The Philadelphia Phillies added a veteran figure to its pitching corps ahead of 2021 Spring Training.
Matt Moore signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the NL East outfit, the Phillies announced Wednesday. Moore, a former top prospect with the Tampa Bay Rays, returns to the MLB after spending 2020 in Japan, where he showed promising signs.
“One of our main goals this year, when I came over here, was to get starting pitching depth,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “We didn’t think the organization with the young guys, other than Spencer Howard — there might be some guys coming up — but we didn’t think we had a lot of depth behind the first four and then-No. 5 with Howard. We’re looking for some individuals who can compete for our spots.”
“We’re looking for Matt to be one of our starters and be one of our pitchers. But like everybody else, they end up having to win jobs during the spring.”
The 31-year-old went 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 starts last season in Japan, striking out 98 and walking 26 in 85 innings. A former rising star alongside Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, Moore went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 starts with the Rays in 2013, making the American League All-Star team and finishing ninth for the AL Cy Young Award.
He went 29-17 with a 3.53 ERA in 63 appearances (61 starts) from 2011-14, but he suffered an elbow injury and required Tommy John surgery in April 2014. Moore returned to register a 25-39 record with a 5.13 ERA in 118 appearances (90 starts) after the surgery. He pitched 10 scoreless innings in two starts with the Detroit Tigers in early 2019, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Moore then signed a one-year deal with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in December 2019. After getting back to regular action in Japan, Moore is back and now fighting for a spot in the Phillies rotation.
“Out of the teams that I had the opportunity to go pitch for, this squad has the best chance of competing at a higher level this year,” Moore said. “I’ve played on some pretty good teams and I’ve played on some teams that had long seasons. I’m for sure at the point in my playing days where I want to have that feeling where you head to the park and you know someone’s chasing you, or you’re just one or two games away. That feeling is pretty invigorating. It’s something you talk to pretty much anyone in a clubhouse [about], your year is a lot more enjoyable.”
“For me, that was a pretty easy decision. This club is obviously set up and ready to compete. I’m just happy the opportunity presented itself and I’m healthy and able.”
The Phillies have also reportedly added Chase Anderson to a one-year, $4 million deal. No announcement has been made by the team yet on Anderson, but the 33-year-old would bring another veteran arm to Joe Girardi’s pitching staff for 2021.
Anderson went 53-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 166 appearances (160 starts) from 2014-19 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers. However he struggled in 2020, recording a 1-2 record and a 7.22 ERA in 10 appearances (seven starts) last season with the Blue Jays.
Both Moore and Anderson (should he sign) will compete with Spencer Howard, Vince Velasquez, and others for the final two spots in the Phillies’ rotation behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin.