Jamie Moyer, At Last, Retires

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The former Cub/Red Sox/Cardinal/Oriole/Ranger/Mariner/Phillie/Rockie has a new job.

There hasn't been any formal retirement announcement from Jamie Moyer, but the former big leaguer is getting into broadcasting, with the Phillies:

Comcast SportsNet will announce Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs have joined its Phillies broadcast team as early as tomorrow.

Sources said today contracts are nearly finalized. Sources told MLB.com last week the network had begun negotiations with the pair as replacements for Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews, whom the network declined to bring back as part of its recently negotiated 25-year contract with the Phillies.

Moyer, who has worked with ESPN, interviewed three weeks ago. Stairs, who has worked with NESN, interviewed two weeks ago. Comcast originally intended to hire just one broadcaster, but both impressed during auditions.

If you've heard Gary Matthews on the air... well, let's just charitably say that Moyer should be an improvement.

Moyer last pitched in the major leagues with the Rockies in 2012 after sitting out a year from Tommy John surgery -- at age 48! Moyer pitched reasonably well for Colorado in 10 starts. No, really, there were worse big-league pitchers in 2012 (34 pitchers made as many starts as Moyer with a worse ERA+ than Moyer's 82), but no one came calling for 2013 even though Moyer had expressed a desire to pitch at age 50. Seriously, at the end of 2012, he'd likely have been a far better choice for the Cubs for their trade-decimated rotation than Justin Germano or Jason Berken; it would have put a neat little bookend on his baseball-playing life and maybe he could have helped the younger pitchers.

Which brings me to Moyer's remarkable career. You surely know the story: The Cubs had brought him back on a minor-league deal during spring training 1992, and he hadn't pitched well enough to make the big-league team. They asked him if he wanted a coaching job -- he wasn't quite 30 -- and Moyer replied that he still thought he could pitch.

Chalk that up to another huge Larry Himes mistake. Moyer eventually signed with the Tigers and pitched much of 1992 in Triple-A for them, then went to the Orioles and had a fine 1993 season -- a year the Cubs surely could have used after Greg Maddux departed. The photo at the top of this post is from spring training 1992, the last time Moyer appeared in a Cubs uniform.

Moyer was never a dominant pitcher. He made just one All-Star team and got Cy Young votes in just three seasons. Nevertheless, he pitched effectively well into his 40s and had a very, very good season for the Phillies in 2008 -- at age 45! -- that was a significant factor in the Phillies' World Series title year.

He holds just one career record -- most home runs allowed, 522. The old saying, "You have to be good to do that," certainly applies here. Of the rest of the top 10 in that category, all are in the Hall of Fame except Tim Wakefield. Moyer's 4,074 innings are the fifth-most of any player who debuted in 1986 (his first year) or later, and though he wasn't a strikeout pitcher, his 2,441 rank 13th in that timespan, and you can't discount winning 269 career games.

I'd give him a Hall of Fame vote for sticking around that long and contributing to several playoff teams, despite what even he would likely admit was modest talent.

It's a shame Larry Himes didn't think Moyer could still pitch in 1992. Iowa's rotation that year consisted of Steve Adkins, Jeff Hartsock, John Salles, Bob Sebra, John Gardner and a motley miscellaneous collection of guys you've never heard of. Moyer would have been the best pitcher on the staff, and the Cubs could have used him during the rest of the 1990s, not to mention the 2000s.

Among Moyer's teammates his rookie year was Davey Lopes, who debuted in 1972 and who will turn 69 years old in May. Among Moyer's teammates in his final big-league season was 22-year-old Drew Pomeranz, who still has talent and might stick around for a while. That's three generations' worth of players who have played with Moyer, who, according to baseball-reference's "oracle", had 654 different teammates.

Best of luck to Jamie Moyer in his new career (and congratulations, too, to Matt Stairs, another former Cub who could have helped the team far past his one year in blue pinstripes). If only his last one could have had more time in a Cubs uniform.

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