Monday, October 23, 2006

Jamie Moyer

The Philadelphia Phillies and LHSP Jamie Moyer reached an agreement earlier today that will pay Moyer $10.5 million (plus incentives) over the next two seasons. Read all about it at Rarely has there been such an important decision made by the Phillies that has educed such a nonpartisan response out of me; it's just that it is extremely hard to evaluate this one move without knowing the context of it. We can evaluate this one move and one move only in a vacuum, but that just isn't the way baseball teams are built – there are so many other factors have not yet been decided on that will impact the relative success or failure of this move. For example:

What are Randy Wolf’s contract demands anyway? What kind of contract will a comparable pitcher (say…Tomo Ohka, a pitcher that I believe can put up similar or better numbers to Moyer in ’07) get on the open market in a few weeks? How much of an impact did cost certainty make on this signing – did the Phillies jump at the chance to have one of their two open rotation spots filled so that they have one less need to address when pursuing other players of interest (Aramis Ramirez, perhaps?)? The free agent crop of starting pitching is weak this year – this seems like a key reason behind getting a preemptive deal with Moyer finalized and out of the way, no? I don’t like the Moyer signing in a vacuum (I realize that he couldn’t have been signed without a two-year deal, but yikes – two years of guaranteed money to a guy in his mid-40s just does not seem like a good idea), but I can live with it because I am hopeful that the Phillies have a plan this offseason and this is merely the first step, however uninspiring, in their effort to carry it out.

Now if we find out that Randy Wolf would be willing to take a one year, make-good contract with the Phils for less than $7 million or so, or if Tomo Ohka (or any other of the marginal back of the rotation starters floating out there) winds up having to settle for a one year deal worth less than $3 million or so, or if the Phillies wind up going the whole offseason without adding an impact player, then this deal quickly becomes a whole heck of a lot harder to take.

I know I tried to take a positive (or at the very least neutral) position on the signing, but I must admit that this move, for lots of reasons, does not give me a good feeling heading into the offseason.


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