One of the bigger surprises from the 2017 season was how durable reliever Peter Moylan was for the Royals as he made 79 appearances for the team despite being in his late 30’s. Braves fans remembered how effective he could be from his previous stint with the team as well as his affable personality, so when the Braves signed him to a deal before the 2018 season fans were cautiously optimistic.
Unfortunately, there does appear to be a reason why older relievers who have undergone two Tommy John surgeries and a shoulder surgery do not have a ton of longevity in the league. Honestly, it is impressive that he has been able to last as long as he has to his credit.
To say that Moylan’s (likely) final tenure with the team was disappointing seems like a fair assessment. After a 2017 season with the Royals that saw him make a ton of appearances and post a 3.49 ERA and 4.00 FIP, his numbers in 2018 were significantly worse with a 4.45 ERA and 5.49 FIP and that doesn’t include all of the inherited runners that he allowed to score. His strikeout rate of 7.31 K/9 was in line with what he had done in his career, but his walk rate (like many other Braves’ relievers) was abysmal at 5.72 BB/9 which was easily a career high.
As a result of his struggles, Moylan’s usage decreased as the season went on before he went on the disabled list in July with a right forearm strain. He returned briefly before going back on the DL and eventually getting placed on the 60-Day DL with the same injury which ended his season.
Bottom line, what did he do in 2018? Moylan posted a 4.45 ERA and 5.49 FIP in 39 appearances (28.1 innings) with the Braves before misses the final couple months of the season on the disabled list.
Will he be on the roster in 2019? The answer to that seems to be no. While Moylan does provide a strong clubhouse presence (yes, yes….insert your jokes here) that is valued by the Braves, he was simply not good in 2018. All good things must come to an end and the Braves have access to better bullpen options right now. Moylan was already declared a free agent and there has been no indication at all that the Braves have been interested in re-signing him.
What will he do in 2019? Its possible that he will try to play in 2019, but after a tough season in 2018…its hard to see a particularly robust market for his services. He is definitely a guy that could end up as a coach in the league and it is very possible he begins that transition in 2019. That could very well be with the Braves where he could be valuable as a roving instructor or something to that effect to start with to see if he enjoys coaching and then he could go from there.