Roy Halladay is on the mend and should return in 2013, but the Phillies would be wise to lock him up for at least another year.
It's no surprise that the two-time Cy Young Award winner is progressing quickly after undergoing surgery to repair his severely damaged pitching shoulder:
Roy Halladay threw five innings in simulated game vs. minor leaguers today in Fla. Felt good, went well, says pitch coach Rich Dubee— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) August 10, 2013
Past performance may be the best predictor of what to expect in the future, but the last two years of Halladay's career (a 4.49 ERA in 2012 and an 8.65 ERA in 2013 pre-surgery) are moot. While Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee denied profusely that anything was wrong with the right-hander, Halladay was clearly hurt long before landing on the DL. At times it looked like he was laboring through every pitch.
Doc is 36 so it's unlikely he'll have Cy Young stuff again, but considering the doctors' message that Halladay relayed to David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News—specifically that his surgery would "turn back the clock two or three years"—Halladay will have much to offer Philadelphia.
Philadelphia should sign Halladay to a one-year, incentive-laden contract possibly with a vesting option for 2015. Something like Andy Pettitte's, which includes bonuses for innings pitched and days on the active roster. According to Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Doc wants to stay.
Halladay has been to the All-Star Game eight times and has finished in the top five in Cy Young voting seven times. Oh, and don't forget this (and this):
Apart from Doc's clear talent, he's an unbelievable influence on the rest of Philly's staff. His work ethic is unparalleled. Seeing as the Phillies have a competent (though painfully inconsistent) group of younger pitchers in Kyle Kendrick, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin—and top prospect Jesse Biddle waiting in the wings—Philadelphia would be wise to keep the workhorse around so these arms can learn from the best.
Kendrick's trajectory is a perfect example of what Halladay's clubhouse presence can mean to the team. While Kendrick has been struggling of late, his gradual improvement in the latter half of his career is noticeable.
In an interview with Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kendrick noted that Halladay's 2009 arrival in Philadelphia had the biggest impact on the young right-hander's pitching career.
As a teammate and a friend, Roy has had the biggest impact on my career, Kendrick said. I feel like there is a respect thing there. I feel like he has a respect for me, and I have a world of respect for him.
No one can see the stuff behind the scenes that I get to see, but I've learned to respect how he goes about his business.
This is a guy you want on your team. While Ruben Amaro Jr. should get rid of free agents-to-be Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young sooner rather than later (frankly it's baffling why he hasn't yet, but that's par for the course with Amaro), Halladay is one Phillie he should keep. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a fantastic long-form piece about the "legend" that is Doc Halladay. If someone unanimously deemed a legend who has new life wants to be on your team, you take him.