After three starts for Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles may be coming to a point where they have to make a decision about 49-year-old lefty Jamie Moyer and whether they will add him to the rotation.
Moyer is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA for the Tides and Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin has been impressed. Griffin was a guest on my radio show, "Baltimore Baseball Tonight," on 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore last night.
"First of all you, take into account a veteran of 20-plus years in the majors leagues," Griffin said. "He knows what he wants to accomplish out there. He changes speeds and mixes and matches to keep hitters off balance and these hitters down here can't sit on a certain pitch. They have to look for one of four pitches that could come at any time and he disrupts their timing so well."
Moyer's third Norfolk start was last night and he pitched just four innings giving up three hits and one run over 77 pitches against Buffalo. Moyer did not walk a batter and fanned four. Why did he leave the game after just four innings?
"We were just watching him and his pitch count tonight (last night)," Griffin said. "Nothing wrong whatsoever, it was just a pitch count to not overextend him and everything is fine."
Griffin is aware that some may speculate Moyer came out early because his next start could be for the Orioles.
"That's not our decision down here. We kind of leave that alone," he said.
Moyer was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA with Colorado before the Rockies released him. In three Norfolk outings, he has pitched 16 innings giving up 11 hits and three earned runs. He has not walked a batter, fanned 16 and has a .180 batting average against.
But can he still get big league hitters out?
"The fire is definitely still burning in him. He's a fierce competitor and it's still there. You know what? You never know. In three starts here, all I can tell you is I see a pitcher that changes speeds well, keeps hitters off balance and showed command of four pitches," Griffin said.
According to FanGraphs PITCHF/x, Moyer's average fastball velocity with the Rockies this year was just 77.4 mph.
"It's been sitting in that general area, maybe a little higher at times," Griffin said of Moyer's velocity with Norfolk. "But it goes back to how Jamie pitches. He pitches with four different pitches at four different speeds and can use them in any count at any time. I've seen swings here to indicate he's changing speeds well."
Whether Moyer makes it to Baltimore or not, Griffin said he has had a profound impact on the Tides' players and staff in the short time he has been there.
"It's totally amazing. Here is a guy whose work ethic is outstanding. He's still a guy in great shape and his competitiveness is still there. For me, it's been a breath of fresh air," Griffin said.
"Our staff is looking at a guy at 49 and saying, 'Wow, look what he's doing.' He has somewhat of a crowd when he throw his sides (bullpen side sessions) because everybody wants to learn. Our staff has taken notice and learned some things from him and his work ethic. He's a class act and tremendous individual."
What is your take: Do you think Moyer is Baltimore-bound? Does he still have enough left to help the Orioles? Should they call him up to the majors now?