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Pedro Martinez is in the fold. Roy Halladay is not.
But like the Shermanator said, “Confidence is high. I repeat: confidence is high.” Not long ago the Phillies lost 14 of 18 games and their season appeared to be spiraling into the ground. Then they went 9-1 at home to take a four-game lead over the Marlins (it’s the second largest lead of any division leader at the break).
Phillies fans consider a third consecutive National League East championship a fait accompli, which is a little scary when you think about it (remember the ’07 and ’08 Mets).
Fans have reasons to be optimistic. The Phillies have the best offense in the National League, and that is with Jimmy Rollins struggling most of the first half and Raul Ibanez missing much of June and July with an injury. They also have the best defense in the National League.
But pitching remains a problem, which could become a bigger issue in October. Phillies starters have a 4.98 ERA, which ranks 14th in the league. Cole Hamels has a 4.87 ERA and has pitched more than six innings just four times this season. Brad Lidge has a 7.03 ERA, and has a 6.00 ERA since he returned from the 15-day disabled list in June. Jamie Moyer has a 5.99 ERA. Those are some red flags, which makes it even more crucial the Phillies improve their pitching before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Halladay said this week in St. Louis he considers his chances to be traded at 50-50. If that is the case, his chances of going to the Phillies are less because so many teams are interested in him. But Ken Rosenthal said the Phillies are a favorite because he doesn’t think the Angels and Cardinals have enough in their systems to get him. The Phillies do.
Here are a few things to consider when talking about Halladay:
- Halladay’s current contract is not an issue. One Phillies source said recently, “He isn’t making anything.” Halladay is making $14.25 million this year and $15.75 million next year. In comparison, Brett Myers is making $12 million this season. Halladay is a bargain at that price, and because the Phillies have been selling out the Bank regulary they can afford it. So, yes, the Phillies can afford to pick up Halladay’s contract. The issue with Halladay is going to be prospects. Who does the Blue Jays want, and who are the Phillies willing to give up? The Phillies are in better shape than most teams, which does put them at the top of the pack.
- Halladay has not indicated he needs a contract extension to accept a trade. He said he has made plenty of money in his career. He wants to win.
- Halladay sounds like he is ready to go to any winner, including Philadelphia. This isn’t a Jake Peavy situation.
- I’m getting a lot of Halladay and Vernon Wells questions. Any inclusion of Wells is a deal killer for the Phillies (and most every other team out there). And I have not heard anywhere the Blue Jays insist on including Wells in any talks. If the Blue Jays suddenly insist on Wells in any deal, the Phillies won’t be getting Halladay. But like I said, I have not heard that to be the case. At all. So relax.
I was looking for Halladay/Phillies pictures and came upon this one from Spring Training 2003. Halladay hit Jim Thome with a pitch and Larry Bowa sparked a bench-clearing brawl when Halladay came to bat later in the game. Good times.