Not counting the playoffs, Matt Moore has a grand total of three games and nine and one-third innings of major league experience. But as first reported by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, he is now locked up on a five-year, $14 million deal. That part of it takes him through arbitration. Marc Topkin adds that the Rays hold options for 2017-19, which could make this into an eight-year, $39.75 million deal over the 8 years
Say what you want about the uncertainty of pitching prospects, but this is an absolutely incredible bargain for the Rays. It makes the Evan Longoria deal — the current benchmark for a team-friendly deal — look like an overpay. No, you can’t project a guy as young as Matt Moore to be the next Tim Lincecum, but look at the kind of money Lincecum made through his first five seasons — something like $27 million — and you can see what Moore is foregoing here.
And if Moore does fulfill his potential — even as a merely above average starter — the potential for the Rays to have him through age 30 at less than $40 million is a freakin’ steal.
Not that anyone can really blame him too harshly. Like I said: he has less than ten innings under his belt. He could blow out his arm tomorrow. Now, at age 22, his life is set up better than most people’s ever will be, even if it’s less-set-up than most ballplayers of his talent level typically are through the first five-eight years of their career.
In any case: solid move for the Rays. Just a fantastic business and baseball decision for them.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.