The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with top prospect Matt Moore on a guaranteed $14M over five years and the entire deal could be for $40M over eight years if all three options are picked up and Moore meets all the escalator clauses in the contract.
What does this deal mean for Matt Moore?
Moore has only pitched 19.1 innings for the parent club with 9.1 of those coming in the regular season and 10 in the post season. This deal gives financial security to Moore who is guaranteed to get $14M even if he blows his arm out in spring training and never pitches again. No player has ever received more money with less than two years of service time. This is a huge deal for a 22 year old kid.
The deal, if all options are picked up, would also mean that Moore likely had success and would hit the free agent market at the age of 31. C.J. Wilson, with only two years of starting experience, received a $77.5M contract yesterday at the age of 31. Moore not only gets instant financial security but the potential to hit the open market at an age where he can still land a huge contract.
What does this deal mean for the Rays?
The Rays, now that Moore is locked up to a major league deal, get to put Moore in the opening day rotation and do not have to worry about arbitration clocks or super-two status with Moore. If a deal was not done Moore may have stayed in AAA until mid-June for fear of him becoming arbitration eligible after two years rather than three.
Now that Moore is penciled into the rotation it opens many potential doors for the Rays to add offense via trade of a starting pitcher. They currently have seven legitimate starters: James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Alex Cobb, Jeff Niemann, and you could throw Alex Torres in that mix as well.
The Rays now have the luxury of trading one or two arms for offense. Shields’ name has been rumored for months since he is coming off an amazing year and will make $7M in 2012, $9M in 2013, and $12M in 2014. It’s a team-friendly deal and could return a huge package of prospects or a big named bat.
Price is arbitration eligible for the first time and is predicted to make $7.8M next year. He has three years of control left and may be the best arm on the team. He could land a similar package that Shields would and will more than likely make more money than Shields over the next three seasons starting with 2012. He is the type of player a big payroll club could trade for and lock up to a rich contract.
Hellickson is making the league minimum and is least likely to be dealt. He is also least likely to sign an extension with Scott Boras as his agent. I don’t see him as trade bait but he could land a very solid return. I also do not see Cobb getting traded since he has six years of control left and the return would not be as significant as his value to the franchise is.
Davis also has a team friendly contract but has not lived up to his potential yet. He won’t net the big name but could be in play for a Yonder Alonso type. Niemann may be most likely traded since he is predicted to make $3.1M next year and his value may be at its highest after he had a solid 2nd half in 2011 but he may bring the least amount in return.
Some will say that Moore is getting ripped off but I would disagree. Put yourselves in his shoes and think about it for a few minutes. He will never have to worry about money again, even if he never pitches an innings.
Yes, the Rays get a great deal here and it is reminiscent of the nine year deal they gave Evan Longoria. These are the types of deals the Rays have to make to compete. They do pack some risks for both the team and player. The player may well outperform his contract and the Rays look like geniuses but for the security of never worrying about money again this is a deal that makes sense for all involved.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Alex Cobb, Billy Butler, C.J. Wilson, David Price, Evan Longoria, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Jeremy Hellickson, Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales, Logan Morrison, Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays, Wade Davis, Yonder Alonso