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Matt Moore to Giants: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2016

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 24:  Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 24, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Orioles won 6-3.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays agreed to trade starting pitcher Matt Moore to the San Francisco Giants Monday ahead of the trade deadline.  

The Giants announced they traded third baseman Matt Duffy, shortstop Lucius Fox and pitcher Michael Santos to Tampa Bay in exchange for Moore, after Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the deal.

Moore emerged as one of the most promising young starters in baseball during the 2013 season when he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 150.1 innings. Injuries ended up derailing his ascension toward ace status, though.

The left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery after just two starts in 2014. While he completed the recovery process in time for the second half of last season, he didn't look anywhere close to normal, as he posted a 5.43 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 12 starts.

He's shown signs of improvement so far during the current campaign. He's still not all the way back to the level he achieved before the injury, but his strikeout rate is up (7.6 K/9) and his walk rate (2.8 BB/9) is down compared to last year (6.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9). Those are usually hallmarks of a pitcher who is rounding back into form.

The 27-year-old lefty said he was starting to find a rhythm again after his first outing of the second half, per Gary Shelton of the SaintPetersBlog.

"I just feel like I'm pitching to my capabilities," Moore said. "Being able to string together back-to-back innings where we retired three in a row, I think that's something to hang my hat on most these days, just being able to get some quick innings, keep my pitch count on track."

His record from the early years of his career makes him an intriguing pickup. That's especially true because FanGraphs notes his pitch speeds are right in line with what they were during his breakout 2013 season. It just comes down to getting his execution back.

The need for the Giants to bolster the starting rotation is clear. San Francisco has a strong trio of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, but Jake Peavy and Matt Cain are major question marks. Swapping Moore for Peavy or Cain will be a major upgrade.

More importantly, Moore is a longer-term asset for the pitching staff. Bumgarner is the only starting pitcher under 30. Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford are San Francisco's two best young arms, but neither is close to hitting the majors—Beede has made 18 starts for the team's Double-A affiliate.

Moore adds nice value for the Giants beyond 2016. According to Spotrac, he has three team options through 2019 that total $7 million, $9 million and $10 million. That gives San Francisco more flexibility with the staff.

Ultimately, if you consider the type of package it would have taken to acquire Moore three years ago, this trade is a reasonable investment. There is no guarantee he'll ever showcase that type of form again, but he's flashed enough promising signs for the Giants to take a chance on him.

     

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