Currently sitting in last place in the division and 14 games back of first place, the Tampa Bay Rays could be major sellers come deadline time. According to a report, the Texas Rangers are interested in one of their premium assets: Matt Moore.
The 27-year old left-hander is having a nice bounce back season following his injury-shortened 2015. After coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, Moore managed to pitch just 63 innings and hover woefully around replacement level.
This season however, Moore has managed 96.1 innings and has already contributed on WAR by FanGraphs' estimation while pitching much nearer to the league average. Moore is posting his best strikeout rate since 2012 and the best walk rate of his entire career.
Unfortunately though, Moore appears to be having some trouble with the longball, already surrendering 16 round-trippers. The velocity of his pitches don't appear to be measurably different than previous years, at least since his original drop off in 2013, when his fastball lost two miles per hour. His home run to flyball rate then seems to indicate he might be suffering from some bad luck. After all, the AL East parks are relatively hitter-friendly, and there are a lot of home run hitters on division rivals.That being said, only six of his 16 starts this season have been against division rivals, and over them he's given up just five of his home runs; by no means a disproportionate amount.
Moore is under team control through the 2019 season on team options. Over the next three seasons, Moore will be owed $26.5 million.
Meanwhile, despite being a first-place team, the Rangers starting staff sits right smack dab in the middle of the American League by FIP. With Cole Hamels dominating and A.J. Griffin performing above expectations, the Rangers look to be in a relatively good spot.
However, an injury has unfortunately shelved Colby Lewis temporarily, who has been their surprise best starter this season. Furthermore, Yu Darvish's return from Tommy John surgery hasn't gone perfectly as planned, and he, along with Derek Holland, has also hit the disabled list. A total of nine pitchers have made starts for the Rangers, and Moore could add some much-needed stability.
Whether the Rays want to part ways with Moore or other assets remains to be seen. This is their third straight season of being relatively irrelevant and, if it continues this way, parting with major league talent in hopes of rebuilding could be their best course of action. And the Rangers could have plenty to offer, and with many teams looking for pitching depth heading into the second half of the season, the Rays could be able to get a relatively handsome return.