Want to know why I've been so adamant about my belief that the Phillies will not end up trading Cole Hamels? Because I keep trying to picture Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel calling Roy Halladay into an office to inform him of the news, and I just can't do it. I realize that you cannot govern an organization based on sentiment, but think about this: the Phillies are now 9.5 games out of a playoff spot, which is the same deficit the Cardinals faced at the end of August last year. That's not to say the Phillies look like a team that can make a similar run. But to a player like Halladay, who is 35 years old and playing out the second-to-last year of a contract that he signed at a discount rate in order to pursue a title, a 9.5 game deficit is not grounds for dismantling a team that led the majors in wins one year ago.
"We saw what happened last year in Atlanta with St. Louis getting in and going all the way to win the World Series," Halladay said. "I mean, it's happened before. It's going to be difficult. There's a long way to go and it's a steep hill to climb, but I think there's got to be a positive mentality, especially when you have the players that we have. It's not like we have players that can't compete and can't win. We have those players here. It's just a matter of being able to go out and do it and give ourselves a chance. You look at the way baseball has gone the last few years, there's definitely a chance. I don't think there is any reason to believe there wouldn't be."
Since the end of May, Halladay has sat on the sidelines and watched the Philies spiral further under .500. Over the last couple of weeks, he has heard trade speculation about the team intensify, with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. surveying interest in crucial pieces of the roster like Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. And he hasn't been able to do a damn thing about it.
"It's definitely hard," said Halladay, who returned to the mound on Tuesday night, holding the Dodgers to two runs in five innings while striking out six and walking none in the Phillies' 3-2 win. "This is an organization that has been committed to winning and you want to see that continue. And obviously there are points where they may have to reconsider how they are going to go about that, but I hope that is long after I'm gone, to be honest with you. You want to have every chance you can to try and win. It's tough having a trade deadline and being at the point we are in, it puts some pressure on the front office, but I don't think any of us have given up on it and I know they haven't in the front office. It's a tough situation where you can't always continue to go down the same path if things aren't working, you have to make some changes and do some different things and we understand that, but as players you want to go out and win and give yourselves a chance to avoid those situations."
Would Halladay ever personally lobby Amaro to keep the team intact?
"I think he's aware of how a lot of guys feel," Halladay said. "As a player, there are certain lines that you don't cross. I think he understands that you want to win and you want to be able to have the guys here to do that, but by the same token, he's the GM, I'm a player, and I respect his position. But he knows. He knows that we want to keep Cole and Victorino. He knows that."
The only way to control what happens is to keep on winning.