Texas Rangers trade rumors: Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays is reportedly generating interest in the trade market, with the Texas Rangers being "hot on Moore's trail," according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
This is an interesting, off-the-radar option for the Rangers to be exploring, and Tampa looks likely to be in selling mode at 11 games under .500. Moore is a former #1 prospect in all of baseball, and looked like he might be a homegrown ace for the Rays, but he missed most of 2014 and half of 2015, and since the start of the 2015 season has put up a 4.97 ERA with a 4.59 FIP.
Still, the 27 year old has shown improvement of late, putting up a 2.36 ERA in his last four starts, with 27 Ks and 6 walks over 26.2 IP. He's probably not ever going to be "former #1 prospect/potential ace" Matt Moore again, but he could be a relatively cheap back-end rotation guy. Moore is under contract for $5 million this year, with team options of $7M, $9M, and $10M the following three years. The options give the Rangers some flexibility in regards to Derek Holland, who has an $11M team option next year with a $1.5M buyout. Given the state of the free agent pitching market, and the state of pitcher salaries generally, I think Holland's option is very likely to be picked up, even with the struggles he has had this season...however, the presence of Moore could allow the Rangers to move Holland in the offseason while maintaining rotation depth for 2017.
The big question is what Moore would cost, and really, I have no idea on that front. He's not pitched well the last few years, but he's a lefty who is controllable through 2019 due to team options, which gives you value and flexibility due to being able to keep him around if he's serviceable, and cut bait with him for a minimal financial commitment if he's not.