy Halladay signing just add to the list of lousy and unnecessary general managerial moves by Rueben Amaro Jr.? Halladay is a 36 year old pitcher with declining physical health. At the end of last year Halladay demonstrated to us that he still had some fuel left in the tank, but is it enough to last a year or more depending on how his contract negotiations play out? Personally, I think the Roy Halladay that pitched at the end of last year is the Roy Halladay of the future. Averaging 6.97 runs allowed per game last year, what would allow me to think there will be change? Yes, the beginning of the year was atrocious, but even after the surgery, we knew it would be unlikely to see the Roy Halladay of 2010 and 2011 step onto the mound at Citizens Bank Park again. With the banged up shoulder, Halladay had to go back and tinker with his form. It is hard to expect that within one offseason, he will have mastered his new form. With him still getting his form down as the season progresses, it almost throwing away money unless he proves he can pitch well with his new form on a consistent basis. Nothing he did at the end of last year proved to me that his form is consistent and that having him in the rotation is any better than a minor leaguer like Biddle. Halladay never proved to the fans or the organization that he was needed to be on the mound every fifth day. Since we know we are not getting that same pitcher with the ability to strike fear into players hearts, is it even worth the gamble?
Chances are that Halladay will want something close to 2 years, 20 million dollars. With all the contracts being given out by the Phillies to aging players with declining physical health and playing ability, another one is not necessary. Amaro is trying to build a World Series team for 2014, not 2015, 2016, 2017, etc. In three to four years, once the veterans begin to retire, the Phillies are going to be left with a pretty depleted team filled with young players that did not get much playing time. Why Amaro does not let the youth play together on Opening Day baffles me, but each year he fills positions that can be filled with youth, with aging stars. A recent example of this is the Marlon Byrd signing. A young star of the future in Darin Ruf has been patiently waiting his opportunity to play on Opening Day and now when his time has come, Amaro pulls off an unnecessary deal to bring more veteran leadership to the team. If a Halladay deal is made, that would just add to the point I am making in that Amaro is stalling the potential of this team. The only logical reason for a Halladay signing in my opinion is if the Phillies are hoping that on his Hall of Fame plaque, he will be wearing a Phillies hat instead of a Blue Jays cap.
Without a doubt, the Halladay trade was a great deal and he was a stud here in Philadelphia, winning a Cy Young award in his first year. In that first year he also pitched a perfect game and a postseason no hitter in the same season. Most pitchers would be thrilled if they retired with a Cy Young award, a perfect game and a no hitter under their belt. Halladay knew of the hype coming in and he exceeded what we expected of him. If it was not for this past year with the shoulder injury, we would be sitting here criticizing Amaro for not signing Halladay yet. Last year, he exposed flaws none of us thought he had. He let the fans see the human side of Doc Halladay. For the first time, there is a wound the Doc cannot fix.