Philly Sports Column: Halladay’s Time is Up

Story posted September 23, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Blake Cohen

I always assumed Roy Halladay would be one of those ageless Major League pitchers that would still be effective well into his early 40’s.  With a fastball that showed incredible movement across the strike zone, as well several complementary pitches that demonstrated flawless command, velocity didn’t seem to be a necessity to the success of Roy Halladay. I was wrong. 

In two years, Halladay went from being the Cy Young award runner-up, to having the second worst ERA for any pitcher who started at least 10 games this season.  While Halladay’s performance was expected to eventually decline, the speed at which he has regressed, is what is so surprising to baseball fans. 

The eight time All-Star has had shoulder injuries each of the past two seasons, which now bhas some people believing that Halladay is still recovering and will return back to his old form. This notion is far from the truth. 

The Roy Halladay that struggles to throw the ball 88 miles per hour is the one that we will likely see for the rest of his career.  While the velocity and injuries might have been two major reasons for Halladay’s struggles, the overall workload across his career is something that cannot be ignored. 

With over 2700 innings pitched since entering the MLB in 1998, Halladay has been the iconic workhorse on the mound.  He has lead the league in innings pitched four times and complete game outings seven times in his career. 

Despite his status as a future Hall of Fame candidate, his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, and baseball in general, is in question.  Despite everything Halladay has done for the Phillies organization, it would be wise of the them not to bring him back to the team next year. 

After underachieving the past two seasons, it is clear the Phillies need to make major changes to their player personnel.  They need to get younger, and keeping Roy Halladay on the roster will not help them achieve this.  While it may be painful to think about, the Phillies will need to get worse before they get better. 

A total rebuilding effort is in order for the Phillies to get back to the playoffs by the end of the decade. 

Even if Halladay was kept on the roster the next couple of seasons and he performed reasonably well, it would just be delaying the inevitability of the rebuilding stage.  Why not use Halladay’s rotation spot to experiment with minor league pitching prospects next year? 

According to MLB.com, five of the Phillies top ten prospects are starting pitchers, therefore why would the Phillies not give some of these pitchers major league experience next season?  As for Halladay, Buster Olney of ESPN, reported that he was looking to join a World Series contender next season. 

A chance to win the World Series was originally why Halladay pushed for a trade to Philadelphia, but after not being able to win one in four years, it is understandable why he would want to look elsewhere.  Yet it’s hard to imagine him getting a rotation spot on a legitimate championship contender, after how poorly he has pitched this season. 

A middle-of-the-pack team, with the potential to make the playoffs seems more attainable for Halladay. 

If this is Halladay’s final season with the Phillies, he will leave behind a reputation of behind one of the hardest working athletes to ever play in Philadelphia.

His perfect game in Miami and no hitter in the 2010 playoffs against Cincinnati will be recognized as two of the most memorable moments in Philadelphia sports history. 

Blake Cohen is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email bac5466@psu.edu.