The guy in the picture below is not a manager or a coach. He’s vying to start for the two-time defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies. These days, age is the first thing that most people think of when they hear Jamie Moyer’s name. That’s a compliment.
At 47 years-old and 25 years into his professional career, Moyer pitched 162 innings and won 12 games for Philadelphia in 2009. And while his innings are down and his ERA up from his peak seasons, Moyer can still be effective on the mound and as a mentor to the team’s young pitchers.
As we near the season, we will learn more about Moyer’s role with the team – whether he has a spot in the starting rotation or not. No matter what that role is, what Moyer is doing – now at 47 years-old – is remarkable.
Jamie Moyer joined Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York to discuss the secret to his longevity, current treatment of starting pitchers, his role with the Phillies this season, Roy Halladay and when he will know it’s enough.
On the secret to his longevity:
“Good health. Good genes. And the desire to play. I still have the desire to play. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career, but I’ve enjoyed it and I wouldn’t want it any other way… It’s a matter of being smart and listening to your body. If you really listen, your body can send you some really good messages and it can send you some bad messages.”
On if pitchers today are “babied:”
“Yeah in today’s game I think – obviously there is more money involved and stuff like that – but it’s a mentality. At this point we are trained to throw 100-105 pitches a game and they take you out and put in middle relief and then they go to the setup guy and then they go to the closer. I think at times organizations try to justify all the money they spent on their prospects and their bullpens. I feel like starting pitchers have the opportunity to eat up a lot of innings and there are a lot of innings to be played in the season. Then, if you put those meaningless innings on your bullpen, when you need them when it comes to close situations or tight situations, they might not be as sharp. My feeling is that you put the brunt of it on your starting rotation and you try to keep your bullpen as sharp and as fresh as you can. It’s a long season… Guys get hurt whether they’re throwing 105 pitches a game or 135 or 140 pitches a game. I think it’s just a matter of clubs justifying giving some of these young guys (money).”
On his role with the Phillies this season:
“I want to come here and get my feet under me. I am going to start tomorrow in a B game (Editor’s note: Since the interview took place, he pitched 3 scoreless innings in that game) and let the people make decisions make decisions. I came into camp thinking that I have started my whole career, so why not come here and think that way? If their choices are different, then we’ll deal whatever those choices are. I think the proper way, the appropriate way is to come to camp, get healthy and get ready to play. Let the people who make decisions make decisions and hopefully we can put forth another effort like we did last year and get back to the World Series… I signed a contract and it’s my responsibility to come here and to do my best and to give my all. I want to honor that, just like they are honoring my contract. Beyond that, if I play this year, next year. Beyond that, I have no idea, but I am going to enjoy every last moment of it.”
On playing for the Phillies:
“I really enjoy this atmosphere, this environment and my teammates. It’s very workmanlike in our clubhouse. They’re professional. Throughout most of my career, I have been on a lot of losing ball clubs, so you really I think appreciate the winning. For us at this level, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about making the best friends, or being .500 or making money; it’s all about winning. So winning in Philadelphia – I grew up outside of Philadelphia – is pretty special to me. In 1980, I went to the World Series parade as a high school student skipping school and two years ago I was able to ride one of those floats down Broad Street and it was very exciting.”
On Roy Halladay:
“He’s going to be a huge addition to our ball club. It’s unfortunate we lost a guy like Cliff Lee. But, if you are going to lose a guy like Cliff Lee, I don’t think you’re going to replace him with too many better pitchers in the prime of their careers. You’re right. Roy is a workhorse, not only on the pitcher’s mound but in the weight room. And he brings an attitude with him that is going to help our pitching staff; it’s going to help our ball club and hopefully help solidify our rotation… I’ve always appreciated watching Roy from afar, when I was in the American League when he was with Toronto and I was with Seattle. It’s really interesting the last two years, I have had the good fortune of now playing with Roy and last year playing with Cliff Lee. I always used to say when I was in Seattle that there were two pitchers that I would pay to see and it was both of those guys.”
And on how he will know “it’s enough:”
“It’s a challenge each and every day, but I enjoy that and I accept that challenge. At some point, maybe the hitters will tell me that it’s time go. But at this point I don’t think they have.”