If the Philadelphia Phillies have not seen enough of Roy Halladay, they might want to get their vision checked.
A year ago, Halladay had to be removed in the first inning of a game against the host Chicago Cubs because he was sweating profusely in the heat. Earlier this week with the dome closed in Miami, in a climate-controlled 72 degrees, Halladay was removed from the game and shut down for the season after 16 pitches due to a dead arm.
The Phillies should have seen enough. While Halladay gave them a couple of outstanding seasons, time has finally caught up to him. They have an option year on the 36-year-old pitcher and should opt out of renewing. They can do one of three things: Re-sign Halladay to an incentive-laden deal heavily leaning toward team protection, sign a big-ticket free agent, or look for a free agent with value.
The best young free agent with value is Josh Johnson of the Toronto Blue Jays. Johnson is seven years younger than Halladay with no history of a dead arm. Like Halladay, Johnson is coming off a couple of injury-plagued years. Unlike Halladay, though, Johnson has not suffered from problems with fatigue or a dead arm. They have both had problems producing numbers this year, but Johnson is two years removed from a more-than-respectable 3.41 ERA. Johnson was shut down in late August with a strained right forearm, but he does not need surgery and should be okay by spring.
The Phillies might not be getting the Johnson of 2009 when he went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA for the Miami Marlins, but if they can get the Johnson of two years ago, they will be at least getting more than the Halladay of the last two seasons, and that’s exactly what they should do.