It is Thanksgiving in the good old US of A, meaning the stream of news and signings will slow down to match the rate at which your turkey-infused blood chugs through your now clogged arteries. Rather than grope around for a timely news bite, let’s crash the doors like it’s Black Friday and give some thanks! Similes!
On the final pre-holiday edition of the Effectively Wild podcast, featuring BP editor Ben Lindbergh and bon vivant Sam Miller, they debated which pitcher they prefer going forward: Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay. Their debate is an interesting one, a debate that would not have been quite as interesting just one year ago, when Roy Halladay was regarded as the second-best pitcher in baseball at worst.
Looking at the 2013 season, there are obvious red flags around Roy Halladay for the first time in a long time. Owing largely to the shoulder/lat/oblique problems which limited him to just 25 starts, Halladay had his worst season in years. Not only did he manage only 156 innings while allowing nearly 4.5 runs per nine innings, Roy Halladay did not pitch a complete game in 2012 (!) after leading the league seven times since the 2003 season.
Despite his titanium alloy skeletal system and steely determination, Roy Halladay will decline – it is difficult to argue that his decline is not already under way. One day, Roy Halladay will retire from baseball. He will make his final start somewhere and stride off the mound, reluctantly acknowledging the cheers and appreciation from [INSERT HOME CROWD HERE].
And that is a shame. So today, on this American Thanksgiving Day, let us give thanks for Roy Halladay.
After all the time spent toiling in relative obscurity in Toronto, earning little but the awe-struck respect of AL East opponents and self-aware Red Sox/Yankees fans, Roy Halladay is no longer an underappreciated superstar. Roy Halladay is very well known – for his dogged pursuit of perfection and uncommon work ethic. Throwing just the second no-hitter in the BASEBALL POST SEASON HISTORY in your first ever playoff game will do that.
Despite all but assuredly falling short of the hallowed 300 win figure, Roy Halladay is pretty much a shoe-in for future enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His achievements nearly guarantee selection even if Halladay walked away from the game now. Baseball Reference recently added Jay Jaffe’s ingenious JAWS system to its “Hall of Fame” monitor section on each player page. The grey/black ink sections point to a surefire Hall of Famer and Jaws agrees.
Whether or not the Baseball Writers of America agree to elect one of his generation’s best pitchers to their little clubhouse does not and can not affect the appreciation of this great pitcher from the generation of fans who watched him pitch and dominate and progress.
From Stone Age Halladay nearly throwing a no-hitter in his big league debut to Bronze Age Halladay remade into an ace by Mel Queen to Iron Age Halladay ruthlessly eschewing strikeouts in pursuit of a 27-pitch complete game to American Modernist Halladay laying waste to the National League, Phillies and Blue Jays fans know what all baseball fans are sure to learn – Roy Halladay is a treasure on the baseball field.
Whether or not Roy Halladay embraces a post-modern decline phase, using his masterful control and guile to bolster his Cooperstown bona fides beyond his current contract (Halladay could be a free agent at the end of the 2014), any baseball fan worth their salt can only appreciate and be thankful they got to watch Roy Halladay work. I know I am.
And the Rest
Part of John Buck’s trade to the Blue Jays stipulates he must work on behalf of the Tourism Toronto [DJF]
Jeff MacGregor tries to be fair but refuses to consider anyone might enjoy baseball in a manner different to his own. [ESPN]
The terms of Jonny Gomes’ deal with the Red Sox is two years and $10 million? That is just crazy enough for me to not even care a little bit. [WEEI]
More thoughts on the Trayon Robinson/Robert Andino trade than you ever thought possible. [Balty Sun]
When your contract doesn’t include a no-trade clause it means you don’t have a no-trade clause [Neyer]
Ichiro, you needn’t be reminded, is just the best thing in the world. [Big League Stew]