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Jamie Moyer to the Bullpen: It's the Economics, Stupid!

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The Phillies relegation of starting pitcher Jamie Moyer to the bullpen was not just a matter of performance -- it's an effort to mitigate the financial hit the team could take should Moyer reach certain incentive thresholds in his contract.

First, let's look at the contract, courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts:

* 2 years/$13MM (2009-10)
   o re-signed by Philadelphia as a free agent 12/15/08
   o 09:$6.5M, 10:$6.5M
   o performance bonuses: $0.25M each for 150, 160, 170, 180, 190 IP
   o 2010 salary increases by:
      + $0.25M for 150 IP, 23 starts
      + $0.5M each for 160, 170, 180, 190 IP and 25, 27, 29, 31 starts
   o limited no-trade clause allowing Moyer to block deals to 6 clubs (no more than 4 in one league)

So what does moving Moyer to the bullpen do?  After the jump...

*  Moyer currently sits at 123.1 innings pitched.  He's 26.2 innings away (about five starts) from triggering a $250K bonus, and two more starts away from triggering a second $250K bonus.  Moving Moyer to the bullpen likely saves the team $500K, as he's fairly unlikely to pitch 26.2 relief innings the rest of the season.

*  Boy, those escalators really take off in 2010.  Keeping Moyer in the rotation for next season would be an extremely expensive proposition.  He would be owed an extra $500K for reaching 150 IP and 23 starts.  For reference, he has started 22 games this season so far.

*  Holy crap.  An extra HALF MILLION DOLLARS for each ten innings beyond 150 next season, and another half million for each two starts past 23 starts.

EDIT: Based on discussions elsewhere, it appears that those 2010 thresholds may apply to 2009 performance, i.e., if Moyer makes his 23rd start in 2009, it triggers a $250K increase to his 2010 base salary.  Same with all the innings pitched thresholds for 2010.  This makes the matter all the more pressing for the Phillies; if Moyer pitched 190 innings in 2009, by this interpretation, the Phillies would be out $4.5 million in 2010, whether or not Moyer throws a single pitch next year.

 

So, at a minimum, we're looking at least a $500K savings, possibly up to $1 million, this season by moving Moyer to the bullpen and, depending on how the team goes forward next season, a potential $4.5 million in savings by keeping Jamie Moyer out of the rotation in 2010.

How to spend this extra dough:

1. Colvin

2. Stewart

3. Susac

4. Hats for Sarge

 

Jamie Moyer has been a good Phillie and deserves all the credit in the world for being a terrific human being and a great teammate, but for a team operating on a budget, dropping that kind of coin on a subpar starting pitcher just does not make financial sense.