Trade! The Phillies acquired left-hander Jamie Moyer and cash from the Mariners in exchange for a pair of minor league right-handers late Saturday night. The 43-year-old veteran went 6-12 with a 4.39 ERA.
This deal has all the makings of one of those savvy Pat Gillick moves we've been waiting for.
Stability and deception … these are the two key benefits to acquiring Moyer for the remaining leg, and if it works, you’re sitting on a guy who’s won in the playoffs.
impossible to believe there would have been a better available option
for what the Phils were looking for at this stage of the season. Instead of having eight games over the remaining 40 where losing is very likely, Gillick got on the horn with his old team and subtracted that uncertainty by adding a reliable pitcher who knows more about the craft than just about anyone. Better him than Scott Mathieson, Eude Brito, Brian Mazone or Gavin Floyd. We can all agree on that.
Let’s take care of the negatives first. Moyer is a well-known flyball pitcher, having given up 25 homers already, 13 at pitcher-friendly Safeco. Five of his eight probable starts will be inside bandboxes, possibly three starts at Citizens Bank Park, in addition to two games at Minute Maid and Wrigley, where he will make his Phillies debut on Tuesday. The rest are on the road in the NL East, all pitcher's parks.
But looking at just this one aspect fails to capture the big picture. What the Phillies are trying to do is avoid the early blowouts that have plagued them all season long. Moyer is steady. Moving to a new league, it should take opposing hitters three innings just to figure out what he's dealing. He’s been tucked away in the AL West for over a decade. Now, he's exposed to some fresh lineups, including a handful of clubs that will have nothing to play for by September. Plus, the intangibles (fresh start, homecoming) would seem to be on his side.
Moyer faced the National League three times this season, and smoked them each time. In starts against San Diego, San Francisco and Colorado, he lasted 7, 8 and 9 innings and didn’t allow more than two runs in any game.
The AL book on Moyer must be 10,000 pages; it’s quite an accomplishment that he’s been this effective for so long. A 4.39 ERA isn’t shabby in that league, but he’s also benefited from superb infield defense, possibly the best in the AL. Even 25 homers and .285 OBA seem acceptable when you’ve faced teams like Texas, Los Angeles and Oakland about 40 times each. Talking straight stats, there’s not a whole lot of statistical difference between Moyer and Brett Myers this season. The quality of the two defenses and home parks are really what seperate them, making Myers the better pitcher.
This deal also shines bright because Gillick has become a believer again. Perhaps he always was. Like he said, he’s “a buyer and seller,” the phrase he was crucified for saying by silly radio hosts.
Beerleaguer is feeling giddy this morning. I don't see much risk in it. Here’s a post-deadline deal for a starting pitcher who can stablize the rotation and get this team over the hump. And there's a certain beauty knowing it came straight out of left field.
More on the trade
In exchange, the Phils sent Class-A right-handers Andrew Baldwin and Andrew Barb to the Mariners. Baldwin was 8-8 with a 4.04 ERA at Single-A Clearwater. Barb, a reliever, was 6-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 18 saves at Class-A Lakewood. Neither is considered a high-ceiling prospect.
Moyer is making $5.5 million this season and needed to approve this deal because he’s a 5/10 guy. There is a mutual option on his contract for 2007. Gillick told the Philadelphia Inquirer there is a chance Moyer could be back next season, which might not be the worst idea in the world. The Phils also received cash in the deal.
More on Moyer
A native of Souderton, Moyer began his career with the Cubs in 1986. He's 211-164 with a 4.17 ERA in 563 career games for the Cubs, Rangers, Cardinals, Orioles, Red Sox and Mariners.
Moyer joined the Mariners on July 30, 1996 in a trade with Boston for outfielder Darren Bragg. He went 145-87 with a 3.97 ERA in 324 games (323 starts) with the Mariners and is the franchise leader in wins, starts and innings pitched. He is the only Seattle pitcher to win 20 or more games more than once. It took him until age 40 to make his first All-Star game.