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Jamie Moyer needs Tommy John surgery, plans to play in 2012

Posted by Andy on November 30, 2010

The Phillies have announced that Jamie Moyer needs Tommy John surgery and therefore will not pitch in 2011. (I know, I know...join me in a collective groan.)

Happily, though, Moyer plans to rehab and pitch in 2012. He'll be about 49 and a half on opening day that year.

36 Responses to “Jamie Moyer needs Tommy John surgery, plans to play in 2012”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Without Moyer, the Phillies are done.

  2. Andy Says:


    Might be time to let that one die, JT.

  3. Larry R. Says:

    The urge is to groan but if you look at him objectively over the past few years his numbers aren't bad for a #4 or 5. There are athletes who can compete well past their prime years every once in a while and Moyer seems to be one of them. I find myself pulling for him to prove us all wrong.

  4. Andy Says:

    Larry, you interpreted my comment in the opposite way I intended. Moyer has been a favorite of both the authors and readers of this blog, and I think we're all looking forward to him setting numerous more age-related records. I am groaning because he's going to be out, not because he's (hopefully) coming back.

  5. Devon & His 1982 Topps blog Says:

    I keep hopin' to see Moyer pitch 'til he's 55 or 60... or even 65 (retirement age!). I'd also love to see him hit 300 W's, 'cause that would really make for interesting conversation. A new arm + rehab, might just help him do the trick.

  6. Tmckelv Says:

    So he comes back in 2012 and starts an 11-year stint as a LOOGY. Then as a publicity stunt, starts the first game of the season in 2023, throws one pitch as a 60-year-old, and is removed. Finishes his career with 290 wins.

  7. Sean Forman Says:

    Andy, take it as a compliment.

  8. LJF Says:

    This might bea great "What if?" topic. What if Jamie Moyer comes back in 2012. I foresee the Phillies struggling in late May, largely due to their bullpen. Brad Lidge has an ERA over 8.00 and injuries are piling up. Grasping at straws Charlie Manuel turns to Jamie Moyer as the closer for a weekend series against the Braves. Moyer breaks out the screwball he devleoped during rehab to go with his change, baffling the Braves. He goes on to save 28 games in the regular season and 8 of the Phils 11 wins in the post season. It sets him off a new career path at the age of 50. He pitched for 8 more years, saving 300 games and winning another 35, becoming the first member of the 300 win/300 save club.

  9. Chuck Says:

    He's got to come back! He's the only one left even close to my age!

  10. Detroit Michael Says:

    Who is the oldest player to appear in the majors after not appearing in the majors the previous season? Probably Minnie Minoso, followed by Satchel Paige. How about the oldest player who did more than a cameo in the majors?

    Sounds like a possible topic for a blog post.

  11. JW Lewis Says:

    I have long hoped to see a "serious" 50 year old major leaguer, no publicity stunts like Minnie Minoso or Nick Altrock.

    Thought Julio Franco had a chance to be that guy, but it didn't pan out for him.

    So yes, I'd like to see Moyer still pitching at 50, although with the TJ surgery I don't have a high level of confidence in that.

  12. MikeD Says:

    Have to root for Moyer to come back. He's such an outlier already that this really pushes him into uncharted waters. A 49-year-old MLB pitcher returning after TJ surgery! The odds are against him, especially since it seems pitchers returning from TJ have some command issues as they learn how to pitch again with the rebuilt elbow. Moyer with bad command could be bad indeed, but I'm pulling for him.

  13. Kelly Says:

    I don't know why he couldn't come back and pitch effectively for several more years. He's in great physical shape, obviously loves to play, and doesn't rely on velocity. As long as it doesn't force him to alter his curveball or lose his control, I don't see why the guy can't keep pitching as long as he wants to.

  14. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Every MLB pitcher relies on velocity. Moyer may throw barely over 80 mph, but in the real world that is still mighty fast. If he's only able to max out at 78 or something when he comes back, can he still get batters out? I'm skeptical. There is a minimum velocity necessary to be able to pitch in the bigs, and Moyer was already pushing its limits.

  15. Dr. Doom Says:

    Before coming back, he should learn the knuckleball, reinvent himself, and have another 6-7 years throwing 80% knucklers and rockin' the 80 mph fastball.

  16. Djibouti Says:

    What are the odds he comes back with a rejuvenated arm throwing 90 mph fastballs? At this point, I wouldn't put anything past him.

