|With a win, Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest to record a W.|
Moyer's presence in Rockies camp has made for more than a few jokes around baseball. The Baseball Tonight crew on ESPN routinely talks about Moyer and his quest to make the team. Jokes from fans are prevalent when the 49-year old takes the mound.
Many baseball writers have been eager for the Rockies to announce the move, simply because it gives them something to write about. If and when Moyer picks up his first win in a Rockies uniform, he will become the oldest pitcher to ever record a victory at the Major League level.
The reality is, he will probably set an unofficial record for most wins by a guy who only dreamed of touching 90 MPH on his fastball.
As good of a story as Jamie Moyer sounds to a writer, it doesn't take long to get a Rockies fan fired up about the decision.
To many, the move is indicative of a front office that is perfectly fine with slapping their fans in the face by putting what seems to be a joke of a team onto the field. The comments are unavoidable. Skeptics of the Rockies front office are quick to point out that a team that prided itself in building from within is suddenly shoe-horning a guy into the starting rotation the threw his first big league pitch during the Reagan presidency.
That criticism is understandable. As painful as the 2011 season was for Rockies fans to watch, the hardest part may have been the realization that the farm system--once the crown jewel of the Colorado Rockies--was a mirage. All the talent that was said to be there suddenly was nowhere to be found.
So now, Rockies fans see the team signing a 49-year old veteran and they think that they are going to have to live through another season like they did in the early 2000's when a guy like Brian Bohanon was starting every fifth day.
Fans, however, shouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions.
Moyer will not be an ace. He won't be a guy the Rockies can rely on to shut down another team. He won't be a guy who can eat innings. Yet, he will bring an incredible value to the Rockies. Despite being scheduled to start the Rockies second game of the season, he is not their second starter, he is their fifth starter. It simply works out best for him to pitch the second game of the season because a fifth starter won't be necessary until April 15th. Due to an off-day, the four starting pitchers will be able to start on normal rest and allow an extra bullpen arm to make the squad.
The Rockies, with all of their young talent on the mound, need someone who knows how to pitch. They need someone who is not a hard-thrower who can rely on mid-90's fastballs to get him out of a jam. They need a guy who knows how to pitch, not a guy who knows how to throw. Moyer is that guy.
Moyer, someone who fits the bill of a future pitching coach, can be a mentor to young pitchers like Jhoulys Chacin, who all too often find themselves looking for strikeouts when they simply need outs. He can teach them how to be a pitcher, rather than a guy who throws hard and has a good slider.
It doesn't matter if it took him 24 seasons to do it, a guy who has 267 career wins, as Moyer does, and has never thrown a fastball 90 MPH knows how to pitch. He knows that he needs to live in the bottom half of the strike zone and he knows that he needs to throw strikes.
People talk about the Rockies being so desperate for pitching that they signed such an old veteran, one coming off of Tommy John surgery, no less. However, it doesn't take long to realize that this isn't a headline-grabber. This isn't a ploy for the Rockies to get attention. The club believes that Moyer has enough to win ball games.
There is no reason to sign Moyer unless the club thinks he can help them. Former Rockie Aaron Cook, someone the Rockies easily could have signed to a smaller deal, is battling it out for a spot in the Red Sox rotation. He might be somewhat of a long-shot, but the fact that he is in consideration shows that Moyer belongs. Cook is the Rockies all-time wins leader, a respected member of the clubhouse, and a good guy. The Rockies chose to sign Moyer and not re-sign Cook, and Cook is still good enough to be in consideration for a rotation that every baseball expert would say is far superior to the Rockies.
It may be easy to write off the move as a crazy one for the Rockies. It simply isn't. In fact, it may turn out to be one of Dan O'Dowd's most savvy moves if Moyer records anywhere around the 10 win mark.
It is a risky move for the Rockies. One that has the potential to be embarrassing if things don't work out. However, they believe that Moyer helps them to be a better baseball team. Many fans haven't bought into it yet. But they will. When they see Moyer help the Rockies win, they will understand that it was a good move.
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