No. 1 pitching prospect Matt Moore joining Rays as reliever


Matt Moore, the 23-year-old stud pitching prospect who last week finished runner-up to Mike Trout for Baseball America‘s minor league player of the year award, is on his way to Tampa Bay.

With their Wild Card deficit down to 3.5 games the Rays have decided the time is right for Moore to make his big-league debut and the left-hander’s agent told Jerry Crasnick of that he’s expected to fill a bullpen role initially.

Moore projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter and threw 155 innings with a 1.92 ERA, .184 opponents’ batting average, and 210/46 K/BB ratio between Double-A and Triple-A, but the Rays envision him making an immediate impact as a reliever much like David Price did down the stretch (and into the playoffs) in 2008.

Price then, like Moore now, was called up in mid-September after dominating in the minors and made four relief appearances and one start for the Rays, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and 12/4 K/BB ratio. And then he made five more appearances as a reliever in the playoffs, finishing all five games while allowing one earned run in 6.2 innings.

With closer Kyle Farnsworth sidelined by an elbow injury manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times: “We’ve got be very open-minded and flexible right now. We can’t have any kind of set parameters. We just can’t.”

Royals sign Clay Buchholz to minor league deal

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Royals have signed pitcher Clay Buchholz to a minor league deal. Buchholz will earn a $1.5 million salary if he makes the club’s major league roster and can earn an additional $250,000 through incentives. Buchholz has an opt-out date set for May 1, which means if he isn’t on the Royals’ 25-man roster by then, he can request his release.

Buchholz, 33, was acquired by the Phillies from the Red Sox in December 2016, but he made only two starts before an MRI revealed he had a partial tear of his right flexor pronator mass. He underwent surgery in April and missed the rest of the season.

The Royals recently lost Jesse Hahn, who was diagnosed with a sprained right UCL. Buchholz would likely be in consideration for a rotation spot if another starter were to suffer an injury. Presently, the Royals’ rotation appears set with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jake Junis, and Nate Karns.