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Phillies Re-Sign Jamie Moyer

To a two-year, $13 million deal. I actually thought Moyer's last contract, a two-year deal worth $10.5 million, was a bad risk at the time because of Moyer's age, but obviously that contract turned out to be a bargain. Moyer is 46 and he could, of course, suddenly be completely ineffective at any time, but since he doesn't rely heavily on stuff, he could also keep going without missing a beat.

Just for fun, I looked at Moyer's Baseball Reference page, to see his list of "Similar PItchers Through Age 45," which I put in quotes because the idea of a list of pitchers who are similar to Moyer is pretty funny. At the top of the list is Tommy John, who finally lost it in his age-46 season. Fifth on the list is Charlie Hough, a knuckleballer who was mostly ineffective in his final season, also at age 46. Sixth is Phil Niekro, another knuckler, who was decent at ages 46 and 47 and was still playing at age 48. Then there's Nolan Ryan, who wasn't great in his final season at age 46. The rest of the players on the list aren't modern players, and the last three are guys who did most of their pitching at younger ages and, for some reason, made cameos in their late 40s. Baseball Reference simply doesn't have anyone else to compare to Moyer.

None of the above tells us anything. The most similar pitcher to Moyer, both statistically and in terms of stuff, is John, but one data point doesn't tell us much. Anyway, $13 million seems like a very reasonable gamble on a pitcher who was as effective as Moyer was last year.

Moyer has had a funny career--it seems like he's been around forever, but aside from a league-average ERA in 202 innings with the Cubs in 1988, he hadn't accomplished much of anything by the end of the 1992 season, when he was 29. In between bursts of uninspiring pitching in the major leagues, he posted good ERAs but poor strikeout rates in Class AAA--he spent all of 1992 with the Toledo Mud Hens, for whom he had a 2.86 ERA but only 80 strikeouts in 138.7 innings. If the Pirates had signed him as a minor league free agent before the 1993 season and I'd had a blog then, I probably would have written only a sentence or two about it. And yet Moyer has won 246 games in his career.