Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Matt Moore

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

As Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline nears, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to search for pitching help. The latest name attached to the Bucs is Tampa Bay left-handed starting pitcher Matt Moore.

For the second time in three days there are reports surfacing that the Pittsburgh Pirates are scouting a Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher. On Saturday, it was reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates were scouting Chris Archer who the Rays have since said they will not trade at the deadline. According to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times, the Pirates were one of five teams scouting Matt Moore’s start on Saturday night. The other four teams scouting Matt Moore were the Dodgers, Nationals, Rangers, and Red Sox.

Matt Moore put on a good show for those scouts that were in attendance on Saturday night. In his start on Saturday Moore allowed just two runs on five hits and one walk in a season high 7 1/3 innings pitched. This outing lowered Matt Moore’s ERA for the season to 4.33.

Overall on the season Matt Moore has a 4.33 ERA, 4.60 FIP, and a 4.72 xFIP in 116 1/3 innings pitched. In those 116 1/3 innings pitched Moore is averaging 7.58 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, and 1.47 HR/9. While Moore’s home run rate is a career worst, his walk rate is the best of his career and his strikeout rate is the third best of his career.

Even though Moore’s overall numbers this season are nothing special, he has been on a good run of late. Dating back to June 12th, which covers seven starts, Matt Moore has a 2.51 ERA and a 4.01 FIP in 46 2/3 innings pitched. Moore has also watched his home run rate drop during this stretch from the 1.81 HR/9 it was through his first 12 starts, to just 0.96 HR/9 his last seven starts.

After his Major League career got off to a great start, Matt Moore started to get sidelined by injuries. After pitching just ten innings in the 2014 season, Moore had to have Tommy John Surgery which caused him to miss the rest of 2014 and a big portion of 2015. This contributed to Matt Moore struggling throughout the 2015 season.

Prior to having Tommy John Surgery Matt Moore had a 3.53 ERA, 3.92 FIP, and a 4.28 xFIP in 357 innings pitched. This included averaging 8.79 K/9, 4.28 BB/9, and 0.88 HR/9. Even though Moore’s strikeout rate has dropped since returning from surgery last season, his walk rate has improved substantially.

Matt Moore features a four pitch mix. He throws a fastball that sits in the 92-94 miles per hour range, a change-up he uses primarily against right-handed hitters, a knuckle-curveball which is his out pitch, and an occasional cutter. This season Moore’s fastball has averaged 92.8 miles per hour, his best pitch is his knuckle-curve which opposing batters have just a .294 wOBA and a wRC+ of 95 against this season.

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Matt Moore is a pitcher that intrigues me. Prior to beginning to battle the injury bug in 2014, Matt Moore was one of the more effective left-handed starting pitchers in the American League. However, the amount of injuries he has suffered the past few seasons along with some rough patches this season raise some red flags.

If the price is right, I would have no problem with Neal Huntington swinging a deal to add Matt Moore to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting rotation. Not only is Matt Moore an upgrade over what the Pirates have gotten from Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke, and Jon Niese this season, Moore also comes with three more years of team control. And team control is something the Pittsburgh Pirates, along with every other team in baseball, value.