Matt Moore is the key to the Phillies Rotation

Phillies De La Cruz
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Phillies batting helmets sit on the wall during the MLB game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies on September 19, 2018, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

One of the most under-the-radar moves the Phillies made this offseason was the signing of former All-Star pitcher Matt Moore. Coming back from a season abroad in Japan, Moore signed for $3 million.

Matt Moore’s Career

The seemingly modest price point isn’t by choice. Matt Moore’s career can be described in 2 parts: With the Rays and not with the Rays.

In 540 IP with the Tampa Bay Rays, Moore posted a 3.88 ERA. That number includes the outlier of a 5.43 ERA in 12 starts when Moore was returning from injury.

His lone All-Star year came in 2013. With a 17-4 record and a 3.28 ERA, Moore finished 9th in Cy Young voting. However, Tommy John surgery would soon be knocking at Moore’s door.

On April 7th, 2014, Moore was removed from a game with an elbow injury. He wouldn’t pitch again until July 2nd of the following year. He’d have a few moments, but he was never the same pitcher that he was with the Rays.

2017 and 2018 showed the worst of Moore, posting 5.52 and 6.79 ERAs, respectfully. Ugly, right? So why would the Phillies take a chance on Moore?

Before tearing his meniscus in 2019, Moore promise for the first time in a while. Moore didn’t allow a single ER in his short 10 innings. During his only full start, he was topping out at 95 MPH.

In 2020, Moore signed a contract to play in Japan. In the Nippon Professional Baseball league (Japan’s highest league), Moore posted a 2.65 ERA with a 10.3 K/9 (his highest mark in professional baseball since 2015).

His big moment came in the NPB’s Japan Series (their World Series). In game 3, Moore tossed 7 no-hit innings en route to the win. He helped the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks win their 4th consecutive title.

Phillies’ Impact

Matt Moore figures to be the Phillies’ 4th starter in 2021. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin all have a decent level of excitement surrounding them. Nola and Wheeler received Cy Young votes in 2020 and Eflin showed flashes of utter brilliance.

If Moore can provide quality innings, he can propel the Phillies to a top-10 rotation in baseball. Hopefully, this is the diamond in the rough the Phillies have been waiting for since Charlie Morton’s early departure.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire