Roy Halladay was once the best pitcher in baseball.
Over the past two years, Halladay is 13-12 with a 5.24 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 32 starts. For those who remember Halladay when he was at his best, it's disappointing to see those numbers.
Halladay has been out since mid-May after shoulder surgery and is looking like he's ready to return.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports Halladay will make a minor league rehab start Thursday for the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League team with another rehab start coming five days later if all goes well.
Some may ask why the Phillies would bring Halladay back since they're all but out of the playoff race. The reason is that both parties involved, Halladay and the Phillies, need to know whether the righthander has anything left in the tank.
Inside the Numbers
When looking at Halladay, it's important to look at his pre-injury numbers.
When you break it down by velocity, the only pitch that has had relatively no change since the 2011 season was his curveball. With the other three pitches, he lost more than two mph on his sinker and cutter, and 1.66 mph on his splitter.
We don't know for sure if Halladay's injured shoulder was the cause of the drop in his velocity, but if he has indeed fixed whatever ailed the joint, then his return should definitely give us an indication if his lack of arm strength is a long term issue or the product of an injury that needed to be addressed.
Free Agent after the Year
More than anything, Halladay wants to get back on the field because he is a free agent after this season.
The Phillies likely want to see if he has anything left. If he does, there will be an interest in re-signing him.
However, even if that doesn't happen, Halladay is playing for his career.
Just as some September call-ups will audition for 2014 jobs, Halladay will be auditioning for a job as well, whether it's with the Phillies or some other team.
At 36, Halladay doesn't have too many years left in him. He'll be able to prove he can still be effective at the MLB level, thereby allowing him to go out on his own term.
What do you expect from Roy Halladay when he returns?
Regardless of how he performs, he won't get $20 million a season again.
Halladay will see the field this year, making a few starts in September for the Phillies.
However, with guys like Ethan Martin and Jesse Biddle ready to make a difference at the MLB level, I don't see the Phillies bringing him back next.
Where Halladay could make the biggest difference is in a rotation that is chock-full of youngsters. Whether it's a team like the Baltimore Orioles or the Oakland Athletics, Halladay will still be able to help a team in 2014.
But will it be more from a leadership standpoint or because of his performance on the field?
That's the question he'll begin to answer when he makes it back to the big leagues this year.