The Risk of Roy Halladay

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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?

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.