Jamie Moyer officially became a free agent yesterday and Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the Phillies are “highly unlikely” to re-sign the 48-year-old left-hander.
Philadelphia hastened Moyer’s arrival on the open market by placing him on waivers in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster immediately and the 267-game winner is expected to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic in an effort to drum up some interest for 2011.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated that the Phillies might be open to bringing Moyer back on a non-guaranteed minor league contract, but told Zolecki that’s likely where their interest would end:
I don’t know if Jamie would accept anything like that, but we haven’t had any discussions about it. I think more than anything else there are some questions about his health. Obviously his age is a factor. But we have to consider our starting pitching depth and see whether or not bringing Jamie back is the right thing for us.
Even without making any changes to the rotation the Phillies could enter 2011 with a starting five of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and Kyle Kendrick, so they may not have room for Moyer even if he looks healthy this winter.
Acquired from the Mariners in mid-2006 and later re-signed to a pair of two-year contracts, Moyer went 56-40 with a 4.55 ERA in 721 innings spread over four-and-a-half seasons in Philadelphia, which is pretty remarkable given that he was already 43 years old when he joined the team.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.