As part of our Trademas in July series, we’ll take a look at potential trade targets for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today we look at Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays
The Pirates are in a unique position at the moment as they are on the cusp of being between buying and selling. Moore has several Team Options which put him under control until 2019
We already know the team is interested in Moore, as they’ve had scouts taking inventory of the young pitcher. Could the 2013 All-Star be an option for the Pirates?
Profile and Performance
Moore has been in the Major Leagues for parts of six seasons, appearing in 94 games and making 92 starts since his 2011 call-up. 2013 was his breakout season when he went 17-4 with a 3.29ERA and made the All-Star team. Since 2013, however, injuries and inconsistency have plagued the lefty.
Below are Moore’s career stats:
|162 Game Avg.||14||10||3.93||34||192||178||90||84||23||81||177||4.17||1.347||8.3||1.1||3.8||8.3||2.18|
Moore has a fairly typical pitch arsenal. He features a fastball with an average velocity of 93.2MPH, a seldom used Cutter, a Curveball and a Change-Up.
Moore has the most success with his change-up during the course of his career, holding opposing players to a .246/.293/.364/.656 slash line. Despite not having a plus fastball, he actually drops nearly 10MPH for his change-up, which has an average velocity of 84.7MPH.
Moore is obviously a lefty, so he has a lot of success against left-handed hitters. In his career, he has held lefties to a .239/.319/.364 line, which is fairly in-line with his 2016 numbers.
The Case for Moore
- Moore has a fairly team friendly contract and could be a short-term solution or a long-term fixture on the team. Moore has Team Options for 2017, 2018, and 2019. The value of the deal goes from $7 million to $10 million, so Moore isn’t a particularly expensive option even for the Pirates.
- Moore is showing career-best control this season as he is walking fewer batters than ever. His walk rate is 2.6/9, which is substantially lower than his career rate of 3.8. He has shown improved control basically every year of his career, which leads me to believe it is not a fluke.
- Moore is only 27 and is in the middle of his first full season post-Tommy John Surgery, so his best work could be in front of him. This could be a case of potentially buying low on a guy just waiting to break out.
- Moore’s ERA may be 4.33, but he has been very good over the last two months. Over his last 58.2 innings, he’s pitched to a 3.21 ERA. He seems to finally be returning to the form that made him an All-Star in 2013.
The Case Against More
- Moore’s career FIP is 4.17 and he hasn’t had a single season FIP under 3.90 since his brief call-up in 2011. He’s been a fairly lucky pitcher and his recent struggles could be a sign that he is regressing to his mean.
- This season Moore has been extremely poor in high leverage situations. When faced with these moments, opponents are hitting .351BA/.429OBP/.676SLG against Moore. So when he needs to bear down, he hasn’t been able to avoid damage as often as you’d hope.
- Moore’s health is still an issue and something that could hinder the Pirates from taking a chance on him. He has yet to prove he can survive a full season in the big leagues. Tommy John Surgery is more and more common, but it’s still not guaranteed that every player is going to be okay following the procedure.
- Moore hasn’t pitched very well away from Tropicana Field. He has a road ERA of 5.93 in 2016. He has also allowed eight home runs in just 41 innings on the road. Not exactly a recipe for success when moving to a new team in a new ballpark.
What it might Take
The Tampa Bay Rays are currently in the midst of a massively disappointing season. Some media members had them competing for a playoff spot, but a 3-24 stretch has turned them into clear sellers.
Moore is a young left-handed pitcher with team friendly options. He would likely not come as cheap as most pitchers with a career ERA above four. I would wager since he could either be a rental or a long term option, it would take several mid-tier prospects or one high-level prospect for the Pirates to land Moore’s services.
The Pirates were burned this past offseason trading for a cost-controlled lefty in Jon Niese. So I think the team could be a little gun-shy as a result. Niese and Moore aren’t that different in terms of stuff. So I would expect the Pirates to not strongly pursue Matt Moore’s services.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will most likely trade for a starting pitcher during the trade deadline, but I don’t think it will be Matt Moore. He does fit the bill of a typical Neal Huntington pick-up, but I think given what he’ll likely cost and the Niese trade fresh in his mind, Huntington will pass on the Tampa Bay lefty.
Follow along with our Trademas In July coverage with these other trade target profiles:
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Photo Credit – Keith Allison – Flickr Creative Commons