Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that if Roy Halladay can be a "viable possiblity," the Phillies would like to bring him back. (USA Today Images)
MIAMI – Ruben Amaro Jr. is well aware of the possibility that Roy Halladay may have thrown his last pitch for the Phillies.
But Amaro did not have any wistful feelings as he watched the physically spent pitcher walk off the mound with a team athletic trainer Monday night.
“I guess I don’t think that way,” Amaro said Tuesday. “I’d like to think it’s not the last we’ll see of Doc.”
Halladay, 36, exhibited courage making it back to the Phillies’ rotation 3 1/2 months after shoulder surgery. But courage did not help him pitch well. He walked 19 in 27 2/3 innings in six starts. Not only did he struggle with control, he had a tough time generating a fastball above 88 mph. He hit just 83 mph on the radar gun before leaving Monday night’s start after just 16 pitches.
Manager Ryne Sandberg said Halladay had “a classic case of dead arm.”
Truth be told, Halladay's entire body looked fatigued.
“Doc is trying to push hard to pitch and it finally got to the point where he probably wore himself down a little,” Amaro said. “He came back very, very quickly. This is what he wanted to do -- try to earn his keep, earn his money and be accountable for what he is and what he’s done. It’s time to shut him down, let him get his rest and hopefully get ready for next year.”
Halladay will be a free agent this winter. That sets up a couple of questions: 1) Has he thrown his last pitch in the majors?; and 2) Has he thrown his last pitch as a Phillie?
After a full winter of rehab and strength building -- he’s lost weight while dealing with a treatable illness related to diet -- he should be able to make it back and pitch somewhere next season. There’s a dearth of pitching in the majors. Some team will give him a shot.
Will it be with Phillies?
“Again, if we think he’s going to be a viable possibility for us, we’d like to try to bring him back,” Amaro said. “We have to talk internally more about Doc. But Doc’s a pretty special guy. And if there was somebody that was going to come back and be an effective pitcher, it would be him. We’ll have to see whether we think he can. We’ll talk to our doctors and see where we go.”
With Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in their April rotation, the Phillies will be looking for back-end starters -- Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone might be the guys -- and depth because no team gets through a season with just five starters.
“We want to build as much depth as we can,” Amaro said.
Halladay made $20 million each of the last three seasons. His next deal will likely pay him a fraction of that. Halladay has long said he’s not in this for the money. In fact, he recently said he might pay a team to have him if it meant winning a World Series.
Given Halladay’s injury issues the last two seasons, the Phillies would want him to share in some of the risk if they were to re-sign him. That means a low base salary with incentive clauses based on performance.
“I would think so,” Amaro said when posed with that scenario. “But you’re ahead of me.”
Time will tell if Halladay has thrown his last pitch for the Phillies. He’s definitely thrown his last pitch this season.