I was on the radio before the clubhouse opened and was asked if Moyer would criticize the team for moving him to the bullpen. I said no, Jamie Moyer might be privately grousing, but he is way to savvy and protective of his own image to rip the team in public. I was very, very, wrong.
Here's a more fully fleshed out description of the events as they unfolded:
Jamie Moyer sat alone in the stands at Wrigley Field this afternoon, staring at the infield. He made his major league debut here on June 16, 1986, pitching for the Cubs against the Phillies and his boyhood hero, Steve Carlton.
After a few silent minutes, he sent for the media, and expressed strong displeasure about a late-career development. Moyer, 46, is 10-9, with a 5.47 earned run average this season, and Monday was assigned to the bullpen to accommodate Pedro Martinez, who will make his Phillies debut today as a member of the starting rotation.
“I’m really not happy with this decision that the Phillies have made,” Moyer said. “I will take what they’ve asked me to do, but I’m not real excited about the decision that’s been made.”
Moyer said that, when he negotiated his TK contract with the Phils last winter, he felt that an understanding existed between him, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and owner David Montgomery that he would start.
"I feel like I've been misled,” Moyer said. “I’m a little disheartened a little bit because I know this past winter when I was negotiating with the Phillies, this was a sore thumb, if you will, about this potentially happening. Ruben [Amaro Jr.], you can’t promise anything in this game, but I really felt that Ruben kind of parlayed to me that this type of situation would not happen.
“I actually even had some conversation with David [Montgomery], and them reassuring me this type of situation won’t happen. Again, I’m a little disheartened by the way it’s happened, how it’s happened.”
Amaro and Montgomery were not in Chicago with the team. Amaro said through a team representative that “When we signed Jamie Moyer it was under the pretense of him being a starter. But right now circumstances have changed….we’re not going to get into any contract negotiations. That’s between players and club.”
Manager Charlie Manuel said that the decision to remove Moyer from the rotation was agonizing. “The toughest decision I ever made,” Manuel said. “It was very hard. What do you want me to say?”
Manuel added that while he did not know what Moyer’s role in the bullpen would be, he would feel comfortable utilizing the lefty as he does Scott Eyre, in hey situations against lefthanded hitters.
“We will look for places to pitch him and keep him sharp and you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.
Martinez said that “he has all the regard in the world” for Moyer. “I don’t have enough words to say how I feel about Jamie.”
Moyer, on the other hand, has no trouble finding words. “Whether I like it or not, this is the situation I’m in,” he said. “I will deal with it. I will deal with it in a respectful way. I’ll be respectful to my teammates. I do not want to be a distraction, and I refuse to be a distraction. It’s about the 25 players that are here and are playing. We all have to pick each other up. We all have to support each other And we all have to be professional."
You be the judge: Was HE being professional today?