Last Thursday, Jamie Moyer made his debut for Triple-A Las Vegas and he notched a win. Wins are huge, especially in Las Vegas, but let’s be honest. Moyer’s trip to the shadow of the “Strip” is a gamble for both the elder statesman of active baseballers and the Toronto Blue Jays.
At age 49, Moyer is still chasing the dream; the same one being chased by guys in his very own clubhouse…guys who odds-on may have father younger than Moyer. We all know the story…at 49 years old, he made the miraculous comeback from Tommy John surgery to become the oldest pitcher to ever win a game in the majors. But the Rockies released him in May, then in June he requested his release from the Orioles system after they declined to call him up after three starts for Triple-A Norfolk.
Now, we may be at the end of the “Viva Las Vegas” chapter of the on-going Moyer saga. Moyer signed with the Blue Jays, and was subsequently assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas for what was essentially a two-game tryout to see if he can help the MASH unit formerly known as the Blue Jays’ injury-riddled rotation.
Thursday, Moyer notched his second career Pacific Coast League win and oddly enough, they both took place at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. His first was a rehab start for the Seattle Mariners in 1997, and his second was last Thursday. While Moyer got the win, he wasn’t exactly what you would call “dominant,” allowing three runs over five innings. But he was also never really in trouble, and he kept his team in the game during his time on the mound.
But in his second hand at the Vegas pitching table, the cards were not so kind. Last night, Moyer was shelled for seven runs over six innings, and he took a 7-3 loss at Reno.
Now, after the two-game “try-out,” the Blue Jays have a decision to make. On one hand, Moyer is a veteran who has shown flashes of being an effective major-league pitcher during this tumultuous up-and-down season, and as previously mentioned, the Blue Jays staff looks like Omaha Beach the day after D-Day. On the other, they could cut a guy loose who has surrendered ten runs in his eight innings as a Vegas 51, and seven in his last two. Granted Moyer started strong, but he definitely dropped off in his last two innings last night, when Cole Gillespie’s three-run shot highlighted a four-run fifth, and Jake Elmore’s two-run single capped a three-run sixth.
Moyer has pitched in 696 major league games and 113 minor league games, but so far only three of those have been in the Pacific Coast League games. The question is will Moyer rack up any more PCL time, is he headed north of the border, or will the Moyer saga be opening at a minor-league park near you? Moyer has a total of 56 minor league wins. When Moyer was a minor leaguer coming up through the Chicago Cubs system, he played for Geneva and Pittsfield. Both teams no longer exist. Moyer reached the Triple-A Iowa Cubs in 1986. They still exist, albeit now in the Pacific Coast League as the American Association disbanded in 1998. The rest of Moyer’s minor league time came in the International League; at Rochester, Louisville, Toledo, and most recently at Norfolk.
The next question? Is there a pitching-desperate team out there who will grab up Moyer if Toronto sends him on his way? Minnesota…I’m looking at you…(wink, nudge). Let’s face it…I need the source of material.
Your Obilgatory Jamie Moyer Is Old Fact: In last night’s game, Moyer was older than both managers and all three umpires, and was 13 years older than his oldest teammate, infielder Chris Woodward.