ST PETERSBURG, FL - Pitcher Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Rays and rookie left-hander Matt Moore agreed to a five-year contract on Friday.
Matt Moore was the big name of the first round of the playoffs. He's an electric-armed lefty who started the second game of his major-league career in the playoffs, and he shut down the powerful Texas Rangers in ten ALDS innings. If the Rays had advanced past the first round, Moore would have been even more of a thing. As is, he's just one of the best young pitchers in baseball.
And the Rays, being the Rays, just locked him up to a five year deal that buys out two of his arbitration years. From Jerry Crasnick:
Rays reach agreement with pitcher Matt Moore on 5-year, guaranteed $14M contract, source says
Deals like this make so much sense for both sides, it's odd that more teams don't do them. Moore gets young-pitcher insurance -- financial security for when his labrum escapes through his nose, as it does for so many young pitchers. And if he develops as expected, he'll get one year of arbitration before hitting the open market as a 28-year-old.
The Rays get cost certainty in the event that Moore develops into a superstar. Tim Lincecum, for example, made $14 million in his second year of arbitration alone, and he could come close to $20 million in his third year of arbitration. The Rays will still have to deal with one year of arbitration at the end of the deal, but there's a good chance that Moore will be drastically underpaid in years four and five.
The 22-year-old Moore had a 1.92 last year between AA and AAA, striking out 210 in 155 innings. Which is, uh, quite acceptable.
Update: Option years! The Rays further enhanced the value of his deal, with three option years that add up to an average annual value of $8.5 million. The total contract could be worth $39.75 million, and it ensures that Moore can't be a free agent until he's 30 if the Rays exercise all of the options.
The deal is so team friendly that Moore, too, can only afford just one cap. Please, do not take it from him. It's all he's got.