Given that he is about the same age as Wal-Mart, the movie “West Side Story,” and that twister Chubby Checker was at the top of his game in the year of his birth, it is no wonder that baseball people consider Jamie Moyer to be ancient. But I still think that the Baltimore Orioles blew it when they allowed him to walk away the other day.
Moyer, who was born Nov. 18, 1962, became the oldest pitcher in Major League baseball history to win a game earlier this season when he toiled for the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies ended up dumping him, however, when his record slumped to 2-5. Moyer, coming back after a year off due to injury, caught on with the Orioles.
His deal included a willingness to make three minor-league starts and then to re-evaluate. If after that time Moyer was not promoted to the Orioles he became a free agent again. Moyer pitched in his three games, going 1-1 with a 1.69 earned run average. The Orioles didn’t promote him, instead offering him a fourth start at AAA Norfolk. That wasn’t part of the arrangement, so Moyer opted out.
Some people may see this as an indication that Moyer is finished, but how can he not be encouraged by putting up a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings at AAA? One would think that is an advertisement to some other team that he still has enough stuff to be helpful. It should also be a big boost to Moyer’s confidence after his shaky finish in Colorado.
At the moment Moyer’s career won-loss record is 269-209. I am certain that Moyer believes he can still pitch and that recent little stretch in AAA was reaffirming. Teams can always use pitching and Moyer is available. Sure, many teams are going to be scared off by Moyer’s age, but he did prove that his season-ending injury is history and not a hindrance to the resumption of his career.
Moyer, who is 6 feet, 180, relies more on savvy acquired over 25 yeas in the big leagues than supersonic speed to get guys out. That isn’t changing. I’m sure that money is really not an issue, either. No way Moyer commands Albert Pujols bucks. Moyer is hanging by his fingernails, at best, in the sport, and it is impossible to know whether his phone will ring.
It would be nice if Theo Epstein dug up Moyer’s phone number, though, and the Cubs’ president added Moyer to the roster, the first team Moyer pitched for in the majors in 1986. The Cubs are in last place and Moyer might help. Or maybe Moyer’s old Seattle team would consider giving him a unif0rm. Even more flamboyantly, inviting Moyer to land with the Yankees is a gamble that might pay off large for everyone.