The next 300-game winner? How about Jamie Moyer?

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When Tom Glavine won his 300th game in 2007 dozens of short-sighted columnists wrote about how he’d be “the last 300-game winner.” He wasn’t, of course. In fact, less than two years later Randy Johnson won his 300th, which resulted in even more columns claiming he’d be the last to join the club.
One of my many pet peeves is the increasing tendency to say something is either “the greatest thing ever” or “the last thing ever” because usually neither is true. In the case of 300 wins it’s silly to think no one will ever accomplish that feat again when multiple pitchers who began their careers in the 1980s–with the same five-man rotations and similar workloads–have done so. As they say, ever is a really long time.
Glavine joined the club in 2007, followed by Johnson in 2009, and before that it was Greg Maddux in 2004 and Roger Clemens in 2003. There will be more 300-game winners, but it may take a while because Jamie Moyer is the only active pitcher with as many as 240 wins. Or maybe Moyer can actually become the next 300-game winner. He tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Blue Jays yesterday for his 267th victory.
Obviously at age 47 even 33 more wins is a lot to ask for, but Moyer probably has a better chance than most people seem to believe. Which is basically to say he has some chance. Moyer is 9-6 with a 4.30 ERA this season and we’re not quite at the halfway point, so he looks capable of another 6-8 wins in the second half. That would leave him about 25 wins short of 300.
He’s not under contract for next season and that hurts, because 47-year-olds can collapse in a hurry and we’ve seen several elderly stars go unsigned in recent years. However, if Moyer finishes this year with 15 wins and a sub-4.50 ERA presumably the Phillies would welcome him back on a one-year deal that could get him into the 285-290 range heading into 2012.
At that point he’d be 49 years old and Moyer isn’t exactly dominant enough that he can stand to see his skills decline much more and remain effective, but once a pitcher gets into the “countdown” range of 285-290 wins they usually stick around long enough to reach 300. In fact, only five pitchers since 1900 have more than 275 wins but fewer than 300 wins. Moyer as a 300-game winner? It’s not as crazy as you might think.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.