With the glory years clearly in the rearview mirror, I will take the next couple of weeks to review the major transactions that lead up to the best period in Philadelphia Phillies history and how it impacts the team today and going forward. You can see the last three installments here, here and here.
Today’s focus: On Aug. 19, 2006, the Phillies traded minor league pitchers Andrew Barb and Andrew Baldwin to the Seattle Mariners for Jamie Moyer.
Background: Surprisingly, after trading away Bobby Abreu in late July, the Phillies actually improved and climbed into wild card contention. In an effort to bolster their rotation heading into the stretch run, GM Pat Gillick sent two minor league pitchers to the Mariners for 44-year-old local hero Jamie Moyer.
Evaluation for Mariners: The Mariners were in the midst of yet another forgettable season in the middle of the aughts. It is unsurprising that they put Moyer, one of their tradable assets, on the waiver wire. In return, the Mariners received Barb and Baldwin, two minor league pitchers that did not even register on the Phillies’ top prospect list. Barb never made it above Low-A. Baldwin spent both the entire 2008 and 2009 season at Triple-A, having some notable performances. However, he never made it to the big league club. Considering the Mariners lost over 100 games in 2008 and Baldwin still wasn’t considered good enough to get called up in either that or the following year, it is unsurprising that he is now also out of baseball.
Evaluation for Phillies: Moyer seamlessly joined the core of the Phillies as they began their road to the baseball mountaintop. Despite only being able to throw an 81 mph fastball, his location was Maddux-esque while with the Phils and he performed admirably, setting a host of age records during his tenure.
Moyer was a vital cog to the team’s 2007 division champion rotation, as well as their No. 3 starter on the 2008 World Series winning playoff roster. Notably, he pitched 6 1/3 innings in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, giving up only three runs while suffering through a severe stomach virus. He continued to defy the odds and pitched effectively through the following two seasons before undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2010 season. He amazingly made a comeback with the Colorado Rockies in 2012, but has since retired.
Who Won?: This is a clear win for the Phillies. The team basically gave up nothing for a pitcher that became a vital piece of their glory years. Moyer locked down a spot in their rotation for the remainder of 2006, the entirety of the 2008 and 2009 World Series rotations and part of 2010 as well. He may not have been an All-Star, but for the amount of money he was being paid and the amount of good will he helped bring to the team as a native of Souderton, this was an absolute steal for the team.
What If They Didn’t Trade For Moyer?: After losing Cory Lidle to the New York Yankees in the Abreu trade that July, the Phillies decided they needed to fill that spot in the rotation with an established veteran to make a run at the last wild card spot. Behind Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson. Without the addition of Moyer, the team would have likely had to resort to underwhelming prospects like Eude Brito, Fabio Castro or Scott Mathieson.
While Moyer didn’t quite make the difference as far as helping the team reach the playoffs in 2006, they would have finished much further off in the short term. Long term wise, Moyer was critical to the team’s playoff run that began the following season. Considering the team added a starting pitcher every year between 2007 and 2010, the lack of a pitcher with Moyer’s consistency would have increased that demand and had significant consequences on the team, putting their playoff run into question. Additionally, it would have forced the Phillies to make more trades to fill their roster, costing the team more and more prospects and putting the current team into more peril than it is already in.
The Jamie Moyer trade was unheralded when it happened, but had long-ranging effects on both the Golden Age and the current team.
What’s Next? Freddy Garcia