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?

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.