Saturday, September 14, 2013
Roy Halladay's World Series quest
By Buster Olney
Could Roy Halladay end up pitching for a contender next season?
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:
• The St. Louis Cardinals, who have an excellent history of rebuilding veteran pitchers. “I could see him signing there -- in fact, I can start writing the script now,” said one highly ranked official. “He goes there, joins Chris Carpenter in a reunion of those Blue Jays’ staffs, and he finishes fourth in the Cy Young Award voting. We’ve seen that before, haven’t we?”
• The Los Angeles Dodgers, who have filled the front spots in their rotation for years to come but could think about Halladay as a worthy (and cheap) reclamation project. Halladay might benefit from pitching in spacious Dodger Stadium.
• The San Francisco Giants, who need to find at least two veteran starters this offseason. Given all that the Giants have gone through with Barry Zito in recent seasons -- the ups, the downs and the doubts about whether he could give them innings -- San Francisco might prefer somebody more predictable than Halladay would be in 2014. It might be that his days as an effective pitcher are over. But Halladay would love pitching for the Giants’ staff, and in San Francisco.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates. Look, the Pirates haven’t won a postseason series in more than 30 years, but they have a chance to rewrite that in the weeks ahead. Pittsburgh still needs some rotation stopgaps, and it offers any veteran pitcher the opportunity to work in a good pitchers’ park with a strong defense.
• Mike Trout might soon become just the 14th player in major league history to compile at least 200 hits and 100 walks in the same season; he has 181 hits and 97 walks.
• Koji Uehara extended his streak of consecutive batters retired in relief to 37, which ranks second behind Bobby Jenks (41 in 2007) in terms of the most since 1960, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
AL West race
• After the Rangers’ loss to Oakland on Friday night -- which included a disputed call late in the game that appeared to be wrong – Saturday’s game is as close to a must-win contest as Texas has played to this point.
• Colby Lewis’ future with the Rangers is uncertain, writes Drew Davison.
From ESPN Stats & Information:Brian McCann hit his 20th HR of the season, his seventh career 20-HR season (only six catchers in MLB history have more). It's his sixth consecutive 20-HR season, something only three other catchers have done (Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench).