The Giants will exercise lefty Matt Moore’s $9MM option for 2018, GM Bobby Evans tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. By doing so, they will avoid paying a $1M buyout and, more importantly, retain a $10MM option or a $750K buyout on Moore for 2019.
Moore has struggled in 2017, posting a 5.39 ERA over 167 innings in his first full season in San Francisco. Evans’ admission comes as little surprise, however, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal recently reported that the Giants seemed likely to retain Moore as part of an effort to retain pitching depth. Also, Moore is relatively young at 28 and posted reasonable peripherals (7.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9) this season, and he has pitched significantly better in the second half than in the first, cutting his BB/9 by about a third.
By exercising the option, the Giants get Moore, and flexibility for 2019, at what appears to be a reasonable cost. They will effectively be able to retain Moore for one year and $9.75MM, giving them a price similar to those of recent contracts for free agents like Andrew Cashner and Bartolo Colon, whose futures looked questionable at the time their deals were signed. The Giants will also, of course, get an option that could turn out to be quite valuable.
Nonetheless, the Giants’ decision perhaps was not an automatic one, and not just because of Moore’s performance. The Giants already had north of $150MM committed for 2018, including salaries of $18MM or more for six players (assuming Johnny Cueto does not exercise his opt-out clause). Moore’s salary will add even more to their 2018 payroll.