The Risk of Roy Halladay


WEEI’s Alex Speier breaks down Roy Halladay’s recent workload in light of his age and asks whether teams considering trading for the guy are taking on more risk than they think:

While Halladay’s performance over the last 10 seasons has been little
short of remarkable, that is no guarantee of what he might contribute
over the next four or five years. Though Halladay has been a pitcher of
incredible durability, he is also reaching a point in his career that
suggests a decreased ability to handle such a workload.
And that, in turn, suggests that a team’s decision about whether to
drain both its prospect pool and its financial resources to acquire
Halladay from Toronto is an immensely complex one.

The, risk, Speier says, stems from the fact that the vast majority of pitchers who have thrown over 800 innings in a four-year span have been younger guys, and that only 25 guys between the ages of 33 and 36 — the range Halladay is entering — have done so over the past 30 years.  Halladay threw 930 innings over the past four years. Does he have that kind of juice left in his arm going forward? Because really, he’ll have to in order for any team acquiring him to come out ahead on the deal.

Obviously the teams pursuing Halladay are aware of all of this. To the extent they’ve discounted the risk, they’ve likely done it based on some combination of (a) the fact that Halladay has been outstandingly durable until now, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be going forward; and (b) if the stats are right and there’s roughly one guy in baseball at any given time who can throw 880+ innings through his mid 30s, it’s Halladay, right?

Sure, Halladay presents a risk, but so does everyone else. In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather risk my future on his arm than I would on, say, Joba Chamberlain’s or Clay Buchholz’s.

Wouldn’t you?

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired Williams and his entire coaching staff following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.