BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles released 49-year-old Jamie Moyer on Saturday, parting ways with the crafty left-hander at his request.
Moyer started the season with Colorado, where he became the oldest pitcher to win a game in the big leagues. He went 2-5 before being designated for assignment by the Rockies on May 30.
Moyer subsequently signed a minor-league contract with Baltimore on June 6. The deal came with the stipulation that he would make three starts with Triple-A Norfolk, and after that the Orioles had to promote him or grant his release.
Following his third start Wednesday, the Orioles offered Moyer another start with the Tides. He instead opted to become a free agent.
Moyer went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA over 16 innings at Norfolk. The Orioles liked what they saw, but the timing just wasn’t right to add him to the rotation.
“We’re very appreciative of him giving us that opportunity to look,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitch for somebody shortly. Personally, just out of respect for his career what he’s done, I hope it happens.”
The Orioles are encouraged by the depth they have in the minor leagues, so they can fill gaps in the rotation with players far younger than Moyer.
“I just feel like we have some options,” Showalter said.
Zach Britton, who’s working his way back from the disabled list, and 24-year-old Chris Tillman have been putting up solid numbers in the minors and could be soon be ready to join the big league club. Asked if their performance influenced the decision to drop Moyer, Showalter said, “A lot of it. Not all of it.”
Moyer pitched in Baltimore from 1993-95, one of several stops during a big league career that began in 1986 and was interrupted in 2011 by elbow surgery.
Insisting his left arm still had some life, Moyer signed with the Rockies in January 2012 and joined the big league club April 3. He had a 5.70 ERA in 10 games.
His lifetime record is 269-209.
Unless another team signs him, that will be his final ledger.
“I think he’s had a remarkable career,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said. “I thought he was 50, not 49. I felt like I played against him.”
Johnson isn’t so sure if Moyer has enough left to get back in the majors.
“No, I don’t think anybody is going to pick him up. Maybe as a pitching coach,” Johnson said. “But he’s a poster boy or a lot of us old folks. I wish him well.”