Phillies

Former teammates remember Roy Halladay

Former teammates remember Roy Halladay

The news of Roy Halladay's death shook the sports world Tuesday. Within moments of the revelation that Halladay was in the plane that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, the love and grief from Halladay's former teammates and peers began to pour out.

Here's the reaction from some of those closest to Doc. This still doesn't feel real.

Chase Utley
"Words cannot describe what it feels like to lose a friend like Roy. He was the ultimate teammate with a passion for being the best. I'm honored to have had the chance to compete with you, Roy. My heart goes out to Brandy and his boys. RIP Doc, but knowing you, rest is not in your vocabulary."

The bromance between Halladay and Utley was one of the most fun aspects of those Phillies teams. Halladay always revered Utley's work ethic, which is saying something because it was Doc's tireless dedication to his craft that made so many players around baseball look up to him.

"On the field I got goose bumps every time!" Halladay tweeted in July 2014 of playing with Utley. "Please encourage your friends, family, most of all your kids to be like chase! #26&chooch!"

Charlie Manuel
"Roy was the best competitor I'd ever seen and it was an honor to have managed him. He was not only a great pitcher, but also a great person and a tremendous father. His contributions to the Phillies can't be measured. Roy was like a brother to me and we remained close after his playing days. I'm heartbroken for Brandy and the boys."

Some of the most memorable Doc-Charlie moments were when Manuel would go out to the mound late in a game to gauge whether Halladay had enough left to get one more out. Every time, Halladay would shrug him off. And it seemed like every time, Halladay would pick up that final out to make his manager look wise.

Ruben Amaro Jr.
"Roy Halladay was most accountable and hardest-working athlete I'd ever been around and while he was the fiercest competitor on the mound, he was also the kindest and most gentle person I've ever known. My heart goes out to Brandy, Braden and Ryan."

Amaro loved Halladay. Landing him in that trade with the Blue Jays prior to the 2010 season was one of his biggest accomplishments as Phillies GM, and it was the result of months of work trying to pry him away from Toronto.

Brad Lidge
"We will all remember Roy for his amazing moments on the field, how he dialed it up in the most important situations, how he competed and left his heart on the field every time he took the ball. But he was also an incredible dad, an incredible husband and an incredible teammate. He was quiet and thoughtful, but knew how to be playful. I competed against Roy since we were in Little League together and I will remember him in that way, and as a man.  It was a privilege to know him and his family, and to have been his teammate. Our hearts go out to Brandy, his kids and his family."

Scott Rolen
"I'm sick right now. Doc was as driven a human being as I'd ever met in my life. I'm hurting for his family and friends. We all lost a good man."

Halladay had the same level of respect for Rolen that he had for Utley. Three men personified by the word "gamer."

Shane Victorino
"You are gone too soon, my friend. I was blessed to have shared the field with you as a teammate, competitor, friend and more importantly, brother. Praying for Brandy and the boys, my Ohana and I will do all we can for them in this tragic time. I love you, bro."

"Ohana" is the Hawaiian word for family.

Raul Ibanez
"I am deeply saddened and absolutely devastated by the tragic loss of Roy Halladay. Doc was the best pitcher I ever had the privilege of sharing the field with as his preparation, consistency, passion, drive and excellence on the field was unmatched. He was a dominant force on the mound every fifth day and he made all of us better without having to say a word. Doc was a tremendous teammate who never sought out the spotlight, rather he let his greatness on the field do the talking for him. He cared about winning and being the best player and teammate possible.  His career accolades speak for themselves but what I most admired about him was his love for his family and his children. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this incredibly difficult time."

• • •

Those were just a few of the heartfelt messages from Halladay's former mates. The rest of the baseball world was hit just as hard. And you didn't even need to know Halladay personally to be devastated.

Phillies owner John Middleton would 'love' to sign an upgrade

Phillies owner John Middleton would 'love' to sign an upgrade

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Even though the Grapefruit League schedule starts on Friday and opening day is less than six weeks away, the Phillies are still hungry to improve their pitching.

In an interview with John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia on Tuesday, Phillies owner John Middleton said the team was “very” active in pursuing potential upgrades. Middleton went on to say that he would “love” to do something on that front.

Middleton made the comments as a number of attractive free-agent pitchers, including Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, remain unsigned.

“We’re having talks every single day with different people,” Middleton said. 

Middleton gets updates on those talks regularly from general manager Matt Klentak.

“Matt kind of now knows me, when we walk in the office and see each other for the first time he basically says [since] the last time I talked to you, John, at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon nothing happened or this has happened,” Middleton said with a laugh. “Then I’ll see him at lunch time and still nothing has happened or this has happened. We have a lot of conversations about that.”

Middleton is eager to win, but he remains committed to seeing the rebuild through. Klentak has often said he won’t make a shortsighted move that would jeopardize the future. He has said his goal is to play in October for a decade, not just one year. That’s Middleton’s goal, too.

If the Phillies were to make an upgrade on the pitching side in the coming days or weeks, it would have to be on their terms. They have been in continuous contact with Arrieta’s representatives all winter, but won’t go to five or more years to sign the right-hander who turns 32 in March. If Arrieta were willing to sign a deal in the two- to four-year range, the Phillies would definitely have interest (more on all that here).

Stay tuned on that one. Camps are open. Free agents Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez have signed in recent days. Like Arrieta, they are represented by Scott Boras. The pitching logjam looks ready to break and could have an impact in Philadelphia, where the Phillies are methodically striving to become playoff relevant again.

“We wouldn’t be out talking to people the way we are if we didn’t think that we could get that little extra push,” Middleton said. “I think we all feel this way. [It] just has to be done in an intelligent, thoughtful and reasonable way.

“But, yeah, I’d love to do something."

Phillies willing to sign Jake Arrieta if ...

Phillies willing to sign Jake Arrieta if ...

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Longstanding rumors linking the Phillies to free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta continue to percolate. On Tuesday morning, baseball reporter Jon Heyman tweeted that the Phillies and Arrieta were engaged in "dialogue."

Here’s what we know: At the winter meetings in December, Phillies officials met with Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, to go over a number of Boras’ clients. At the time, Arrieta was looking for a deal in the neighborhood of seven years and $180 million to $200 million. Those parameters were not a fit for the Phillies, who have placed a premium on short-term contracts while they move their rebuild forward.

The Phillies have remained engaged with the Arrieta camp throughout the winter and they have made it clear that if the pitcher’s price tag comes down, they would have interest in a union. It is believed the Phillies would be willing to sign Arrieta, who turns 32 in March, to a two- or three-year contract, at a significant salary and possibly with some creative structure such as an out after one year.

Earlier this winter, the Phillies had reservations about meeting free agent Carlos Santana’s original contract demands of upwards of five years. When Santana’s demands were lowered to three years, the Phillies pounced and signed him for $60 million. Such a lowering of demands could make Arrieta a Phillie. Of course, there are other teams interested. Arrieta has long been linked to the Cardinals and Nationals.

Arrieta would come with some risk. All pitchers of his age and odometer reading do. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2015 while going 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA for the Chicago Cubs. He went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA the following season and slipped to 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 2017. That trend downward has coincided with a slight drop in velocity and that has given teams pause at signing Arrieta to a long-term deal. It would seem that even the Cubs had reservations about Arrieta as they let him walk and signed free agent Yu Darvish.

In the last few days, a couple of big-name Boras clients have signed. Eric Hosmer went to the Padres and J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox. Arrieta might be next. If he would come at the Phillies’ price, he might end up being a Phillie.

Signing Arrieta would cost the Phillies a second- or third-round draft pick in June.