When the 2013 season began, the Philadelphia Phillies knew they would have a tough decision on their hands when it came to Roy Halladay.
Considering that Halladay spent time on the DL last season, it was pretty apparent that unless he had a phenomenal year this season that he would not qualify for the vesting option of 225 innings pitched in 2013, and 415 innings pitched between the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Since Halladay will not meet the innings requirement, he will end up being a free agent at the end of this season — that is, if the Phillies do not decide to re-sign the two-time Cy Young award winner.
This could be one of the toughest offseason decisions facing the Phillies.
Halladay has, over the course of his career, been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He currently leads all active pitchers with a career winning percentage of 66 percent and is one of just three active pitchers, Andy Pettitte and Tim Hudson being the others, with at least 200 wins.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old pitcher is one of just five guys to win a Cy Young award in both leagues, doing so in the AL with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003 and then again with the NL and the Phillies in 2010. Also in 2010, Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in baseball history and became the only pitcher to date to ever throw a no-hitter in his first postseason start.
But with the good has come the bad, most recently in Halladay’s last two seasons. Struggling with injuries, a declining fastball and the toll that pitching over 2,700 innings has on the arm, Halladay’s stats have been on the downward trend.
And now, instead of preparing for his next start, Doc is preparing to undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery to remove bone chips from his arm. The surgery is considered minor and the right-hander is optimistic he will return to pitch this season.
“The doctor seemed pretty optimistic that if what they saw was correct, I could come back and be a lot more effective and have a chance to pitch this year,” Halladay said in his press conference. “He said he thought they could turn back the clock two or three years for me. I thought it was very good news.”
If Halladay does come back to pitch in 2013 and can have the clock turned back, it really could make all the difference. In fact, the Phillies might need to actually see this revamped Halladay to believe he would be worth a new contract.
The truth is, however, that if any pitcher were to be afforded a second chance based on good graces and a past body of work, it would be Halladay. If the right price can be met, both in years and money, the Phillies should take a chance on him.
After all, the Phillies certainly wouldn’t want to let Halladay walk away just for him to finish out his career with some other team, pitching back to the level he was just a few short seasons ago.