As a small-market baseball team, the Pirates often have to use unconventional methods in order to compete with the big-market teams like the Yankees and Dodgers. One such method is acquiring players who once held great potential in their respective organizations before falling on hard times.
Players such as Jose Tabata, Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche and even Nate McClouth, who was traded away at his highest value and then reacquired in the hopes of re-discovering the promise he once held in Pittsburgh, have all been brought into the fold in recent years. Some players, well, mainly, no players, have flourished.
The Pirates also aren't shy about taking fliers on veteran players, such as 41 year old relief pitcher Jose Contreras and 35 year old bench player Brandon Inge.
And that brings me to the team's latest signing: 50 year old pitcher Jamie Moyer. That's right, you read it here, first. Moyer, a sixth round pick by the Chicago Cubs in the 1984 amateur draft, hopes to compete for a spot in the back-end of Pittsburgh's starting rotation.
After struggling a bit in the mid-to-late 80's, Moyer had his break-out year in 1990, when he posted a 12-9 record with the Baltimore Orioles. However, Moyer's greatest year may have come in 1999, where at the tender age of 36, he pitched 228 innings, posting a 14-8 record to go along with 137 strikeouts.
Said team general manager Neal Huntington regarding the move: "When you talk about Jamie Moyer, you're talking about one of the more talented pitchers to come out of the Cubs organization in the mid-80's. We feel he could compete with Jeff Karstens for a starting job."