Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News writes today that Jamie Moyer is “entering the Hall of Fame conversation.” The case is not a surprising one: wins and age. He’s lasted forever and thus he’s starting to get near big names in the win column, Barkowitz basically says, so that makes him a legitimate contender for Cooperstown.
I don’t think Moyer is a Hall of Famer (more below) but I actually think Berkowtiz’s wins rationale does Moyer’s case a bit of a disservice. Moyer’s famous longevity has done more than merely produce wins for himself. Longevity and durability is a value to a team in and of itself in that, the more often and more regularly he takes the hill, the better off the team is in terms of resource allocation and all of that kind of stuff. I’m not a stat guy so I won’t risk mangling the statistical case, but know that Moyer’s longevity has provided an aggregate value to his employers that isn’t fully captured by merely reciting his win totals.
But no, I still don’t think it’s enough value to be considered a Hall of Famer. Maybe I’d consider using my (imaginary) vote for him if he did something truly unique like hung around until he was 50 and got his 300th win (at some point sentimentality and round numbers do affect me), but Moyer is really just the ultimate longevity-guy, and I don’t think I could ever vote for someone who never had even a short Hall of Fame peak.
I think that’s ultimately where the BBWAA will come down too. He’ll get some votes as thanks for being a good guy and a nice story, but he won’t get serious consideration. Which isn’t to say he hasn’t been a heck of a pitcher — he has — just that he hasn’t really made himself worthy of enshrinement among the elites.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.