The Colorado Rockies designated LHP Jamie Moyer, the all-time wins leader in Seattle Mariners history, for assignment Wednesday, a move that likely ends the 49-year-old Moyer’s major league career. Colorado’s move came six weeks after Moyer became the oldest starting pitcher in major league history to win a game.
Moyer said in a news conference Wednesday that he still hopes to continue his major league career, but that he has no immediate prospects for pitching for another major league team. As with all “designated for assignment” transactions, the Rockies have 10 days to trade Moyer or release him.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s part of the business,” Moyer told The Associated Press. “I enjoyed my time in Denver. “Unfortunately I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain. That’s what happens in the game.”
After missing all of the 2011 season while recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, Moyer signed with the Rockies and made the team with an impressive spring training. He became the oldest pitcher to win as a starter April 17, when he led the Rockies to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres.
Moyer picked up his second win a month after his milestone victory, allowing one earned run and six hits in 6.1 innings in the Rockies’ 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks May 16. But Moyer had struggled recently. He was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts.
In his last start at Cincinnati Sunday, Moyer was unable to hold a 5-0 lead and took the loss in a 7-5 Rockies’ setback. He went five innings and gave up seven hits and seven runs.
“It is all about putting up results, individually and as a team,” Moyer said. “When you don’t do that, obviously management has to just step back and reevaluate things and their choices are their decisions.”
Over the course of his 24-year career, Moyer has gone 269-209 with a 4.25 ERA while playing for eight big league teams. Moyer also pitched for Philadelphia (2010-2006), Seattle (2006-1997), Boston (1996), Baltimore (1995-1993), St. Louis (1991), Texas (1990-1989) and the Chicago Cubs (1988-86).
The Mariners acquired Moyer July 30, 1996, in a trade with Boston, in which Seattle sent OF Darren Bragg to the Red Sox. A year later, the Mariners had a choice to make: retain Moyer or pitcher Terry Mulholland. They opted for Moyer, and it turned out to be one of the most astute moves in franchise history.
From 1997-06, Moyer became a fixture in Seattle’s starting rotation, eventually winning 145 games, most by a pitcher in Mariners history. He became a 20-game winner (20-6) in 2001, when the Mariners won an AL-record 116 games, and won 21 more in 2003 (21-7), when he made the American League All-Star team for the first time at the age of 40 (third-oldest first-time All-Star).
When Moyer departed Seattle in 2006 in a trade that sent him to Philadelphia, he ranked No. 1 in franchise history in wins (145). He still ranks No. 1 in starts (323), innings pitched (2,093), third in strikeouts (1,239), third in winning percentage (.625) and 4th in games (324).
Moyer also made substantial community contributions in Seattle after founding the Jamie Moyer Foundation.
Moyer won numerous awards for philanthropy and community service, including the 2003 Roberto Clemente Award, the 2003 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, the 2003 Hutch Award, and the 2004 Branch Rickey Award.
Moyer is also one of only 29 players in baseball history to have appeared in major league games in four decades.