Sunday, August 20, 2006

Moyer Dealt

I remember it like it was yesterday. Trade Deadline in 96, the Mariners desperately trying to run down the Texas Rangers in the AL West. The Unit and Bosio were hurt, Bob Wells sucked and the M's were giving starts to Bob Milacki, Paul Menhart and Salomon Torres.

They made two moves that suumer, moving Desi Relaford to the Phillies for Terry Mullholland and Darren Bragg to the Red Sox for Jamie Moyer. I didn't follow a lot of advanced stats in those days, but I knew enough to know that Moyer's 7-1 record wasn't as impressive as it sounded, since it went with a 4.50 ERA (plus I really liked Darren Bragg).

Still Moyer pitched great down the stretch for the 96 M's, 6-2 with a 3.31 ERA. It wasn't good enough to catch Texas but, the rest, as they say, is history. Jamie's won more games in a Mariner uniform than any other pitcher, he is one of only two guys to win 20 games in a season for the M's, and he is the Mariner's leader in starts and innings pitched.

I thought he was done in 2000 (13-10, with a 5.49 ERA) and again in 2004 (7-13, 5.21 ERA) but he bounced back every time. I suppose he's been only average for the last couple of seasons, but there was something comforting seeing him out there on the hill.

And in an age where it seems like 75% of pitchers have the same repetoire of Fastball/Slider/Change, where you can count the knuckleballers on one hand and the side-armers on another, a well pitched Moyer game was a thing of beauty. A fastball in the 70s and change-up after change-up after change-up. Watching guys swing and miss three times in a row at the same pitch, all change-ups was simply marvelous to behold.

Why did Jamie accept a trade this year, when he wouldn't last year? He's from PA, so I imagine that had something to do with it, but part of it has to be that he sees this team going nowhere. They've clearly given up on Grover and it seems like that would be tough for Jamie to watch day after day. Although he certainly could still resign here in the offseason, I have to imagine he looks at next years Mariners and doesn't see much hope.

I like the trade, picking up two live arms for a 43 year old starter is certainly the right move for the M's, but if Jamie can't see things getting any better here next year, how in the hell are we supposed to?


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