Phillies extend Moyer's contract

Phillies extend Moyer's contract

PHILADELPHIA -- How long will Jamie Moyer pitch?

At least through his 45th birthday, as far as the Phillies are concerned. The club signed the veteran to a two-year extension worth $10.5 million, and keeps him in red pinstripes through the 2008 season. The pact includes bonuses that could bring the deal to $14 million.

"Is there an [age] where you're supposed to stop? I don't think so," Moyer said. "At some point in time, it's going to be the end, but right now I haven't seen any signs. I enjoy playing, and I have the passion to play. I still feel like I can contribute, and as long as I have opportunities to do that, why not? It allows me to feel like a kid."

The kid, who will turn 44 on Nov. 18, was an effective part of the rotation after arriving in an Aug. 19 trade with Seattle. He went 5-2 with a 4.03 ERA, and went at least six innings in seven of his eight starts. He was especially valuable in September, going 4-1 to tie for third-most wins in the month among NL pitchers, behind Houston's Roy Oswalt and Florida's Anibal Sanchez (five each).

In three of his six September starts, Moyer allowed one run, as the Phillies stayed relevant in the Wild Card chase. He remains durable despite his age. Last season was his sixth straight with at least 200 innings pitched and the eighth in the previous nine.

For these reasons, general manager Pat Gillick had no reservations about giving Moyer a multiyear deal.

"We felt that if Jamie got out on the marketplace, there was a club that was certainly going to give him one year, and there was a possibility that they would give him two years," Gillick said. "He was important to us not only on the field, but because of his intangibles in the clubhouse. We wanted him back. I felt that we'd have to step up with more than one year. We think we worked out a win-win situation for both sides."

The intangibles Gillick spoke of referred to the veteran leadership that Moyer provided on the four days between starts. He was often seen huddled with Randy Wolf or Cole Hamels with a baseball in his hand, and they typically weren't discussing the weather.

"He showed me that you don't have to throw 95 miles an hour to get somebody out," Hamels said in September. "He's told me a lot of things. It's amazing that he's still doing what he's doing."

Moyer mentioned his desire to play for a team with the potential to make the playoffs as the deciding factor, but also cited the Phillies' understanding of his family situation as important considerations. At the end of the season, the Sellersville, Pa., native said he planned to play in 2007, and liked his situation in Philadelphia, but he and his wife Karen live in Seattle with their six children.

The children ranged in age from high school to 2 years old. The Phillies agreed to allow Moyer to return home if the schedule permitted, say for the final game of a West Coast road trip, assuming he wasn't pitching. It's similar to what the Astros allow for Roger Clemens, though Clemens at times will miss entire roads trips, and Moyer doesn't plan to do that.

"The last six weeks of the season were tough on us as a family," Moyer said. "I can't thank [the Phillies] enough for being understanding, and I'm sure my teammates will understand. I'm not here to take advantage of that situation. I won't be missing road trips. I won't be picking and choosing what trips I go on. Personally, I can't do that."

The Phillies and Moyer held a $4.75 million mutual option for next season, but a new contract was renegotiated to extend him through 2008 to alleviate those concerns. He earned $5.5 million in 2006.

According to a baseball source, the specifics of Moyer's deal are as follows: He'll earn $7 million in 2007, $1 million of which is a signing bonus. He's guaranteed $3.5 million in 2008, but could would balloon to $7 million if he pitches at least 185 innings. He's reached that number in nine of the previous 10 seasons.

"The most important thing is pitching well, contributing and helping your team win," Moyer said. "The last six weeks [of the 2006 season] gave me a totally new outlook on the game, and that was fun."

When Moyer arrived, he immediately stabilized a rotation that struggled through the season's first four months. It wasn't a coincidence that the Phillies played better behind quality performances from Brett Myers, Hamels, Moyer and an improved Jon Lieber. That quartet will return to start the 2007 season.

If Gillick gets his way, the rotation will also include Randy Wolf, who is eligible for free agency. The Phillies are in contact with Wolf's representatives and hope to bring him back. Wolf returned from Tommy John surgery on July 30 and made 12 starts. His velocity returned for his final few starts, and the team is confident in his health. Wolf is on record in saying that he would like to return.

The feeling is mutual.

"We'd like to bring Wolfie back," Gillick said. "We think his arm is fine and we think he's going to get better. Jamie and I had a conversation in Seattle about three left-handers in the rotation, and we liked the thought of that. We're hopeful that Randy will come back. We'd like to have the same five guys that we had last year. I look at it as a better rotation than we started '06 with. We think bringing Randy back will be a nice way to round out the rotation and start 2007.

"Hopefully, something will work out."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.