- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
It’s worth remembering how much Roy Halladay wanted to pitch for the Phillies, in successfully pushing for a trade to Philadelphia prior to the 2010 season. If he had waited to become a free agent at the end of that season, he might have been in line for a $100 million deal, but Halladay’s home is near the Phillies’ spring training facility in Clearwater, Fla.
So, his side worked out a three-year deal worth $20 million per season and he happily joined Philadelphia. He wanted some sense of normalcy for his kids, and he wanted a legitimate chance to win a World Series, and with the Phillies -- who would go on to win 97 regular-season games in 2010 and 102 games in 2011 -- he had the possibility of achieving both.
But that didn’t happen; the Phillies lost in the 2010 playoffs to the Giants and in the 2011 playoffs to the Cardinals, with both of those opponents going on to win the World Series. Some of Halladay’s friends think that if the Phillies had won the World Series in 2011, he already would be retired. “He’s all about winning the championship now,” said someone who has known Halladay for many years.
Halladay regressed in 2012, posting a 4.49 ERA, and this year has been a summer of enormous frustration for him. Halladay has been one of the game’s great plow horses in his career, repeatedly throwing deep into games; but, in 11 starts this season, he has compiled 55 2/3 innings, with 31 walks and a 7.28 ERA.
Halladay probably has enough equity with the Phillies -- and has engendered enough respect -- that he could work out something with Philadelphia. But his friends think that he’ll be open to more possibilities than that, and that money really is irrelevant at this stage. They think Halladay’s absolute priority is to land with a club capable of winning the World Series.
A club such as the following: