Rangers acquire rotation help in Matt Moore via trade with Giants
The lefty starter is coming off a terrible season
The San Francisco Giants have agreed to deal left-handed starting pitcher Matt Moore to the Texas Rangers, the clubs have announced. A report earlier in the night mentioned that the Giants were in the midst of completing a deal that would shed payroll, so perhaps that's a clue as to the rationale for the deal from their perspective.
Moore, 28, is coming off a dreadful season. He was 6-15 with a 5.52 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Despite playing home games in the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, Moore led the NL in earned runs allowed. He also coughed up 27 home runs. He's due $9 million in 2018 before likely hiting free agency (there's a $10 million club option for 2019 with a $750,000 buyout).
The Giants' return comes in the form of right-handed relievers Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz. Wolff is entering his age-27 season and has never been to the majors. Between Double-A (20 1/3 innings) and Triple-A (22 2/3) last season, Wolff had a 2.93 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 43 innings. Cruz, 20, had a 5.91 ERA in Rookie Ball last year, but the 42 strikeouts in 32 innings were promising.
Moore was once a consensus top-three prospect in baseball alongside Mike Trout and Bryce Harper (seriously, they were the "big three" prospects) and then finished ninth in AL Cy Young voting for the Rays in 2013, but since then he's dealt with injuries and been mostly ineffective. In the last three seasons combined, Moore sports a 4.85 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
For the Rangers, this is just more rotation depth. Cole Hamels and Martin Perez are sure things in the rotation. After that, Moore joins Doug Fister, Mike Minor, Matt Bush, A.J. Griffin, Yohander Mendez and Nick Martinez as rotation hopefuls. Surely, Moore will be giving every opportunity to be the third starter.
This addition likely has a pretty minimal impact on the Rangers' pursuit of free-agent starters, such as Alex Cobb.
As for the Giants, it's anyone's guess as to their direction now. This could be the start of them offloading salary in order to make a big addition via free agency, or they could be looking to start reshaping (we can't say "rebuild" just yet) the roster.
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