Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#209 Mike Moore - Seattle Mariners

Rookie card alert! This is indeed Mike Moore's first card and we see him delivering a pitch with a mess of green trees behind him.  Notice the cameo pic shows with him wearing a mesh hat with dark clouds overhead.
Strangely, Moore played for the same three teams in his career as the last player profiled.  Dan Meyer also played for the Mariners then the A's.  Meyer started his career with the Tigers while Moore ended his in Detroit.

Player:  Mike Moore was the number one overall pick in the '81 draft.  He didn't spend much time in the minors and pitched in 28 games during his rookie year in '82, starting 27.  Like a lot of young pitchers, Moore had trouble commanding his off speed pitches and struggled, posting a 5.36 ERA in 144.1 innings.  The highlight of his season was a four-hit shutout of the Indians on July 24.

Except for a two month tune-up at Salt Lake City in '83, Moore was in the big leagues to stay.  With ERA's around five and a poor Mariner offense, he posted a 20-39 record over his first three years in Seattle. 

Moore broke through in '85, winning 17 of his 27 decisions with a 3.47 ERA (121 ERA+).  He started 34 games, completed 14 of them, and worked 247 innings.  He finished 10th in Cy Young voting and ended the year with 6.0 WAR.

The next three seasons Moore was a workhorse with 102 games started and 725 innings.  Although toiling around league average (103 ERA+), he lost more than he won (29-47).

Moore didn't just lose on the field,  he took the Mariners to arbitration twice and lost both times.  Moore became a free-agent after the '88 season and he signed a 3-year / $3.8 million deal with the Oakland A's. 

With the A's Moore enjoyed the spacious Oakland Coliseum and much better run support.  Moore won 19 in '89 with a 2.61 ERA, made the All-Star team, and finished 3rd in CY voting.  He stayed in Oakland for four years and appeared in two World Series, winning games 1 and 4 of the '89 series victory over the Giants.  While he averaged 16 wins per season he had two very good years with sub-3 ERAs and two mediocre campaigns with ERA's of 4.65 and 4.12.

Once again a free-agent following the '92 campaign, Moore signed a 3 year/$10 million deal with the pitching desperate Tigers.  Although durable, Moore was no longer fooling batters.  His ERAs in his three years in Motown: 5.22, 5.42, and 7.53. 

Moore retired after the '95 season with a 4.39 ERA (95 ERA+) and a 161-176 record. 

Stuff:  Early career: mid-90s fastball, change, slider. 
Later in his career sinker and forkball.

Flipside:  Moore's one relief appearance came on 4/25, three days after pitching 5.2 innings in his first win.  He logged 1.1 innings out of the pen against the Twins and made his next start on 4/28 against the Indians.  He failed to make it out of the first inning against the Tribe allowing six runs while recording just one out. 
Although I think today's pitchers are handled too carefully, this usage seems a bit curious to subject to your #1 pitching prospect in his third week in the majors.

Oddball:  Moore's '95 season was absolutely brutal.  He pitched 132.2 innings and allowed 118 runs on 179 hits and 68 walks.  Amazingly, he started the year OK, allowing seven runs over his first three starts before allowing almost a run an inning over his last 22 starts.  Mercifully the Tigers ended the carnage when the released him in the first week of September. 

History:  Moore is another example of a pitcher who was rushed to the majors without getting a chance to refine his game in the minors.  Whether he would have had a better career with more seasoning is hard to tell but he did go on to win a World Series and 161 regular season games.

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