Is Halladay willing to be Phillies fifth starter?

Roy Halladay, Phillies pitcher
Roy Halladay could return to the Phillies in a lesser role, on an incentive-laden deal.

 

Scout: Halladay could be low-risk, high reward

Speaking to members of the Phillies after the team lost Game 5 of the NLDS in 2011 was akin to chatting with victims pulled from a car crash.

Just about every Phillie recounted what was arguably the most disappointing loss in Philadelphia playoff history over and over again. Ryan Madson poured over every detail. Raul Ibanez talked about how he missed a three-run homer that could have won the series.

And then there was Roy Halladay. While everyone else was looking back, Doc could only see the future. According to former Phillies orthopedic Dr. Ian Duncan, Halladay had a question for the physicians.

“Twenty minutes after the game, Halladay comes into the office and asks with this blank expression, ‘Hey guys, when is the date for opening day next season?’ That’s all the time it took to put that horrible game behind him.”

There’s little doubt that the former Cy Young Award winner has forgotten about his miserable 2013 season. Halladay, who underwent shoulder surgery, lost a few miles off his fastball and his pinpoint control. Now he’s trying to figure out how to come back strong in 2014.

One of the big questions for Ruben Amaro is, do you bring Halladay back? If so, how much?

“That’s going to be intriguing,” a NL scout said. “What will the Phillies do? If it’s a purely incentive-laden deal, I bet Halladay does come back. If you sign him to be your fifth starter, it’ll be a classic low-risk, high-reward deal. Would you rather have this version of Halladay or John Lannan?”

Considering how competitive Halladay is, it wouldn’t be surprising if he developed a new pitch in the offseason or made modifications. Then again, there might not be much to salvage. Halladay — he’ll turn 37 in May — is walking in the footsteps of Steve Carlton, who lost it completely a generation ago, yet wouldn’t retire.

“It could go either way for Halladay,” the NL scout said. “He’s as tenacious and hard-working as they come. He could be a bargain for a team next year or an albatross. Will it be the Phillies? I wouldn’t be surprised.”


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