Jamie Moyer, who turns 45 next month, isn’t talking like a man who's ready for retirement. In a recent Seattle Times column, the 14-game winner says he can still compete. [Link]
Moyer was the only pitcher to take every turn in the rotation for the Phillies last season, and he saved his best for last. He pitched like the cagey vet he is in the NLDS and was equally awe-inspiring in the Sunday division-clinching game against the Nationals. Moyer’s 199 1-3 innings can be listed as one of the most underrated stats of the season; that’s 16 more than Cole Hamels, and nearly 40 more than Adam Eaton. Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times asked Moyer how much further he can push the envelope.
"I am curious," Moyer told the paper. "As of today, I have my health. I got through a healthy season. I still feel I can compete. I know I can still play the game. ... At some point, maybe it's next year, maybe it's two years down the road, I'll go out on the field and I just can't do it. But if I can and right now I know that I can, why not? Just because somebody says you're too old? Or your birth certificate says you're a certain age?"
Beerleaguer: This piece is a nice reminder of what Moyer accomplished in '07, but also soothes anxiety on whether Moyer may be ready to walk away, something the Phillies cannot afford. Moyer signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with a $1 million signing bonus last season, which paid $6 million in '07 and will pay him $5.5 million in '08 since he surpassed 180 innings pitched. It would have dropped to $3.5 million if he fell short.
It’s pretty amazing if you think about it -- 180 is a pretty high total for a guy his age. Cole Hamels barely passed it. Every time Charlie Manuel made a coin-flip call to the bullpen, a lesser professional might have had a meltdown right there on the mound -- especially early in the season with the future very much in doubt. None of this seemed to faze Moyer, as Cholly would take the ball and hand it to Antonio Alfonseca or Geoff Geary, with possibly $2 million riding on it. Even without $2 million looming, when to lift Moyer, who knows his limits better than anyone, must have been one of Cholly’s greatest challenges. Many times, only inches separate Moyer’s best and worst stuff.
Trivialities aside, Moyer is all class, and one of my favorites. Gotta respect a man who rocks it with a traditional bow tie, too.