No Moyer Mr. Nice Guy

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No Moyer Mr. Nice Guy

After Wednesday’s start against the Cubs, it seems that Pedro Martinez does indeed have something left in the tank. That probably means that Jamie Moyer’s long career as a starter has come to an abrupt end.

Though Pedro’s numbers (3 runs on 7 hits through 5) were hardly brilliant, he only got into serious trouble in the last of his 5 innings.  He was not expected to be at full strength quite yet, so it wasn’t surprising that he got sloppy when his pitch count neared 100.

The wind was blowing out, and the few mistakes Martinez did make can be attributed to the huge early lead. Even the fastball looked great, topping out around 92 mph. All Jamie Moyer could do was watch silently and seethe.

Moyer’s frustration is understandable. Taking his frustration to the press behind the Phillies dugout before Tuesday’s game surely was not.

Last winter, fresh off their first Championship in a very long time, the Phillies re-signed Jamie Moyer. Jamie was a fan favorite who had a major role in Philadelphia’s recent string of successful seasons. Put simply, Moyer had a knife to the back of the Phillies front office. Failing to re-sign Moyer would have been a PR nightmare, so Moyer used that leverage to get a fat contract he didn’t deserve.

Now he has gone to the press with the tired “Promises were made” garbage. Two years and $13-million for an inconsistent 46 year old pitcher is highway robbery in itself, but it appears that Moyer expected even more goodwill from Philadelphia.

During the impromptu press conference, Moyer talked about respect. Apparently, a journeyman fossil deserves more than a 3-time Cy Young winner.

I don’t care how nice your story is, the best players play. Moyer might be a great guy, but if he thinks he is entitled to a spot in the starting rotation, he is sorely mistaken. The 2009 Phillies are in great position to win back-to-back World Series. Why should they severely hurt those chances to appease an overpaid crybaby?

Whether you like Moyer or not, there was no acceptable alternative. The Phillies signed Pedro as a starter, the least they can do is give him and his $1-million contract a fair shot. Hamels and Lee are obviously untouchable. Blanton eats up innings and consistently keeps the Phils in games. It also helps that his ERA is hovering around four, while Moyer’s is approaching six.

There was talk of sending Happ back to the pen to make room. Happ started the season there, and the bullpen has been downright awful since he left. Then he turned in a complete game, 4 hit shutout against the Rockies, and reminded Philadelphia just how talented a young starter he was.

A six-man rotation was another possible solution, but it makes little sense. The Phils are rolling right now, and going to six starters would only throw off their rhythm. Besides, if someone else in the East closes down the stretch, it would be unconscionable to take a start away from a Lee or a Hamels or a Happ and give it to Moyer.

In the end, the only thing the Phillies could do was send Moyer to the bullpen. It might not be all bad. Moyer has superb command, and he isn’t easy to run on.  And the Phils have already been successful this season turning a awful starter into a effective reliever(Chan Ho Park). Reinforcements are coming, in the form of J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, and possibly Brett Myers. Moyer may be just what the doctor ordered as the pen waits to heal.

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