The Sports Pages: Alou’s Passing, Moyer’s Comeback, and Free Agent Rankings


“I always turn to the sports pages first, which record man’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” -Earl Warren

The baseball world was saddened with the news of the passing of Matty Alou yesterday. He was 72 years old. The brother of Jesus and Felipe, Matty played 15 seasons in the big leagues from 1960-1974, the last of those with the San Diego Padres.

He wasn’t a big guy, standing just 5’9″ and weighing a mere 160 lbs during his playing days, but he excelled at making contact; rarely striking out, and even more rarely walking. Alou once lead the league is hits and doubles and was a two-time all-star, both coming as a member of the Pirates. He was also the first batter that Hall of Famer Tome Seaver ever faced in the big leagues. Alou doubled in that at bat. Bruce Markusen of the Hardball Times remembers Matty Alou.

Alou’s playing career ended with his 81 at bats for the Padres at age 35. Southpaw Jamie Moyer has won 178 major league games since his 35th birthday and at age 48 (he’ll be 49 later this month), is planning a comeback after a year away due to Tommy John surgery.

Moyer and his family recently re-located to San Diego and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports lists the Padres as a possible landing spot for 2012. One scout who saw Moyer throw recently was quoted in the piece as saying “He has a chance to pitch in the big leagues as a fifth starter and win 10 or 12 games. He’s throwing 81 to 83 miles an hour, but he still knows how to make you look like an idiot.”

At 49, Moyer is certainly no long-term solution for anyone’s rotation, but he could be a viable option for a club looking to buy some time while a young hurler is groomed for a starting role in the big leagues. Moyer has allowed more home runs than any pitcher in baseball history, but working in a pitcher’s park could better allow him to use his craftiness to his advantage, and help him get away with a few more mistakes than he could have in Philadelphia.

Moyer is a free agent, along with 181 other players this offseason. Jeff Passan took a step off of his soapbox yesterday and ranked all 182 players without a contract for next season. It’s no shock that Heath Bell was the first Padre to make the list (at number 20).

Who was next, you ask? How about Chad Qualls, who used the PetCo effect to his advantage, or so says Passan. “Went to Petco paradise, posted a favorable ERA, will get paid for it despite just 43 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. Every reliever looking to resurrect his career should offer to play for the minimum in San Diego.” If only they would, Jeff. If only they would.

Wrapping up today’s links, Ray of the Sacrifice Bunt put a bow on the Padres season with his Detention Lecture over at Big League Stew. An entertaining read for sure.

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