Manager Buck Showalter is convinced that 49-year-old Jamie Moyer will be pitching for a major league team in the near future.
It just won't be the Orioles.
Moyer requested and was granted his release today. He had an opt-out clause in his contract after three starts with Triple-A Norfolk, and the Orioles weren't ready to make room for him in their rotation.
Timing was one factor. The Orioles don't need a fifth starter until Saturday because they're off on Monday. However, they also understood the "challenges" that Moyer would face in the American League East with his pitches being clocked below 80 mph, and they believe that Chris Tillman and left-hander Zach Britton are ahead of him in the race to be called up.
Tillman has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, and his fastball command is much improved. He's drawing significant interest from other teams, but the Orioles also like him. And the reports on Britton were much more favorable after his most recent outing with the Tides, when he allowed two runs in six innings.
"(Moyer) pitched pretty well down there in a short look, and we're very appreciative of him giving us that opportunity to look," Showalter said. "I wouldn't think anybody would be surprised if he didn't pitch effectively for somebody.
"There's a reason why those things were put in (his contract), for him to have, rightfully, control of some things with his contract. We've been talking about it for three days. Just felt like, all things considered... we also felt like with some things that are going on with our organization's pitchers, guys we felt like gave us the potential to have some depth there. We feel like we have some options.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see him pitching for somebody shortly. Personally, just out of respect for his career and the things he's done, I hope it happens."
Executive vice president Dan Duquette wanted Moyer to make another start with Norfolk, but the lefty wasn't interested.
"Jamie's a veteran and he certainly had a right to decide what he decided," Duquette said. "We took a look at our pitching depth, and we have a couple of left-handers in the rotation, and we also have Dana Eveland and we have Zach Britton. And Chris Tillman is coming along. We have some other options internally for starting pitching. We just decided as an organization we were going to go with the other pitchers here, and we also have some depth in starting pitching in Triple-A.
"We tried to explain the timing of the two off-days to Jamie and his rep, but I understand Jamie's urgency. He wants to win as many major league games as he can."
Duquette said he doesn't have any plans to bring up Tillman or Britton to make a start next week.
I'll have more from Duquette in my next entry.
Norfolk reliever J.C. Romero also has an opt-out clause in his contract, and the Orioles must make a decision on the left-hander by the All-Star break. Romero hasn't allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings. He's permitted three hits, walked two and struck out 11.
Romero was placed on the temporary inactive list after leaving the Tides to attend to personal issues, according to Duquette.
Third baseman Miguel Tejada doesn't have any sort of deadline included in his contract with Norfolk.
The starters for the first two games of the Angels series that begins on Tuesday are listed as TBA, but Showalter said Jason Hammel will work on normal rest, which lines up the right-hander for Wednesday night's assignment. Wei-Yin Chen also could work on regular rest following tonight's start against the Nationals, which would return him to the mound on Thursday.
Showalter said Tommy Hunter is available out of the bullpen for the next few days if he's needed.
Eveland told me earlier today that he's not sure when he'll leave the team to be with his wife for the birth of their second son. She's due on Tuesday, and he's got his cell phone ringer cranked as loud as it will go.
Eveland wants to get back with the team as quickly as possible - he can be gone a maximum of three days - and he's curious how the Orioles will make room for reliever Matt Lindstrom, who's expected to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. Lindstrom could take Eveland's spot while the left-hander is in California, but that would only be a temporary solution to the roster crunch.
Lindstrom allowed three runs (one earned) and threw 32 pitches in 1 1/3 innings last night at Double-A Bowie, but one of the three hits was a swinging bunt, and he was victimized by a Buck Britton error. He also was nailed on the foot by a sharp grounder, but didn't sustain an injury.
For the Nationals:
Danny Espinosa 2B
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse DH
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Tyler Moore LF
Xavier Nady RF
Jesus Flores C
Edwin Jackson RHP