11:36pm: With several notable names already gone from the relief market, the Giants are “making [a] late and strong push” to land outfielder Jay Bruce from the Reds, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). San Francisco has been variously rumored to be in and out on Bruce in recent days, but it seems that the club is a serious contender for his services at this late stage.
As with Moore, Bruce is reportedly in play for a number of other contenders, including the Dodgers. The power-hitting right fielder is controllable for 2017 by way of a $13MM club option, so he’d represent an asset for next season as well with the Giants set to lose Angel Pagan to free agency.
10:07pm: The Giants are pursuing a deal for Rays lefty Matt Moore, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It remains uncertain, he notes, whether San Francisco has the right prospect pieces to work out a deal for the controllable southpaw.
It’s long been unclear just where the Giants’ focus is with the trade deadline nearing. We’ve seen reports connecting the club to starters, relievers, outfielders, and infielders — with the last spot seemingly already covered by the recent acquisition of Eduardo Nunez.
Though the focus has been said to have shifted to the pen, with an eye also on picking up a slugging outfield piece, San Francisco has continued to look into a broad and fluid market for rotation pieces. Moore holds an interesting place in that picture, as he is one of many controllable arms that could be available, but need not be traded by their current teams.
Tampa Bay has been targeted by teams interested in starters because the team is out of the race and possesses a variety of pitchers with relatively lengthy and affordable control rights. While other organizations may be hesitant to deal their better arms, the Rays could do so without compromising their depth.
Still, the price tag won’t be low, and the Giants arguably lack the kind of premium prospect assets that would motivate the Rays. Indeed, the club is requesting a player that is currently on San Francisco’s active roster, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area (via Twitter). Infielders Joe Panik and Matt Duffy would be the most sensible fits, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle observes on Twitter, though it should be noted that he is making only an analytical point rather than suggesting either or both have been discussed.
Adding to the intrigue, the Rays are also said to be negotiating on pitching with the Dodgers, who are currently neck-and-neck with their heated rivals in the NL West. There are other contenders in the mix, too, and other pitchers reportedly on the table. Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer have been those most mentioned, though theoretically Drew Smyly could also be moved.
Moore, who recently turned 27, is perhaps the toughest player to value from that group. He has the talent and contract to be valued quite highly, but has posted uneven results since returning last year from Tommy John surgery. He has posted strong results over his last seven outings, permitting only nine earned runs over 40 2/3 innings in that span, though he registered only a 25:14 K/BB ratio along the way.
On the year, Moore owns a 4.08 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 over 130 innings. That last statistic is notable, as he has previously struggled to limit the free passes, though ERA estimators aren’t as convinced (4.50 FIP, 4.67 xFIP, 4.41 SIERA in 2016) as the scouts may be that Moore has returned to being a frontline starter. While he isn’t throwing quite as hard as he did early in his career, Moore has restored most of his velocity with a 92.9 mph average on his four-seam fastball.
The early-career extension signed by Moore held out the promise of becoming one of the best contracts in baseball. It hasn’t quite turned out that way, as the cheapest years were marred by injury. But it still holds plenty of appeal: Moore is owed just $5MM for all of 2016, and can be controlled through 2019 through a series of club options that total to just $26MM.