  17. StephenH Says:

    I am rooting for Moyer to come back. Go Jamie!! When he is pitching well, he is a joy to watch.

  18. Dark Leviathan Says:

    Jamie Moyer: 2012 NL Cy Young Award Winner

  19. LJF Says:

    @14 - JT. I agree. Don't some pitchers say their arms are stronger after TJ surgery? Even so, it would seem that father time would continue to erode his velocity. Moyer, of course, relies on the conbtrast between his "fastball" and his change. If he comes back and his fastball tops out at 78, can he get people out throwing a 70-72 mph changeup? I don't know the answer. Doesn't it seem likely that there comes a point where big league hitters can't be fooled because of his lack of velocity?

  20. DS Says:

    It's like that rookie of the year movie..but potentially on the other extreme! Rocket Moyer!

  21. Jesse011 Says:

    @ 10 I think it was Julio Franco. I think he still could have been a useful bench bat when he retired but I guess there are too many cheaper minor league players who fit that description

  22. Jesse011 Says:

    If he's not breaking 80MPH and not throwing something significantly slower or with crazy movement like a Knuckleball (Wakefield), Circle Change (Pedro), etc then he's not going to have any success. The speed variation you're saying of a 70-72 Changeup and Fastball TOPPING at 78 (or sitting at 74-76) isn't enough of a difference to really throw off a hitter's timing. That would basically be the guy lobbing in pitches for the Home Run Derby.

  23. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Hoyt Wilhelm retired just before 50.

  24. Mark Says:

    Minnie Minoso was WALKED in 2003 in the minors! Wow!

  25. BSK Says:

    They say that guys returning from Tommy John often come back stronger. Maybe he'll hit 82MPH!

    What would be REALLY interesting would be to see if he can be older than his fastball. By that I mean, his age in years is higher than his average fastball velocity. Maybe sometime around age 62 or 63?

  26. LJF Says:

    BSK - I dunno, I hit that point at about age 44.

  27. dukeofflattbush Says:

    In 1993 a 28 year old Dwight Gooden had these #s:
    154 Ws --1835 Ks -- 2128.1 IPs -- 67 CG 118 ERA+
    40 Ws -- 458 Ks -- 672.1 IPs -- 1 CG -- 96 ERA+
    In '93, a 30 year old Jamie Moyer was coming back from injury and had these #s
    46 Ws -- 525 Ks -- 852 IPs --10 CG -- ERA+ 92
    Since 94, Moyer:
    221 Ws -- 1880 Ks -- 3168.1 IPs -- 23 CG -- 107 ERA+

    Just saying, if we threw in the towel on Jamie in '93 and put Doc in the Hall, we'd all be wiping egg from our face.
    So you never know, Jamie seems pretty determined and I think it'll make a great story, I'm rooting for him.
    Hoyt Wilhelm pitched to 49 as well.

  28. Margo Adams Says:

    In addition to the arm, one has to wonder if his legs and/or back will be healthy enough to pitch after a 2 year layoff. He probably hurts his case more by waiting to get this done, even if it wasn't clear right away that he needed it.

    "In 1993 a 28 year old Dwight Gooden had these #s:
    154 Ws --1835 Ks -- 2128.1 IPs -- 67 CG 118 ERA+
    40 Ws -- 458 Ks -- 672.1 IPs -- 1 CG -- 96 ERA+
    In '93, a 30 year old Jamie Moyer was coming back from injury and had these #s
    46 Ws -- 525 Ks -- 852 IPs --10 CG -- ERA+ 92
    Since 94, Moyer:
    221 Ws -- 1880 Ks -- 3168.1 IPs -- 23 CG -- 107 ERA+ "

    I'll take the pre -1993 Gooden in 8 years anyday over anything Moyer did in the last 16 years. Moyer's longevity is remarkable but never at his best was close to the pitcher Doc was.

  29. Detroit Michael Says:


    That's a great guess. Julio Franco was completely out of the majors at age 41 (and also age 39) before coming back at age 42. Of course, he then stayed in the majors for several years.

    If Moyer came back, he'd have that beat by several years of course.

  30. John Autin Says:

    @28, "Margo" --
    "Moyer's longevity is remarkable but never at his best was close to the pitcher Doc was."

    It's true that Moyer never had a year like Gooden did in 1985. Few pitchers ever have.

