Monday, December 9, 2013
Halladay Retires As A Jay
TORONTO -- Roy Halladay has decided to officially step away from the game, but not before he signed one final contract with the Blue Jays.
Toronto's former ace is set to announce his retirement at 12:30 p.m. ET Monday afternoon, according to a report from CBSSportline. Prior to the news conference, Halladay signed a one-day contract to ensure he would finish his career with Toronto.
Halladay spent the past four years with the Phillies, but at least for those who live north of the border, he will always be remembered as a Blue Jay. The ceremonial signing is a feel-good story for a pitcher who is generally regarded as one of the best in club history.
The 36-year-old Halladay ranks second all-time in Blue Jays history with 148 victories and 1,495 strikeouts. He's also third with 2,246 2/3 innings, a 3.43 ERA and 287 starts. For a stretch of eight years in Toronto, Halladay was easily regarded as one of the most dominant and consistent pitchers in the game, and it's only a matter of time before he gets added to the club's Level of Excellence.
Halladay's body of work also serves as inspiration for players who might have lost their way in search of the Major League dream. The right-hander was selected by Toronto in the first round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft, and he debuted just three years later, but it wasn't too long after that his career hit rock bottom.
The Colorado native couldn't seem to get anyone out in the spring of 2001, and he was optioned all the way down to Class A Dunedin in order to revamp his mechanics. It was a drastic move that seemed to be a last-ditch effort to salvage Halladay's career, and in the end, it paid off more than anyone could have imagined.
Halladay made it back to the big leagues by the middle of that 2001 season and won 19 games the following year. His best season in the American League arguably came in 2003, when he won the AL Cy Young Award with a 22-7 record, a 3.25 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 266 innings.
The Blue Jays were able to keep Halladay in the fold for an additional six seasons, but they were never able to make a serious run at the postseason. Halladay signed below-market contract extensions on two occasions, but in the winter of 2009, it was finally time for the two sides to part ways.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos was about to embark on an ambitious rebuilding program, and Halladay was one year away from free agency and had a strong desire to play for a contending team. The two sides amicably parted ways in an offseason trade, as Halladay went to the Phillies for a series of prospects.
Halladay went on to win a National League Cy Young Award during his first year in Philadelphia and proceeded to throw a no-hitter in his postseason debut. The second season with the Phillies was equally as successful, but by 2012, Halladay's body finally began to break down following such a lengthy period of success.
A series of shoulder injuries caused issues, with the final blow being surgery to repair a partial tear in his rotator cuff. Halladay did make it back for six starts near the end of the 2013 season, but he looked like a shadow of his former self and had difficulty throwing above low-80s velocity.
There was talk that Halladay would attempt to return for at least one more season, but he instead has decided to step away from the game. The fact that he has chosen to do so in a Toronto uniform will only further cement his place in a city where he has always been embraced with nothing but open arms.