In the wake of yet another injury to a starting pitcher Monday, the Blue Jays have signed 49-year-old Jamie Moyer to a minor league contract.
Moyer requested and received his release from the Orioles last week after going 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Norfolk. He was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA before being let go by the Rockies last month. The Blue Jays will send him to Las Vegas for now, though what exactly he has to prove there is anyone’s guess.
The Jays are very shorthanded in the rotation with Brandon Morrow, Kule Drabek and Drew Hutchinson all on the DL, and Henderson Alvarez left Monday’s game against the Red Sox with a sore elbow. If Moyer isn’t of use immediately, he probably won’t look any better in a week or two.
So, it might be that the minor league deal is just a technicality and that he’ll be added to the roster to start this weekend. There isn’t any other reason to have him around.
In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.
“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.
Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.