    But overall, Moyer's best years compare pretty well with Gooden's. Here are the 10 best seasons by each pitcher (150+ IP), ranked by ERA+:

    1 -- Gooden, 229
    2 -- Gooden, 137
    3 -- Moyer, 132
    4 -- Moyer, 131
    5 -- Moyer, 130
    6 -- Moyer, 130
    7 -- Moyer, 128
    8 -- Gooden, 126
    9 -- Moyer, 126
    10 -- Moyer, 122
    11 -- Gooden, 119
    12 -- Moyer, 119
    13 -- Gooden, 117
    14 -- Moyer, 116
    15 -- Moyer, 105
    16 -- Gooden, 102
    17 -- Gooden, 102
    18 -- Gooden, 100
    19 -- Gooden, 98
    20 -- Gooden, 95

    Moyer has 5 of the top 7 and 7 of the top 10.

    Here are their top 10 seasons ranked by WAR:
    1 -- Gooden, 11.7
    2 -- Moyer, 5.7
    3 -- Gooden, 5.4
    4 -- Moyer, 5.3
    5 -- Moyer, 5.2
    6 -- Gooden, 4.4
    7 -- Moyer, 3.9
    8 -- Gooden, 3.8
    9 -- Gooden and Moyer, 3.7
    11 -- Gooden and Moyer, 3.3
    13 -- Gooden and Moyer, 3.1
    15 -- Moyer, 3.0
    16 -- Gooden, 2.9
    17 -- Gooden and Moyer, 2.7
    19 -- Gooden and Moyer, 2.6

    If you total each one's 10 best seasons by WAR, Gooden has 43.6, Moyer 38.5 -- Gooden's entire edge comes from his 1985 season.

    The raw numbers are skewed by park, team and league context. For example, in 1988 Gooden went 18-9 with a 3.19 ERA -- in a pitcher's park, in a low-scoring league, with the league's best offense behind him. His raw ERA was 23rd in the NL; his 102 ERA+ was 27th.

  31. dukeofflattbush Says:

    I wasn't comparing Doc, in terms of talent to Moyer. How could you. I was 9 years old durings Doc's rookie year. I watched maybe 20-22 of Doc's starts, and I can say in '84-85, only he could beat himself.
    My point was, in 1993, there was simply a no-brainer that Doc was Hall bound and Moyer was no more than a fringe player, (remember he sat out all of 1992). So in retrospect, we need to remind ourselves of the fickle sport's gods and not count out Moyer, not yet. I would of bet against him huge in 1993 if you told me he'd have 260+ wins.
    Common sense sometimes is usurped by sheer guts.
    Jamie had the guts in 1993 and as far as I know, guts don't age.
    Now as far as his arm, that's a different story.
    But Jamie gets run down too much. AJ Burnett was by far the worse pitcher of the two.And AJ is 15 million dollar headache # 2 starter on the biggest stage in the world. No one is saying AJ should hang up his spikes. If every team had a 5 million dollar # 4 Moyer-esque pitcher, well, that wouldn't be a bad thing.
    He's no diva (ala AJ), he can teach the young guys a lot. He knows the league, he's got class, guts and determination.
    I'm rooting for him hard.
    Go Jamie in 2012!!!!!

  32. Jamie Gooden, or Dwight Moyer » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] my earlier post about Jamie Moyer's season-killing injury, dukeofflatbush pointed out how good Dwight Gooden was in the first half of his career and how good [...]

  33. dukeofflattbush Says:


    Great quote; Frank Tannana once said:
    ...'i threw 90 in the '70s and 70 in the '90s."
    or something close.

  34. donamous Says:

    I think if Moyer attempts to come back after TJ surgery at his age it's no different then cheating. I'm 61, maybe if I got TJ surgery I could pitch a few innings in a local Park League game.

  35. dukeofflattbush Says:

    It aint that easy to just get the surgery and pitch.
    There is exhaustive rehabbing, and the presence of mind to take it slow when your body might 'feel' ready.
    That tremendous combination of effort and restraint, is not cheating.
    If it were, I'd have Tomy John tomorrow (no innuendo).
    Not everyone comes back from TJ surgery.
    You first have to pitch well before the surgery.
    Then you need the guts and restraint to come back properly.

    Is Mark Prior cheating?
    Kerry Wood?

    To come back at 24-28 is amazing.
    To do it at 48, at 48 when money and stats are not the issue, then i say, let him cheat.

  36. Mike Felber Says:

    Pop quiz: the oldest player to ever play any professional baseball. Not listed above, & no looking it up.