For much of the offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies have been looking at veteran options to bolster their starting rotation. Friday morning, they appear to have landed one.
The Phillies have signed lefty Matt Moore, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The major-league deal, per Salisbury, is still contingent on Moore passing a physical. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that the deal carries a base value of $3 million for 2021, and “includes performance bonuses.”
Moore was actually an All-Star for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013, though we’re quite a ways away from that. Moore last pitched in the major leagues in 2019 with the Detroit Tigers, but while he didn’t allow a single run, he only pitched 10 total innings. The 31-year-old, once one of the top pitching prospects in the sport, posted a 2.65 ERA in 15 starts for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japan Pacific League in 2020.
Presumably Moore will join the mix of back-end-of-the-rotation options, which also includes Vince Velasquez and Spencer Howard. Moore’s salary is hefty enough that he could even enter spring training as a favorite to land one of the final two spots in the rotation, though he’ll still make $1 million less than Velasquez. That said, it’s unclear how much the Phillies will be able to push Howard after he threw just 24 1/3 innings in 2020, so perhaps we shouldn’t assume that he’ll be in play to begin the season at all.
Moore is the second starting pitcher that the Phillies have added to the organization this week. Tuesday, the Phillies inked Iván Nova to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. Both Nova and Moore have American League East ties. Nova played directly for Phillies manager Joe Girardi with the New York Yankees, and both Girardi and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski got an up-close look at Moore in Tampa. In fact, Phillies general manager Sam Fuld was a teammate of Sam Fuld in Tampa from 2011-2103.
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