At the start of the 2012 season, no one could have predicted the downward spiral that would soon claim the talent of Roy Halladay. The Ace who dominated hitters seemingly disappeared over night, and in his place was a pitcher who would be content to be considered average. His struggles have carried over to 2013, and with two bad starts under his belt to kick off this season, you've got to wonder how long this is going to continue.
While we'd all appreciate Roy turning it around sooner rather than later, it seems as though the Phillies are content to give Halladay plenty of time to correct his struggles, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN:
Asked how much time the Phillies can afford to give Halladay to straighten himself out, Amaro told ESPN.com: "As much as he needs. He's Roy Halladay. He'll figure it out."
And you know what – that is exactly what Ruben Amaro should say. The vote of confidence from management, even when management might not be 100% sincere, is sometimes exactly what is needed. Whether or not Amaro's commitment to his pitcher is going to help Halladay, that's another story altogether.
I appreciate what Amaro is saying, because Halladay has certainly earned the right to correct his struggles (and for my money, Doc doesn't deserve to get booed, either) on his own terms. And I don't necessarily disagree with him, because you can't rush a player when he is struggling, or else you run the risk of turning a bad problem into a worse one. However, it's getting to a point where giving Roy an unlimited amount of time could ultimately be detrimental to the team.
The reality is that Doc only has a finite amount of time to fix himself, because if the Phillies do intend to contend this season – and despite a bad first week, they still could – then they can ill-afford to send Halladay to the mound every fifth day and hope for the best. If he can't get it figured out before too long, then either Ruben Amaro or Charlie Manuel are going to have to make the very difficult decision of replacing him with a pitcher that gives the Phillies a fighting chance on the mound.
As much as we'd like to believe that he'll get it figured out because “he's Roy Halladay,” the fact of the matter is that his reputation only goes so far. Sooner or later, his performance needs to catch up and bear the weight.
I – and I suspect that darn near every Phillies fan feels this way – want nothing more than for Halladay to get his issues corrected. And to be honest, I want Roy to have as much time as he needs, but it's just not practical. It's not good for the Phillies, it's not good for the fans, and it's really not good for Roy Halladay. Reputation or not, you don't want to see Roy head into the month of July with an ERA north of 6.00 because he is still working things out. That's no way for a legend like Roy to go out, and I suspect that he and the front office realize that.
Halladay has given us two great years of baseball in Philadelphia, and countless others beyond that, so he absolutely deserves an opportunity to right the ship. Let's hope that, by the time it happens, that it's not too late.