Talk about riding the midlife emotional roller coaster. The Orioles drafted Ryan Ripken in the 20th round of the draft this week and also signed 49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer to a minor league contract, which has created a temporal tug-of-war in my head that just might cause my brain to leak out of my ears.
I keep telling myself that I'm not that old -- a concept which is bolstered by the presence of a 49-year-old guy who doesn't throw any harder than me in the O's minor league system -- and the Orioles go and draft the young prince of Baltimore baseball. I realize that all of the high school draftees are 17 or 18 years old, but this just brought home the fact that they drafted a kid who was born four years after I moved to Baltimore and about 10 years after I first interviewed his father.
Ripken is a big, rangy first baseman who has committed to the University of South Carolina. (I was kind of hoping he would go to the real USC, but I guess he wanted to stay closer to home.) It probably would be in his best interests to play three years of college ball, if only to give himself the opportunity to forge more of his baseball identity separate from his Hall of Fame dad, but that will -- no doubt -- be a family decision that is not made lightly.
Bringing Moyer back into the organization is a no-risk signing that could pay off if the O's need an experienced starter to fill a gap in the major league rotation. Some people might think that's crazy, but it really isn't.
The case can be made that Moyer has pitched better this year than Jake Arrieta, who is 2-7 with a 5.53 ERA. Moyer was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA with the Colorado Rockies, but he allowed three earned runs or fewer in five of his 10 starts. Arrieta has allowed three or fewer earned runs in just four of 12 starts.
I'm not saying that Moyer would be a big difference-maker, but he knows how to pitch and he can eat up innings. That's the reason you might go to him instead of a young Triple-A pitcher in a pinch, because you probably won't have to burn your bullpen on the days he doesn't pitch very well. Only once in those 10 starts did he fail to finish five innings and he'd still be with the Rockies if they had played well enough to win a couple of his best performances.