It’s nice that the Phillies have Jamie Moyer back on board. It’s nice that he’ll be there to help the pitchers acclimate. It’s nice that the veteran presence can offer some solace in times of need.
But “nice” isn’t the best feeling.
Let me put it this way: For 2009, it’s good that Jamie Moyer is in the rotation. He’ll slot into the No. 4 spot, most likely, and hopefully put up numbers close to — oh, 13-11 … 4.30 ERA. Something like that. That’s a good feeling, that he’ll be out there, doing his thing, slinging his 80 mph fastballs and 75 mph changeups to green hitters. But I’m looking a tad ahead — to 2010. I’d very much prefer it, and I say this with all respect to Moyer, that the old man is not in the starting rotation in 2010.
Why? Because if he is, that means it’s very possible Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick and JA Happ all failed. Or they were traded. Or the Phillies didn’t quite upgrade the rotation. Sure, Brett Myers and Joe Blanton can improve, but at the back end, I’d like a surge of young arms, not a stale stand-still of old arms.
You see, Moyer can only do so much. He doesn’t have the stuff to win awards, nor does he have the stuff to dominate at the top of a rotation. While he can sometimes hold the fort near the top, he’s not ripped enough to claim an ace job anymore. At best, he’s the crafty wild card at the end of the rotation, maybe in the middle of the bullpen. But Moyer won’t always be at best.
Instead, you can have a maturing, growing back end of Carlos Carrasco — the gun-slinging Venezuelan with fine breaking stuff to match a sizzling No. 1 — and JA Happ — the younger, more wildly varied version of Moyer — taking opposing teams into the eighth inning. You can have unknown quotients dominating teams. You can have promise.
That’s what I hope for 2010 — that when the luster of the 2008 World Series victory has worn off, and the turning in our stomachs begins to grow, the Phillies are moving to the future and seizing youth. … At least on the pitching staff.
Of course, that means the question is: What would Moyer do in 2010?